With multiple lockdowns and restrictions on in-person interactions over the last year, our social media consumption has been at an all time high. While Instagram remains very much the leader of social media platforms for the travel and hospitality industry, perhaps now is a good time to explore and create a presence on the social media ‘newcomers’, TikTok and Clubhouse. In this article, we’ll uncover what these platforms are and why it might be of interest for your business to join…
What the platforms are…
Launched in 2016, the popularity of TikTok has exploded over the last five years and accelerated at seemingly exponential rates during 2020’s first lockdown period. TikTok is an entertainment-based content platform where everyone can be a creator via short-form video creation. Videos can be up to 60 seconds long, however the optimum length for engagement is between 20-30 seconds. TikTok prides itself in honouring creativity, self-expression, and authenticity. Unlike Instagram, the success of a video post is not determined by the number of engaged followers your business profile has, with the possibility of a TikTok video going viral on your very first post. According to TikTok, in 2020 the platform was the most downloaded video app in the world.
For those wishing to experiment with TikTok through commercial opportunities, it might be interesting to know that businesses are able to advertise on TikTok without having their own account.
Launched in spring 2020, Clubhouse is a very different concept to any other social media platform, being an invitation-only and audio-chat only iPhone app. A breath of fresh air from our daily Zoom video calls and visual social media platforms, users of the audio-only app can choose to quietly listen into or ‘raise your hand’ and join conversations, debates and discussions between interesting people on various topics in virtual rooms. For business-use, this includes joining industry leaders, colleagues and friends to discuss and collaborate on topics around travel, tourism and hospitality. To note, accounts must join as individuals, not a business account, and therefore it’s a great industry networking tool.
Who is the platform’s audience?
TikTok has a young audience, with Gen Z and millennials being the early adopters of TikTok. However, interestingly, in 2020 35+ was the fastest growing audience age (TikTok, 2020) and so the app is appearing to gradually begin reaching a slightly older audience who are perhaps more likely to be booking luxury travel. Although, we should not underestimate the decision-making purchasing power of teenagers when it comes to family holidays. According to a Virtuoso advertising poll in 2018, 88% of family travel choices are swayed by Gen Z.
Originating in China, TikTok is extremely global with over 75 languages available and over 690,000,000 monthly active users across over 150 different countries (TikTok, July 2020). As an example of the scale, currently over two-thirds of China’s population is active on the platform.
While Clubhouse launched with the purpose of being a B2C platform, its success with the B2B market has been huge as of late thanks to its ability to host audio-only industry networking, interviews and panel conversations and create industry-relevant groups to follow.
Clubhouse originated in California’s Silicon Valley, and thanks to its ‘invitation-only’ access, still has a small audience of 10 million users who are intelligent, curious and open to networking with likeminded, or completely new and different, people.
Why should the travel and hospitality industry should think about using these newcomer platforms?
- Travel is among the top trending topics on TikTok globally, with 60% of users interested in receiving travel content (GWI, Global TikTok Users, Q1 and Q2 2020).
- With TikTok being so visual, it is an opportunity to ‘sell’ the beauty of travel and your hotel/ destination.
- 40% of TikTokers are not on Facebook or Instagram, and so by having a presence on TikTok you have access to a unique audience who may be being missed across other social media platform marketing activity.
A few travel focused Tik Tok accounts you may wish to explore as examples include @handluggageonly, @wheretofindme, @laxtoluxury, @jeremyaustiin, @terplanet and @mgtenazas.
- Clubhouse currently has a large B2B audience with many travel editors, travel agents, MICE agents, and travel industry Sales and Marketing individuals on the app.
- Excitingly, there are conversations happening on Clubhouse between peers that are not happening elsewhere and only available on the app. For example, Conde Nast Traveller Sustainability Editor Juliet Kinsman is going to host a monthly room from Mat in the “Sustainability club” following the success of its previous session where industry professionals and travellers alike can ask her anything about sustainability. Therefore, having a presence on the platform is a positive way to keep your business front of mind by having your expert employees seen and heard through networking on Clubhouse.
- Users can set up groups and rooms to host talks, events and conversations which can be as formal or informal as you wish. Clubhouse continues to be a brilliant way to stay connected with industry colleagues and peers during lockdown when in-person events are limited.
- It’s also proved to be a great way to grow your other social media account as you can link your Clubhouse account to your Instagram and LinkedIn account and since there is no direct message capability in Clubhouse, users tend to connect instead through one of those two platforms.
- As of May 2021, the Clubhouse app is available on all Android phones, in addition to iPhone users.
Any cons to be aware of?
Understandably, one of the biggest commons concerns for businesses investigating TikTok is the young audience age. Deciding to have a brand presence on TikTok and collaborating with TikTokers for PR visits may be dependent on the target audience of your business and whether you’re aiming to reach this younger millennial demographic.
Another consideration is whether you have the time and resource to create enough creative and authentic short-form video content for the platform, which can be time-consuming and so will require passion from your team. It may be useful to know that Instagram Reels can be repurposed on TikTok, allowing you to ‘recycle’ content for your first trial posts to save time.
Users must also be discerning about who to trust and take advice from, as there can be a lack of credibility around self-proclaimed ‘experts’.
By Clare Jackson, Senior PR Account Executive
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