You’ve probably heard of TikTok, a popular social media platform that has been making waves around the world. To give you an idea of its popularity, TikTok has been downloaded over 2 billion times worldwide and has nearly 100 million monthly active users in the US alone.
Despite its staggering success, it’s easy to dismiss TikTok as an app for teenagers filming themselves lip-syncing trendy songs. But have you ever considered the marketing opportunities that a platform with such a wide reach offers to brands?
Many brands have already started building their presence on the rapidly growing social network. The likes of Red Bull, NFL, Guess and Nickelodeon jumped on the bandwagon early and have garnered millions of followers.
However, brands haven’t quite mastered TikTok yet. There is a lot of room to grow and lots of opportunities for travel brands and destination marketers – like vacation rental management companies – to experiment with the platform.
In this blog post, we’ll cover why property managers should consider making TikTok one of their vacation rental marketing channels. We’ll talk about the audiences you can reach, the techniques you can use to get noticed, and even show you a few examples of property managers that have already embraced TikTok marketing.
Let’s get straight into it!
TikTok is a social media network where users can create and share short, entertaining videos. It’s owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance and was first made available worldwide in 2018.
TikTok is the go-to platform for Gen Z (the generation born between 1997 and 2015), but it’s becoming more and more popular with older audiences, too.
Videos on TikTok can be up to 60 seconds long and cover a wide range of genres from dance videos and lip-syncing to challenges, tutorials, comedy and education.
Just like on other social media platforms, users can follow profiles they like and discover new ones to follow on the ‘For you’ page.
Brands tend to overlook TikTok as a potential marketing channel. Instead, they turn to platforms they have more experience with, such as Facebook and Instagram. And that makes sense. TikTok isn’t for everyone, and it’s certainly not for brands exclusively targeting an older demographic.
However, travel brands shouldn’t underestimate the potential of marketing to a younger audience. Today’s Generation Z are tomorrow’s travellers. Short TikTok videos are a great way to convey the atmosphere of a destination and evoke wanderlust in young travellers who are starting to put together a bucket list of experiences that appeal to them.
Creating TikTok videos could be the perfect opportunity to marry the young viewers’ desire for entertainment and inspiration with the unique travel experiences your brand has to offer.
Furthermore, according to the National Retail Federation, Gen Z’s influence over family purchasing decisions is much greater than you’d expect. According to the survey, over 4 in 5 parents say they involve their children in purchases, with 79% saying their children influence their travel.
Besides, TikTok isn’t just for Gen Z. You may be surprised to learn that there are plenty of people from older generations on TikTok, too. In fact, over 41% of TikTok users are older than 25: TikTok has more than 1 billion active users, and 40 million of those are 25+.
For property management marketers with limited paid media budgets, the TikTok organic reach will go much further than on other platforms in reaching these key audiences, with far more opportunity for virality.
Due to the slow adoption from the travel industry, TikTok is still a relatively untapped opportunity for travel brands, and travel content is still in its infancy. So while some talented creators are flexing their creative muscles via travel content, you’ll find a lot of reposting from other social platforms.
Currently, the #travel hashtag on TikTok has a total of over 42.3 billion views. According to a statement from TikTok, the platform “has become increasingly popular for showcasing authentic travel moments.”
Be an early adopter of TikTok and take advantage of the opportunity to lead and create relationships with a new audience that will last well into the future.
Property managers can embrace TikTok to create a profile for their brand and start posting regular content. Of course, this will require a significant time investment on the part of someone in your marketing team – and it won’t be easy to figure out what content to create.
The appeal of TikTok videos is that they’re creative, entertaining and personal. That last bit is why brands have such a hard time replicating the success of individual TikTokers, some of whom have managed to collect tens of millions of followers.
If you want to make sure your content resonates with audiences on TikTok, it might be worth giving your brand a face – or at least a voice behind the videos. This could be your social media manager or anyone else who’s willing to take ownership of your brand’s TikTok account.
Secondly, you’ll need to have your finger on the pulse of what’s trending on the social network. You’ll need to participate in viral challenges, use popular sounds and react to other people’s videos via ‘duets’. That’s the only way to keep your content fresh, your viewers engaged and reach new audiences on this dynamic platform.
For example, Sun RV Resorts does a great job of jumping on trends to showcase their tiny cottages on Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
If you feel like running your own TikTok account would be too big of a project to take on, there’s another way to market your rentals on the platform. You can work with TikTok influencers and hire them to showcase your rentals for you.
All you need to do is reach out to an influencer and strike up an agreement, including the costs and the types of content they’ll create for your brand. You can invite them to stay at your rental and experience it themselves, so their content will be authentic. Then, they’ll share the videos they create with their followers.
This is a great way to expand your vacation rental brand’s reach to TikTok without having to commit too much time and effort to maintaining your presence on the platform.
For example, here’s a TikTok influencer recommending a property management company, Heavenly Hosts, to her followers. She even provides a link to the company’s Instagram profile and website in the comments section, so her followers can check them out. Plus, she’s promoting a giveaway for a two-night stay at one of their vacation rentals.
(Disclaimer: We don’t know for certain whether this was a sponsored post.)
Another way to increase your property management brand’s presence on TikTok without actually running your own TikTok account is to encourage guests to post about your rentals.
By creating a personalised hashtag, you can invite people to upload their own videos about their stay at your property and share them with others. In return, you can offer small rewards like a discount on their next stay.
For example, the property management firm Sonder doesn’t have a TikTok account. But guests staying at Sonder properties have created hundreds of videos and posted them using the hashtag #Sonderstay, which now has 281.7k views.
TikTok can be a great way to boost your brand awareness. First, however, you need to figure out a way to leverage its full potential.
Some property management companies are already using TikTok to their full advantage and creating new interest in their properties.
30A Escapes is a luxury property management company based in South Walton, Florida, USA, and they use TikTok to promote their beautiful properties and entice guests.
Here is an example of how 30A Escapes markets its properties to potential travellers:
If you manage to create content that your target audience connects with instantly, building up your following on TikTok may actually take less time than on other platforms.
For example, 30A Escapes has 11.7 k followers on Instagram, a platform that they’ve been using since 2014. On the other hand, on TikTok, they already have 31.5 k followers (three times the number of their Instagram followers), even though they’ve only been consistently posting on the platform since 2020.
While we still think Instagram is a great way to market your properties, it seems like lost potential not to have a TikTok account, especially as most of 30A Escapes videos get more than 21.1k views.
The TikTok craze is only going to get bigger as the platform continues to ramp up its paid advertising capabilities and reporting. This is exciting for advertisers looking to reach a younger demographic.
Whether you think marketing your vacation rentals on TikTok is a great idea or a waste of time, it’s clear to see that this platform has great potential.
We can’t wait to see how travel brands build out their organic presence on this rapidly expanding platform in the coming years.
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