All everyone can talk about is how 2023 is the year of the experience. People of all ages are craving authentic experiences that expose them to new cultures, distinct flavors, and thrilling adventures. They want to be present and make connections with the people around them. And, as a result, the travel industry is booming. 

For decades, travelers have been searching for trip ideas online, but in recent years, TikTok has taken over as the primary source of inspiration. This social media app encourages users to create short-form videos that are insightful, engaging, and entertaining — and it’s wildly addicting. TikTok users have found a way to use the platform to showcase their travels, and therefore, TikTok travel trends are reshaping the tourism industry. Tour and activity operators — take note. The age of TikTok tourism has begun.

How TikTok is changing the tourism industry

TikTok has taken the social media world by storm, with the number of users exponentially increasing over the past several years. Today, TikTok boasts more than 1 billion users, and it is ranked as the third-largest social media platform.

In the travel industry, TikTok is still taking a backseat to Facebook and Instagram, which have long dominated the travel influencer market. However, that is not going to be the case for long. A Skift article notes that in 2022, 34% of travelers were inspired by the content they found on TikTok. Tour operators are noting the shift, with one in 10 tour operators relying on TikTok as part of their online marketing strategy. 

TikTok tourism

At this time, 20% of all travelers use social media for research. Of those that rely on social media for their travel inspiration, 27% seek to discover their next destination, 23% are searching for a hotel, and 22% are looking for activities in their chosen destination.

TikTok has the potential to shift the way that travelers enjoy local experiences because they are likely going to want to emulate the content they discovered on the platform. By paying attention to the type of travel content that is shared on TikTok and preparing your tour and activity company accordingly, you can be ahead of the TikTok tourism wave.

TikTok tourism marketing: what you need to know

Before you begin developing a TikTok tourism marketing strategy, you will want to understand the nuances of this social media platform. While Facebook offers a play-by-play into people’s thoughts, feelings, and experiences, and Instagram projects an idealistic version of a person’s perfectly-filtered life, TikTok is more about entertaining information presented in short, engaging snippets.

TikTok users average a whopping 25 hours per week on the platform, so it’s worthwhile to develop a TikTok account for your tour and activity brand. 

Within the tourism sector, boards and businesses are relying on TikTok to promote their destinations. Some of the most successful pages are taking different approaches, and it’s worth taking a look at them to understand what might work best for your tour and activity company. Here are some examples of successful TikTok accounts within the tourism industry:

Tour & activity operators

Shot Over Canyon Swing is a tour and activity company in New Zealand that offers thrilling experiences to its guests. Its TikTok page is filled with behind-the-scenes looks at travelers anxiously anticipating the experience, enjoying the experience, or reacting to it afterward. Its most successful post racked up 91.4 million views and is still growing.

@shotovercanyonswing ORIGINAL FULL VERSION 🤣 Let me tell you something! #viraltiktok #canyonswing #chair #letmetellyousomething #funnyvideos #funnytiktok ♬ original sound – Shotover Canyon Swing 🇳🇿

Online Travel Agents (OTAs) is a well-known OTA that is trying to capitalize on the most recent TikTok tourism trends. Its TikTok page is filled with videos that offer practical travel tips and life hacks as well as relatable content that helps its followers connect with the experience of travel. Its most successful post earned more than 7.4 million views – a figure that is continuously increasing.

@bookingcom2023 is the year of… LEAVING ✈️ YOUR 🎒COMFORT ZONE 🌎 with our Trending Destinations 2023. Stay tuned for more.♬ son original – justanunknownstar

Tourism boards

Tourism Australia is a destination tourism organization that aims to promote the travel industry on the continent. Its TikTok page relies on short videos that feature breathtaking, authentic experiences that can be enjoyed by travelers in the country. Its most successful post resulted in 4.2 million views and growing.

@australia Roo-minating with Brolga 🦘 📍: The Kangaroo Sanctuary, @ntaustralia #seeaustralia #australia #travelaustralia #northernterritory #outbackaustralia #kangaroo ♬ original sound – Australia


How travelers approach tourism experiences in the age of TikTok

It’s obvious that TikTok is one of the most engaging social media platforms available today, so it’s not surprising that users are being influenced and inspired to travel based on the content they consume on the app. In fact, according to Hotelmize, 80% of TikTok users were inspired to travel after watching content from their favorite accounts. TikTok users are constantly sharing unique tips, relatable advice, and hidden secrets about their favorite destinations, and TikTok followers want to be a part of that. 

Generally, TikTok users are younger. Social Shepherd notes that Gen Z and millennials make up more than 60% of all TikTok users — and this is the target demographic for many tour and activity companies around the world. Gen Z travelers are particularly trusting of information that they find on TikTok and other social media apps, so they are likely to be motivated based on what they see online. On the other hand, millennials are willing to spend money when it comes to splurging on creating new travel experiences. They love to invest in luxurious experiences, often opting out of practical, item-based purchases in lieu of experiential purchases.

Tiktok tourism marketing

And now with Gen Z and Millenials becoming the biggest-spending age bracket when it comes to travel and tourism, it’s important that tour and activity operators begin to cater to their interests,

How tour operators can leverage TikTok travel trends to boost bookings

Now is the best time to start adapting your business protocols and marketing strategies at your tour and activity company. You can take advantage of TikTok travel when you:

Play into TikTok trends

TikTok trends are fast but fierce. Monitor the up-and-coming trends closely, and hop on board as soon as you notice something going viral. Use hashtags, trending sounds, and music to make your videos as appealing as possible — this app curates content for individual users based on their preferences. You can increase your exposure on TikTok by collaborating with other popular accounts on the platform.

Offer exclusive, behind-the-scenes content

Look at your tour and activity offerings from a different perspective, and take a creative approach to your TikTok videos. TikTok users crave exclusive content and behind-the-scenes looks, so make that type of content your priority when you are planning out your next video.

Shot Over Canyon Swing is the perfect example of a tour and activity operator that features behind-the-scenes content.

Partner with TikTok travel influencers

Tiktok travel tips

Travel influencers often have a large and loyal following — and the people who follow their accounts put a significant amount of trust in them. When you partner with some trending TikTok travel influencers, you can increase the exposure of your brand and begin developing a following of your own. 

Create “Did you know?” informational videos

TikTok users love getting interesting facts and tidbits as they scroll through their feeds. Uncover the most exciting and engaging factoids about your experience, your destination, and your community at large, and promote those via TikTok to attract followers.

Direct TikTok users to your website

Once you have their attention, keep them engaged with your brand by directing TikTok users to your website. You can link to your website from your main page, as well as during relevant videos to entice people to book now.

Manage your TikTok bookings with a seamless online booking system

You’ll soon begin noticing that many of your bookings are coming from TikTok users who are inspired by your content — so you will want to be ready with the best available technology. The Rezdy online booking system is the first of its kind to be developed specifically for the tour and activity sector. Through Rezdy, you will be able to offer real-time availability, process secure online payments, and send automatic confirmations to your travelers.

Curious to discover the 9 strategies you can implement to increase direct bookings on top of utilizing TikTok? Check out our video below:

Don’t be left behind in the TikTok travel era. Start your FREE 21-day trial or book a demo with our team to understand how our software can fit within your business.

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