Three brands nailing travel content on TikTok

LonelyPlanet 

As a brand that’s synonymous with providing local recommendations and highlighting hidden gems, their destination deep-dive videos just feel natural. They’ve carried their tone and USPs across to this new platform, staying true to their brand and creating content that aligns with their audience’s expectations. They generally steer clear from trends, but their 148.7k follower count proves that not every brand needs to use viral audios or visuals to connect with their users.

For me, they’re also nailing TikTok because they’re repurposing some of their popular YouTube videos. They’ve recognised that they can use the same content to target different audience groups – according to sproutsocial, the largest age group on TikTok is 18-24, jumping to 25-34 on YouTube – getting the most out of their content. In fact, one of their most viewed TikToks features reworked footage from an existing YouTube video, meaning that this one piece of content has generated over 140k views across both platforms.

Kayak

With just over 6,000 followers but 165.7k likes, Kayak has a strong presence on TikTok. This brand’s feed has a good mix of authentic content and videos that capitalise on the latest trends. Their videos strike a balance between appealing to people who happen to come across their content on their For You Page and have no knowledge of the brand, and their target audiences who expect certain content from Kayak.

They’ve also mastered shareable and saveable content with their listicle-like videos. As Adobe’s report pulled out, people are turning to TikTok more and more because of how digestible the short form video format is. Kayak has taken this and run with it, creating low-effort, high-impact posts like ‘Warm destinations to visit in March’ and ‘Cheap places to visit in 2024’ with text over glossy images and videos of the destinations. By using this already popular video format, Kayak has managed to engage with trends in a more subtle way as well, paying attention to what kinds of videos do well beyond those that use viral audios and effects. 

VisitScotland

VisitScotland is another brand that is making the most of TikTok. You might not expect Scotland’s national tourist organisation to have made much of an impact on TikTok, but their videos have managed to gain just under 60k followers and over 600k likes. 

Because it’s a smaller brand than LonelyPlanet or Kayak, VisitScotland is able to create more niche content, and on TikTok, this gives them a real advantage. As Stuart Flint, Head of Global Business Solutions TikTok for Europe and Israel, says: “small niche communities [on TikTok] are driving mass cultures now”. This is something travel brands can really jump on by creating local content that, on other platforms, might only resonate with a small group of people but, on TikTok, speaks to a much larger audience. VisitScotland does this well by using specific but powerful hashtags in their content which still align with their brand, such as #highlandcow, which has over 70k posts, or #outlander which has over 160k posts.

Their feed is also full of user-generated content, helping contribute to the storytelling vibe that people value. By sharing videos from other creators, their content seems more genuine and tailored – another USP people value when it comes to their FYPs – rather than like a brand making TikToks because a social media lead tells them to. 

What’s the secret? 

The thing that all three of these companies are doing is creating content that aligns with their brand. From LonelyPlanet’s resharing of tried-and-true video content to VisitScotland’s use of niche hashtags, these brands are doing well on TikTok because they’re doing what they know: speaking to their audiences in a way that they expect.

Brands need to adapt their tone from platform to platform, but the fundamentals need to stay the same. Whatever channels you’re creating content for, someone needs to be able to pick your brand out of a lineup.

Even though Kayak plays with trends, it does it in a way that makes sense for the brand. Because of its playful and casual tone of voice, it seems natural. Think about how jarring it would be for the comparatively informative and authoritative LonelyPlanet to be using viral audios and funny visuals. 

But following trends on their own isn’t enough. Just like for other socials, you need a solid strategy behind your TikTok content to maintain long-term engagement. Trendy videos can help you build your brand and achieve short-term growth but the buzz won’t last forever. And when the trends die down, it’s the brands that have created meaningful connections with their audiences that are left standing. 

To harness the power of your TikTok audience, you need to:

  • Do your research – At the end of the day, it’s all about your audience, so make sure to put the time and effort into identifying who they are, what they like and how to speak to them. User journey mapping can also be a great tool here, helping you understand where TikTok fits into your audience’s online interactions.
  • Be consistent – We all know that to maintain momentum on socials, you need a regular upload schedule and to be creating consistent content, rather than new types of videos everyday. There’s definitely a balance between being consistent and spamming your viewers though, so just keep an eye on engagement and adjust your uploads accordingly.
  • Build a community – Speaking of engagement, TikTok is the perfect platform to actually talk to your audiences in real time. Get into that comments section and respond to what they’re saying! Becoming part of the conversation will also help you build brand awareness, loyalty and trust, the foundations of long-term success on social media.
  • Diversify – Okay, I know I said you need to be consistent with what kinds of videos you’re putting out, but there’s also benefit in changing things up once in a while. Whether that’s occasionally using viral audios or starting a weekly series alongside your regularly scheduled posts, audiences also enjoy new, innovative content rather than the same rinse and repeat videos all the time. 
  • Lift the lid – It’s clear that audiences want authentic, realistic content from their FYPs so creating behind-the-scenes videos or using UGC to show real travel experiences will help you connect with your viewers.

So, should you chase travel trends?

Yes – but choose wisely! 

With over 1 million creators on TikTok, there are so many trends you could participate in. The difference between success and cringe is choosing trends that align with your brand and audience. Just because one style of content works for one travel company doesn’t mean it’ll work for everyone. 



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