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It’s summertime in Europe and we all know what it means: people posting airport and train stories, beach or mountain pictures and a peak of “where to go” or “Social Media vs Reality”, it’s some of the best times of the year for the tourism and travel industry, and people is getting very influenced in their travel decisions by TikTok. 


WOW, The End will shock you 😨🏝️ #bioluminescence #maldives #travel #instagramvsreality • 🎥 Appreciate the work: @Patrick Coyne | @CLEO | @Azan Rasheed • DM us please for credits or removal 🙏

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And we need to keep in mind that today’s tourists rely on social media platforms to inform their consumption choices, actually, according to a survey conducted to +100 Gen-Z, 60% of them are finding new products or services on TikTok, due to its accessibility (37%), affordability (33%), and approachability (23%), so, although the huge phenomenon of TikTok was “TikTok made me buy it”, we need to start considering “TikTok made me go”.

  • TikTok has +900 million active users per month
  • +66% of users are aged 16-24
  •  25% of users are aged 15-34
  • 71% of Gen Zers make a purchase decision based on a recommendation from a family member, friend or influencer on social media.

*Source: Reuters Institute’s Digital News Report 2022

Where have you found new products or services lately?

Streaming platforms9%
Physical shop32%
Discord and Telegram6%
Personal recommendation56%
* Source: Samy Alliance Survey

IAB (Interactive Advertising Bureau) published a study on travelling in Spain where they highlighted that the most trusted reference when it came to travelling destinations were families, friends and personal recommendations, with 46%, and that travelling social media accounts owned only 12,3% of the share. Although the #TRAVEL on Instagram has 681M posts and the related content has 8.8B visualisations on TikTok, Gen-Zers still need a “trustworthy” source to decide where to go, so here is where the marketing strategy needs to fill a gap with not only a strong presence on social media, but also a good influencer-based campaigns and for this TikTok is the king of culture driver. 

As in today, to gain the hearts of Gen-Zers and Alphas through social media should be a must for every travelling-related brand, not only because Gen-Z are getting involved in the market as decision makers very quickly, but also because today’s Alpha teens are tomorrow’s travellers, and actually 75% of parents involve their children in the holiday decision-making process. 

As contemporary tourists are using TikTok more as a search engine during the pre-trip decisions, on-site experiences and feedback stages, these tools are increasingly guiding consumer behaviour in the travel industry and shaping tourists’ perceptions, feelings, and experiences, and this is shown by the searches made on the clock App:

46K content on Instagram
43.2B views on TikTok

“Places to go on Vacation”

“TikTok vacations”

“Places to go this summer”

For starters, one of the most followed destinations on TikTok is Palm Beaches Florida with 115.3K Followers. If you scroll through travel or tourism hashtags, you’ll see lots of individual influencers promoting travelling through brand deals. But this is the case of a destination’s account, there are also many other accounts that make their content all about “what to do” (Madrid Secreto, Secret London, Visit London), giving people almost all the information they are looking for, and this category of content is something brand’s should leverage, otherwise they’re missing a connection opportunity. 

In this case, we need to remember Z’s need of having information visually appealing, without too much distraction or advertising, and that quickly gives them solutions and ideas to meet their needs. And this content is not only a sector for airlines, but also any other brand that involves travelling, such as EF: Education First and Hilton Hotel.

In this case, the match with influencer’s content is a must; in the early stages of TikTok and its connection to Travel it was all about magic places and perfection, but this content quickly faded with the “expectation vs reality” content, where users humoristically complain about having their hopes went up to high; so, although the content must be appealing, it also must be realistic, and the more information you can give directly or indirectly (budget expenses and distributions, map routes, what it’s worth seeing…) the better. Brands need to focus on how to communicate through TikTok properly, adapting their values to the format and being open minded to trends, any kind of storytelling that connects through empathy and gives FOMO around destinations and trips, because that’s the TikTok Z’s and Alpha are going to save, share and show their friends.