In the ever-evolving landscape of travel and tourism marketing, it's astonishing that some clients still underestimate the power of TikTok. Therefore, let's dive into a case study of my recent trip to Saudi Arabia that reveals just how impactful this social media platform can be when it comes to destination and tourism marketing.
Prepare to be amazed by the potential of TikTok!
The Case Study: Traveltomtom TikTok videos take Saudi Arabia by Storm
I recently embarked on a journey to Saudi Arabia, a rather one this time as it was a last minute trip that was pushed into my busy travel schedule. The main event was World Tourism Day in Riyadh, but I also traveled to AlUla to see Bruno Mars in concert, went on a helicopter ride and had many more adventures along the way.
On my trip I met a lot of people in the business: Tourism Board representatives, PR agency representatives, General Managers of well-known luxury hotel brands, Marketing and Sales directors and other professionals in the tourism industry. Something that caught my attention during these meetings is the lack of trust and confidence in using TikTok as a marketing tool for tourism.
Therefore I decided to put TikTok to the test as a destination marketing tool. Over the course of just seven days, I posted a total of 39 videos about various aspects of my travels, from luxury hotels and tourist attractions to cultural events and local restaurants.
The results were nothing short of astounding and here is my case study of all the content I posted on TikTok during my trip to Saudi. The first piece of content was uploaded 3 weeks ago, the last piece of content included in this case study was uploaded just 2 weeks ago.
- Total views: 7.2 million
- Total posts: 39
- Average views per video: 185,000
Now, let's break down these numbers by category:
- Hotels: 740,000
- Tourist attractions: 2.8 million
- World Tourism Day event: 510,000
- Other Events: 630,000
- Cultural activities: 680,000
- Restaurants: 290,000
- Others: 1.5 million
As you can see all aspects of traveling have been highlighted.
Just to be clear, posting 39 Tiktok videos in 1 week was NOT part of the campaign I was participating when visiting Saudi. It was my own decision to post 39 videos.
But this is also where some travel influencers differentiate from the others. I post content, because I am passionated about it, because I love to create engaging content and see and analyse the outcome. All to grow my channel with organic and authentic content. This way I grew my TikTok account account to almost 1 million followers.
Best and least performing video
Back to the case study and now let's highlight the best performing and the least performing video
The video that truly stole the show was a 9-minute, 56-second vlog of my visit to the Al Nassr game at the Alawwal stadium in Riyadh. In fact, it was my longest video I have ever uploaded to TikTok.
This video garnered a staggering 1.3 million views within just two weeks. It received nearly 100,000 likes, 2,000 comments, 7,000 saves, and was shared 5,000 times. This one video alone already showcased the power of TikTok and when you scroll through the comments you can easily understand why. Uncountable people are stating it is a dream to travel to Saudi Arabia and watch Cristiano Ronaldo play for Al Nassr.
Even the least-viewed video in my Saudi Arabia TikTok series managed to reach 30,000 views, with 500 likes, 14 comments, 36 saves, and 37 shares at the time of research.
And here's the best part: TikTok videos continue to steadily grow by another 15-25% in the months after their initial posting. Which means that the Traveltomtom videos about traveling to Saudi Arabia are on track to reach nearly 10 million views over the next few months, averaging around 250,000 views per video.
Why TikTok is the Ideal Destination Marketing Tool
I've always stressed about the importance of taking TikTok seriously when discussing marketing strategies with clients. Having built a following of almost 1 million on TikTok, I've learned what truly works on the platform. TikTok provides a unique space for reaching a new audience and a platform where you organically grow when posting quality content.
Traveltomtom has found the ideal mix of being funny and cheeky, while delivering informative content that aligns with the client's goals and adheres to their guidelines.
Unlike Instagram, where overposting can be overwhelming, TikTok encourages a more dynamic approach to content sharing. Posting 39 pieces of content on Instagram in just 6 days would be unheard of. Not a single creator would agree to this or would ever do this, It would completely destroy his or her channel.
Butt on TikTok, it's not only possible but also incredibly effective. TikTok is not necessarily about showing your content to your followers, the majority of your content will actually be shown to non-followers. This in contrast with Instagram algorithm that works totally the opposite.
Traveltomtom is truly convinced that TikTok and destination marketing are a match made in heaven, and it's high time for Tourism Boards to give TikTok the prominence it deserves in their marketing strategies.
Short case study of my Instagram posts
A short recap of the content I posted on Instagram from the same trip to Saudi:
- 3 reels with a total views of 960,000 views
- 33,000 likes
- 650 comments
- 2 phots with an average reach of 100,000
- 21,000 likes
- 225 comments
- 60 stories with 25,000 views average per story
- Total views approximately 1.5 million
The Instagram stats of my trip to Saudi are not bad at all of course and it definitely shows why clients give importance to content on Instagram.
Unfortunately the Instagram stories are not visible in the feed anymore. They are hidden behind the button of my Saudi Story Highlights. Which is an extra task to open and it is not easy to scroll through it compared to the feed on my TikTok profile.
Comparing the total views on Instagram to the views on TikTok leaves us to the simple conclusion that TikTok has generated 3x more views than Instagram for this specific campaign for Saudi Arabia.
Reminder: Traveltomtom decided to post on his own title about traveling in Saudi, the official deliverables for the Saudi campaign were not even a fraction of the total pieces of content that have been posted.
TikTok's Impact on Travel and Tourism
A recent survey conducted by MGH highlighted the undeniable influence of TikTok on the travel and tourism industry. The statistics speak for themselves:
- 60% of TikTok users expressed interest in visiting a new destination after seeing a TikTok video about it.
- 35% of U.S. TikTok users, roughly 52.5 million people, have traveled to a new destination after watching a TikTok video about it.
- Millennials, in particular, are influenced by TikTok for their travel plans, with 45% of TikTok millennials aged 25-44 having traveled to a new destination they discovered on TikTok.
But it's not just about destinations; specific resorts, hotels, and attractions also benefit from TikTok's influence. For instance, 32% of users have booked stays at resorts or hotels they discovered on TikTok, and 28% have visited attractions they saw on the platform. This makes it clear that TikTok is a force to be reckoned with in the tourism industry.
Here is the link to the survey.
Leveraging TikTok for Destination Marketing
TikTok's simple yet effective algorithm revolves around making engaging content and as soon as people start engaging and watch your video longer than average TikTok will start showing it to audience that the they think will be interested. From there on it can snowball. Utilizing trending hashtags can drive more views of course, but also adding a location is important.
The power of Traveltomtom content on TikTok is that it is always a unique piece, not a single other creator is able to produce the same piece of content. Why? Because Traveltomtom always shows himself in the video and basically talks to his audience through what is happening around him and expresses his feelings about the situation he finds himself in.
This ensures that every piece of content of Traveltomtom is unique and authentic!
Incorporate TikTok into Your Destination Marketing Strategy
With the incredible results I achieved during my trip to Saudi Arabia, I'm convinced that TikTok is a game-changer in destination marketing. So, whether you're promoting a luxurious resort, a quaint bed and breakfast, or an entire city or country, TikTok can help you reach and inspire millions of potential travelers.
But only if you find the right travel creators and influencers that actually create engaging content that makes your product come the best way and gets other travelers inspired.
Don't overlook this powerful tool - embrace TikTok and take your destination marketing to new heights!
TikTok is not just a platform for the younger generation; it appeals to a diverse demographic. As we are already experiencing the post-pandemic travel boom, now is the perfect time to showcase your destination on TikTok, inspiring travelers and making it to their bucket list.
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