TikTok and Travel Planning

for the original article by Dawit Habtemariam

see: https://skift.com/2024/03/07/travel-on-tiktok-top-trends-new-video-formats-and-the-future-of-booking-trips/

TikTok’s Influence on Travel Planning

TikTok has become an influential force in travel inspiration and planning. As people emerged from the Covid-19 pandemic, they increasingly looked to TikTok for a fresh perspective when thinking about their next vacation destination. Travel brands took notice and began creating short videos to influence consumers’ travel decisions.

According to Stuart Flint, who heads TikTok’s global business solutions for Europe and Israel, over 60% of users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland say they’re likely to book a holiday based on recommendations they’ve seen on TikTok [1].

Flint says that inspiration and education are big parts of why travel brands use TikTok. Airlines like EasyJet and Ryanair create humorous yet on-brand videos that both entertain and teach viewers about topics like turbulence or how to use the sick bags. While TikTok does not disclose revenue figures, Flint shared that travel bookings, destinations and airlines have become “really, really big” for their paid advertising. He emphasized that brands are also investing a lot in organic content. Ultimately, TikTok’s inspiration and influence have proven pivotal in driving travel interest and purchases.

Top TikTok Travel Trends

TikTok has inspired some key trends in travel planning and experiences. Food and drink are hugely popular areas of interest, with many users booking trips specifically to experience different cuisines and local markets. According to Flint, fitness and wellness getaways are also trending – think yoga retreats, healthy weekends in the mountains, and keeping active while traveling [2].

Fashion and beauty communities on TikTok provide inspiration on what to wear and how to style hair and makeup for different destinations. Honest creator experiences thrive on the platform, showing the highs and lows of travel in an authentic way. Humor is important too – videos that take themselves too seriously often get amusing responses from the TikTok community [2].

TikTok Testing Longer Videos

And here is something new, TikTok is experimenting with longer videos to allow creators more flexibility. Currently, TikTok allows videos up to 10 minutes, an increase from the previous 3 minute maximum according to [https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/tiktok-expanding-15-minute-videos-opens-doors-content-wright-d-c–c8jxc]. TikTok is also testing landscape format videos that users can view horizontally by rotating their phones 90 degrees. As Flint explained, these changes aim to “bring more creativity to the way that you are constructing your videos” and provide “a point of difference for creators” ([https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-to-creators-make-longer-videos-get-paid-055013923.html]). The opportunity is there for travel brands and creators to make more engaging and creative video content that tells a story and showcases experiences in a new format.

TikTok’s Niche Communities Drive New Trends

TikTok’s niche communities are a key driver behind many new travel trends and recommendations. According to Flint, “These small niche communities are driving mass cultures now.”

What makes these communities special is the authenticity and sense of support among creators and users. Flint notes that creators thrive when they share honest experiences, both good and bad, often with a touch of humor. He says the comment sections show how much users genuinely care about each other and their communities.

Rather than following celebrities, users look to peers who are relatable and trustworthy. Their tips and ideas spread rapidly, whether it’s travel hacks, budget destinations like Taipei, or the latest travel fashion trends. As Flint says, “People they trust, that look like them, sound like them, are like them – they’re in the same community as them.”

The Future of Booking Travel on TikTok

TikTok is testing direct travel booking on their platform, which would allow users to book trips directly without leaving the app. Currently, TikTok has seen significant growth in commerce related to beauty, fashion and other products. Users can already directly purchase these types of items seamlessly on TikTok (https://www.tiktok.com/@xmagstore/video/7335185884595211552).

However, travel booking on the platform does not yet exist. Flint, hinted that direct travel booking is coming soon: “All I’ll say is watch this space. We see commerce as a really important part of our growth. Commerce is going to be huge.” (https://skift.com/2024/03/07/travel-on-tiktok-top-trends-new-video-formats-and-the-future-of-booking-trips/)

With TikTok’s massive influence on travel inspiration and planning, direct booking would make the platform even more powerful. Flint cited research showing 60% of users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland are likely to book a trip based on TikTok recommendations. Allowing seamless booking without leaving TikTok would convert much more of this inspiration into actual travel transactions.

What can Destinations Do with this Information?

Knowing that consumers are looking for authentic, user-generated-content (UGC), Destinations can embrace tools like Crowdriff to bring that UGC to their websites. At least then, they can attempt to satisfy the need of consumers to reference real posts by real people in order to back up their travel planning decisions.

But what about the actual planning and booking? Visitors are still largely leaving Destination websites to get this job done and they are taking their valuable first-party data with them.

What they leave behind is a gaping hole that contains the all-important question – of all the visitors who came to my website, how many of them actually visited our Destination?

At trippl, we have strong thoughts on the matter and are busy building something that we think will pull all the pieces together for Destinations. Follow us on all the socials to be kept in the loop and subscript to our newsletter to get early access to all the breaking news:

[1] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/national-survey-reveals-60-of-us-tiktok-users-have-become-interested-in-visiting-a-new-travel-destination-after-seeing-it-on-tiktok-301787363.html

[2] https://skift.com/2024/03/07/travel-on-tiktok-top-trends-new-video-formats-and-the-future-of-booking-trips/


Co-founder & CEO at trippl inc., lifetime travel-lover and problem-solver.
🌈 proud LGBTQ2S+ she/her