TikTok for Tourism Marketing

Over the last few years, TikTok has quickly risen the ranks and become one of the most widely used social platforms. DMOs and attractions can utilize TikTok to reach new audiences and engage with potential visitors. TikTok can be daunting, but in reality it is one of the easier platforms to use when it comes to marketing. You’ll just need some creativity and the willingness to follow the latest trends. Let’s dive right in: how to use TikTok for tourism marketing.

Just how popular is TikTok?

TikTok has exploded so quickly in popularity that you might not be aware of just how many users it has. As of 2024, TikTok has over 1 billion active montly users. TikTok is now the 4th largest social media platform, with more monthly users than Snapchat, Pinterest and X (formerly Twitter). There is a common misconception that only teenagers are on TikTok, but in reality over 40% of the app’s users are between ages 20 and 39. As TikTok has grown in popularity, it has become widely uses across many demographics.

Over 45% of TikTok users are Gen Z. As this generation continues to age, their spending power is increasing rapidly. Destinations and attractions not marketing to Gen Z are missing out on a huge group of people who are planning trips every day. TikTok is one of the best ways to reach this generation.

TikTok also stands out as having the highest average session length of all social media apps. The average users spends 11 minutes on TikTok per session and 52 minutes on TikTok per day. TikTok provides marketers with an amazing opportunity to capture people’s attention and keep them engaged.

What makes it so popular?

There are a few aspects that really separate TikTok from other social media apps.

The FYP 

Unlike Facebook where you see the posts of your friends and family, TikTok automatically greets you with a “for-you-page” (FYP) which is customized by your interests and past likes. This means that every single user has a unique experience on the app and is only shown what they want to see.  

Anyone can be an influencer

Originally just a dance and lip-syncing app, many of the most -followed users are teenagers and young adults. Anyone can be an “influencer,” but to reach that number of followers, they have to post enough to keep attention on themselves.

Unlimited Possibilities 

The possibilities for content are endless. Just scrolling through your FYP for five minutes, you could see a variety of creative media from livestream debates between content creators, to a 2-minute crime video, to someone marketing themself with a “video resume”, and many videos of people dancing along to the latest dance trend.  


A “trend” on TikTok refers to any specific sound being used repeatedly by users, a new dance move that everyone is attempting to perfect, or a specific format of a video. Users are quick to recognize new and exciting trends, which is why it is especially important for your business or organization to take part. They make your page more personal, relatable, and noticeable. The thing about trends, however, are that they come and go very quickly. You need to be on the lookout for what is new. Watching other videos and paying attention to what is appearing on your FYP can inspire new content ideas that will help your company gain traction.

How companies use the app as a marketing tool

As there is so much room for creativity and so many users to appeal to, some companies are ahead of the game when it comes to getting their name out on TikTok and following the latest trends. For example, Duolingo, the language learning platform, consistently posts creative videos of their owl mascot working in the office. Chipotle shows off workers creating special bowls or videos of relatable moments like the “when-your-best-friend-doesn’t- know-your-Chipotle-order” moment. Sports teams, such as the Toronto Blue Jays, use the app to make fun videos of their players and will often comment on other videos or respond to fans.

TikTok as a search engine

In recent years, TikTok has transcended its origins as a platform for entertainment to become a powerful search engine. With its algorithm finely tuned to user preferences and behaviors, destinations and attractions can harness TikTok to reach potential visitors in unique and engaging ways. As of 2024, 74% of Gen Z use TikTok as their go-to search engine. By optimizing content with relevant hashtags, engaging titles, and captivating visuals, destinations and attractions can improve their visibility on TikTok’s search results, making it easier for travelers to discover them. Creating informative and inspiring TikTok content that highlights the distinctive features of a destination can spark interest and inspire travel decisions. This shift towards using TikTok as a search engine represents an exciting opportunity for tourism marketers to connect with a generation of travelers who prefer authentic, visually driven content to plan their next adventure.

TikTok and the tourism industry

So, all this knowledge now leads us to the topic of the hour: how to use TikTok to promote tourism. With over 1 billion users, this is a perfect marketing tool for the tourism industry. Tourism sells a product, just like Duolingo or Chipotle. The amount exposure you can create, followed by people being inspired to buy products and visit places is incredible. For starters, one of the most followed destination on TikTok is Palm Beaches Florida with 126.3k followers! 

If you scroll through travel or tourism hashtags, you’ll see lots of individual influencers promoting traveling through brand deals. Destinations and other travel-centered organizations are showing off their products through a wide array of trends or creative points of view. For example, hotels and resorts will often show the behind-the-scenes, or the different rooms and amenities they have to offer. If we are looking at a smaller company, the manager might do a “day-in-the-life” of their work routine. People, especially the younger generation, LOVE to see how other people spend their time at work. This also makes it more personal.  

Is it time to add a new social media channel? Here’s how you know 

The future of TikTok

TikTok’s rapid rise to success has not come without it’s challenges. Currently, the future of TikTok is very uncertain. TikTok is owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance. Due to concerns over the security of U.S. user’s data, the House of Representatives created a bill that would force ByteDance to sell TikTok, or the app would be banned in the U.S. The bill was passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Biden.

Before you get ready to abandon all your plans for TikTok marketing, let’s take a look at what this really means. Is TikTok definitely going away? The answer is no. As of May 2024, ByteDance has nine months to divest the app. TikTok has stated that the plan to challenge this bill in court, as they have deemed it unconstitutional.

You might be wondering if it is worth putting time and money into a TikTok startegy when the app’s future is so unclear. It boils down to this: TikTok is not going anywhere anytime soon. The bill gives the app nine months to sort out a deal, and the recent legal retaliation means the whole process could take even longer. It could be months or even years before a resolution is reached. The reality is, every day you are not marketing to users on TikTok is a day wasted. We recommend you continue to utilize the platform, but never put all your eggs in one basket. Social media changes rapidly, but right now, TikTok is where people are spending their time.


Here are some inventive examples of travel, tourism and hospitality companies that are already using TikTok: 


This 59-second video explaining the Expedia Rewards Status with a few graphics and captions has 3.6 million views: 

Visit London

Visit London made this walk-through “Explore Westminster Abbey with us” video to highlight the iconic landmark with some pop-up facts about the church. This 15-second video has over 135,900 views:  


Explore Westminster Abbey with us, a living, working church and an iconic London landmark steeped in history! #LetsDoLondon #VisitLondon

♬ Metamorphosis – Danilo Stankovic

EF Tours

Education First, a company that specializes in travel tours and studying abroad, has a TikTok account that highlights all the perks of traveling to a different destination with people your age. Recently this account has been highlighting different destinations through a trend with eccentric music and pictures that flash before your eyes. Take a look: 


Reply to @yraquely as you wish 😘🏝 brought to you by @lolita.travels #efdaily #hawaii #sunset #traveltheworld #fypシ

♬ original sound – Valeria Torres


Hilton Hotels and Resorts show off the perks of their pet friendly hotels with this adorable video that encourages people to travel with their dogs:  


Sit, stay, lounge at nearly all of our Embassy Suites locations in the U.S. #dogtok #petfriendly #NationalPetMonth #hilton #EmbassySuites

♬ original sound – hilton

Palm Beaches

Finally, let’s see what our friends at Palm Beaches, the most followed destination on TikTok, are doing to attract followers. This video is a day trip itinerary, in video form:


Take a day trip to sunny West Palm Beach with @Miami Turismo + Brightline ☀️🚄 #thepalmbeaches #gobrightline #westpalmbeach #thingstodoinflorida #palmbeach

♬ Watermelon Sugar – Harry Styles

What all these companies have in common is that they are focusing on what their audience wants to see, and they participate in trends, no matter how silly they may seem.  

Tips for using TikTok to your advantage

  1. Create brief 20-60-second videos that appeal to short attention spans.
  2. Work to translate your brand into this new channel in a way that is consistent with your company yet is able to be recognized by TikTok users, such as the Duolingo owl workplace videos.
  3. Find influencers to show off your product and company.
  4. Have fun with it! Pay attention to trends and challenges that you could apply to your business or organization.

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