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TikTok Overtakes Google In Travel Discovery

By Paid Media, Social Media

TikTok now hosts 750 million monthly users worldwide, and around 34% of travelers were influenced by TikTok in 2022, mostly in the early decision-making stage. This represents a 10% increase from 2021.

One of TikTok’s attractive advantages over Google is it doesn’t default to promoting the most common and popular hotspots, which can suffer from overcrowding. 

”With Google Maps, if you’re going to Yosemite National Park, it wants to show you the top ten destinations instantly and we’re like Stop!” Jonahthan Farrington, executive director of Yosemite Mariposa County Tourism Bureau, which aims to use TikTok to promote overlooked areas like Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite National Park. “Our hope is to one, get people interested and two, that they’re going to say ‘Wow, We to need to go over there,’ which is away from the crowded areas.”

Smaller Brands Can Reach Large Audiences

Travel organizations are increasingly investing resources on the platform to reach global audiences.

Even brands with small accounts have an opportunity to go viral and rack up video views thanks to the TikTok algorithm, which rewards creativity, authenticity and uniqueness in travel discovery. In other words, a brand doesn’t need a large number of existing followers to gain exposure to millions.

A Brand Need Not Be on TikTok To Benefit From It

In fact, travel-focused brands who don’t even have an account on TikTok can still reach millions of target audiences through the platform as those brands can partner with influencers behind the scenes to connect with TikTok users in the travel discovery process. 

Digital Advertising Important for Travel Brands

The importance of digital advertising to the travel industry is hard to overstate.

Digital channels accounted for nearly 90% of all travel advertising spend in 2021. Social is the fastest growing subchannel, making up 29% of travel ad spend in 2021 versus 22% in 2019. 

Most of that digital performance spending is going to one of two places: Google or META. There are few other viable alternatives to reach online audiences at scale, making TikTok a powerful alternative and opportunity for the travel industry. 

TikTok has an ability to attract new audiences, go viral without an established account, and to diversify ad spending. If you need assistance adding TikTok to your paid social mix to reach travelers in their early decision-making process, contact us. We’re here to help.