TikTok Hotel Marketing: The Complete Guide
By Kim Campbell
Hoteliers may be surprised to learn that TikTok had made our list of hotel marketing trends. But through the use of hashtags, “For You” suggestions, and viral trends, TikTok has quickly become one of the most popular marketing channels for a variety of businesses and industries, including hospitality. As a result, we created this in-depth guide to TikTok hotel marketing.
In this post, we break down why TikTok has become so popular, the unique paid and organic marketing opportunities it offers, how hotels can benefit from using the social media platform, and so much more.
Discover everything you need to know about TikTok hotel marketing If you’re a hotelier, owner, operator, revenue manager, marketing director, or anything in between, adding TikTok to your hotel marketing strategy could have a positive impact on your business. But first, let's start with the basics.
What is TikTok? TikTok is a popular social media platform based around video-sharing and short-form content. Users can upload short videos on any topic, add special effects, short snippets of popular songs, change filters, and sound effects, and more.
In 2021, TikTok was the most popular app download in the US and globally. The platform gives millions of social media users the ability to create engaging, captivating content right from their mobile devices. They can search for, discover, and share content they have a connection with. The app also gives users a unique opportunity to express themselves through comedy, showing off their dance moves, or sharing their stories with a vast online community. Additionally, TikTok places a large focus on personal interests and curates a personalized feed for each user, helping individuals find more content relevant to them. With all of its unique features, it's no surprise that growing numbers of Gen Z members are replacing other social media platforms with TikTok.
TikTok and Gen Z With a wide array of users, TikTok is by far the most popular social media platform among members of Gen Z. Forrester Analytics Consumer Technographics recently published the 2021 results of their annual US Youth Survey; the survey shows that a whopping 63% of Gen Z respondents identified as active TikTok users. While Instagram usage dropped and Snapchat usage remained the same, TikTok usage in the Gen Z online community shot up 13 points from the previous year.
Keep in mind that Gen Z members entered the world in the digital age. They grew up using social media, surrounded by digital content, and are often referred to as “digital natives.” In addition, Gen Z social media users value genuine self-expression and authenticity in their content over production value or expensive effects. Forrester respondents explained that they feel more of a sense of community, positivity, and genuine freedom of self-expression on TikTok than on other platforms.
Using TikTok For Business and TikTok Ads Manager Every single internet minute, more than 167 million TikToks are watched, giving the platform a higher rate of engagement per post than any other social media platform. With over 1 billion monthly users as of January 2022, businesses that fail to utilize TikTok are passing up the opportunity to market to a massive worldwide audience. That's where hotels come in.
Just like most businesses, hotels can take advantage of TikTok marketing opportunities to boost business, increase conversions, direct more traffic to their website, deepen their audience reach, build brand awareness, and more. But it goes well beyond simply creating an account and posting organically. Below, we explore four ways that hotels can use TikTok For Business, and all of the features within it, to boost their marketing efforts.
1. In-Feed Ads Hotels can utilize In-Feed Ads to tell brand stories and highlight their hotel. These ads can play automatically on the “For You” page of your target audience. Hotels can include multiple calls-to-action in an In-Feed Ad, which can drive traffic to your hotel’s website or brand landing page, increase direct bookings, promote an app download, or guide users to the property’s official TikTok page.
2. TopView TopView, dubbed "TikTok’s biggest billboard," places videos at the top of users' feeds. As a result, TopView can help hotels reach new audience members, gain a high number of activity impressions, and boost brand awareness.
TopView allows businesses to provide TikTok users with an immersive brand experience. Videos can be set to auto-play (sound and video) or be viewed in full-screen mode, so users are able to experience your content without the distraction of competing advertisements. What digital engagement strategies have performed well with your audience in the past? Hotels interested in TopView should put a lot of effort into creating an engaging video that leaves a lasting impression.
3. Branded Hashtag Challenges Hail the mighty hashtag and harness its power! Through a Branded Hashtag Challenge, hotels can encourage TikTok audience members and guests to complete specific challenges. Users record themselves completing the challenge and then post the video content with one or two requested hashtags created by the hotel.
GUESS Jeans was one of the first companies to really embrace the power of Branded Hashtag Challenges when they launched #inmydenim. Participants were challenged to show off their unique style or how they wear their GUESS jeans. It was a popular challenge amongst Millennials and Gen Z TikTok users who used it as a vehicle to express their individual style. The challenge also benefited GUESS by showcasing and introducing its products to members of TikTok’s vast audience.
It can be difficult for businesses to make a hashtag or challenge go viral organically. TikTok helps overcome this difficulty by allowing businesses to promote a marketing campaign with a Branded Hashtag Challenge, helping the campaign gain energy early. This type of interactive viral marketing strategy is especially great for hoteliers, as it can help push content past the walls of TikTok and onto other social media platforms. Marriott Bonvoy’s #30stays300days campaign is a great example of how hotel brands can benefit from the viral exposure of hashtag challenges.
4. Branded Effects Use mobile marketing to engage hotel guests and interact with your online audience in a new, playful way by creating Branded Effects with TikTok. With this feature, TikTok allows brands to create their own shareable filters, branded stickers, and special effects. Brands can then promote their exclusive features and encourage TikTok users to add the brand’s effect to their own content.
By providing users with branded experiential marketing content, and encouraging them to utilize it, users have an opportunity to become more immersed in your campaign. They're able to interact with the content and view it as an experience instead of an advertisement. Hotels can promote effects in conjunction with a hashtag challenge, or as a stand-alone promotion, depending on an individual property’s marketing goals. TikTok provides hotels with a whole new world of marketing opportunities. Try these TikTok hotel marketing tips and strategies to help improve your property's social media performance.
1. Get creative. TikTok gives users the ability to tweak video content in many different ways. From trimming your video length or overlaying audio to adding filters and special effects, hotels can use TikTok to post fun and creative content. While TikTok offers a large library of audio clips that users can choose from, the platform also allows users to upload their own music. Hotels can upload audio mashups, thoughtful video interviews, or even videos that highlight team-building activities. With TikTok hotel marketing, the sky is the limit.
2. Harness the power of influencer marketing. There are many creative ways to use influencer marketing for hotels, and TikTok is one of the most powerful. Hotels looking to build their Gen Z audience may choose to partner with an influencer to boost awareness of their brand. Some of today’s highest-earning influencers found their success on TikTok originally. In 2021 alone, Influencer Marketing Hub estimates that TikTok star Charli D’Amelio earned over $17 million.
Working with an influencer on your TikTok hotel marketing efforts can revitalize your ability to offer products, and services, and bring younger generations of travelers to your property. Find an influencer who regularly posts content that your audience would find interesting and ensure that their content fits your hotel image and brand marketing. Partnering with a social media star who does not represent the core values of your hotel or brand could end up hurting your reputation in the long run.
3. Follow local and related accounts. Find and follow fellow TikTok accounts that will add to the value of your account. Connect with local businesses in your community, sister properties, hospitality-related accounts, brand accounts, travel pages, and other pages that post content your audience may want to check out. By connecting your hotel’s TikTok page to related accounts, you can provide your audience with an abundance of interesting and relevant content. This can help prompt users to spend more time interacting with your page, while also improving the perceived credibility of your hotel’s TikTok account.
4. Send in-house guests on a scavenger hunt. Millennials and Gen Zers embrace hands-on social media experiences. They are often enticed by specific itineraries or engaging challenges. Connect with generations of travelers by sending hotel guests on a hotel-wide scavenger hunt.
Prompt hotel guests to explore various locations and try amenities throughout the hotel while they document their journey. To complete the scavenger hunt, they must visit the pool, breakfast area, lobby, and spa, or complete other activities on video. Direct guests to post their content to your official TikTok page for the chance to win an exciting prize.
5. Launch a hashtag challenge. Create a hashtag challenge that tasks in-house guests and online users alike with creating a short video. In the video, they should document themselves completing a specific challenge and post it using specific challenge or brand-related hashtags. Review trending hashtags to see what TikTok users are currently interested in and let current trends influence your branded challenge.
6. Drive user engagement through duets. Hotels can use TikTok’s duet function to inspire users to make your content their own. With the duet function, your audience members can post a short video in response to another user’s post. TikTokers use the function to sing together (hence the name “duet”), finish another user’s sentence, dance, answer questions, or perform linked activities, such as passing an object or high-fiving a friend.
Similar to hashtags, duets may be used to drive user engagement by providing audience members with a creative way to interact with your business. Gen Z TikTok users are known for putting their own spin on social media challenges and marketing trends, so the more flexibility your challenge offers, the higher the likelihood that it will go viral.
7. Build local awareness with a #HiddenGem hashtag challenge. Invite hotel guests and members of your online audience to post their favorite #HiddenGem in your area. Challenge users to share their favorite hidden attractions, restaurants, hiking spots, or other unique places. Locally-based user-generated content can help improve your hotel’s SEO efforts and guide TikTok users with an interest in your area to your official hotel page.
8. Promote an event. Use TikTok and other social media platforms to promote an upcoming event by identifying the target audience and providing relevant content. Share entertaining or funny video clips that highlight behind-the-scenes event details, or promote an exclusive offer for your TikTok audience. Choose an event hashtag that appeals to your target audience, or work with a planner to expand the reach of your promotion.
9. Promote early ticket releases. Is your hotel hosting a future event? Work with planners to promote early bird registration or early ticket releases through short ads on TikTok.
10. Repost user-generated content. Hotels can repost user-generated content to broaden their audience reach while enriching their TikTok account. Share the best videos that your guests create, repost trending content, and encourage users to post directly to your account. As you develop your TikTok hotel marketing strategy, choose a hashtag that sticks and matches your brand values. Regularly search for and repost content that includes the hashtag on your page.
You're ready to ramp up your TikTok hotel marketing!
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Kim Campbell Kim is a full-time copy and content writer with many years of experience in the hospitality industry. She entered the hotel world in 2013 as a housekeeping team member and worked her way through various departments before being appointed to Director of Sales. Kim has championed numerous successful sales efforts, revenue strategies, and marketing campaigns — all of which landed her a spot on Hotel Management Magazine’s “Thirty Under 30” list. Don’t be fooled though; she’s not all business! An avid forest forager, post-apocalyptic fiction fan, and free-sample-fiend, Kim prides herself on being well-rounded.