TikTok marketing for hotels: is it worth it?

Sandra L. Pouncy

‘Authenticity is quickly becoming the new cultural currency’,- Richard Hyde, managing director of Small Luxury Hotels.

Buzzwords like authenticity have surrounded marketing efforts for years as advertisers of all kinds have conducted brainstorms on how to seem more relatable to the people they are selling to. That includes hoteliers. 

TikTok is the second most visited website

The Gen Z member of the social media family, TikTok, has an algorithm that prioritizes content types over creators. Marketers who have tried to chase success with direct response ads on the platform have failed – “unscripted, off-the-cuff content blew the direct-response-style content away in all of our metrics. Testimonials [also] always do well and continue to perform in simple static ads with real people.” – Jeannie Assimos, head of content for Way.com.

TikTok name themselves ‘the leading destination for short-form mobile video. Our mission is to inspire creativity and bring joy‘. They are a social media platform built upon sharing short videos that usually continue to loop. 

TikTok and the travel industry

More recently, travel companies in their droves have begun using TikTok to build brand awareness and attract new customers. There are numerous reasons for this – it’s the most downloaded app for two years in a row, it dangles the potential for global reach and the video format gives hoteliers the opportunity to immerse people in their surroundings as well as showing off their brand’s personality

An example within the travel industry is Booking.com’s TikTok campaign during the summer – TikTokMadeMeBookIt (the prize is a trip away, and to win, users must live in a certain location, ‘like’ the video, follow @bookingcom, and be able to leave within 48 hours.

“The TikTok community is already actively engaged in travel content – #travel has more than 90 billion views – so it is a natural fit for Booking.com to be an active part of this,” – Director of Social Media at Booking.com, Laura Kaye. Like anything new, it needs to be tested out in order to find the right balance, find out what works. Even the biggest companies do this! ‘We don’t really know what the TikTok community is looking for. We’re using the launch to build an audience, and we’re attracting people by giving away trips and putting out a bunch of different content to see what is resonating.’ – Laura Kaye

Skyscanner is another brand who are starting to explore TikTok. Like many travel brands giving it a stab, they think TikTok is a great way to connect with people in the ‘discovery phase’ of their journey. 

The travel tag on TikTok is one of the most popular, with currently over 50 billion views

As a video-based social media app, TikTok is the perfect hotel marketing tool to showcase everything your hotel has to offer people. 

Other popular tags include #smallluxuryhotels (more than 3 million views), #hoteldesign (more than 13 million views), and #besthotel (33 million views)

While we don’t think it’s worth spending hours of your time intricately editing TiktTok videos, it is worth looking at from a brand awareness point of view – if you have the resources in-house to do so. You will reach users with content that is fun, beautiful or with something that feels more personal, more unpolished. 

TikTok fosters the highest engagement rates per post out of all social media platforms

How should you go about using TikTok as a hotel?

Engage with other users

TikTok is currently the most engaging social media platform. As a hotel, you can benefit from this by going for it and engaging with other users by liking/replying to comments and answering questions in the Q&A section of your profile. 

Allow your sense of humour to shine

It is in the nature of TikTok to facilitate fun and humour. As a hotelier, don’t be afraid of this – have some fun with it! 

Show off what your hotel has to offer

There’s a lot you can do to show off your property on TikTok, and unlike creating videos for the likes of Instagram and Facebook, the beauty of TikTok videos is that they are shorter – which mean there’s only room for the best bits. What kind of impressive amenities can you showcase? Do you have any unmissable views from a rooftop or balcony? Serving five-star food? Show it off in a flash on TikTok. 

You can also show people what’s going on ‘behind the scenes’ with staff or at various exciting times throughout the year. This can be another area where you bring a bit of fun and humour into the mix. 

Give a tour

You’re well used to posting tours on Facebook or Instagram we imagine. Use TikTok for this too. It’s all about enticing users into considering your property and its surroundings, too.

Try partnering with a local influencer 

If you are ever considering working with an influencer, it’s often a good idea to try working with a ‘micro’ one, or someone local (a ‘micro’ influencer typically has under 10k followers). Working with smaller, local influencers can help to position your hotel as a champion of the community while also expanding your reach. 

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