Vacation rental

7 insights on using TikTok to market your vacation rental

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TikTok is becoming an increasingly influential channel for travel-related content. Here are seven insights on how vacation rental owners can embrace the trend and reach new audiences.

With more than one billion active monthly users around the world, TikTok has grown into an influential platform – especially in the travel industry.

Booking.com’s 2023 Travel Trends research* shows that of the 30% of global travelers who turn to TikTok for travel inspiration:

  • 56% of travelers use TikTok to get travel tips
  • 54% of travelers use it for ideas on where to go
  • 51% of travelers use it for ideas on where to stay

As TikTok becomes a go-to source for information, we want to look at how you can engage with this audience and continue to grow your brand awareness.

Here are some key insights you can put to use.

1) Use TikTok to promote your property 

TikTok’s own research has shown that 63% of users are inclined to watch ads on TikTok and 92% take some action following the content they watch.

In addition, TikTok had a strong priming effect on other media, making users less likely to skip a pre-roll ad elsewhere if they’d seen an ad for that brand on TikTok. That means your investment in TikTok could have an impact elsewhere if you’re already advertising your property on other platforms.

But there’s a limit to this embracing of ads. When people are scrolling, they almost shouldn’t know the content they’re seeing is an ad because it should feel like something from another creator within the community – informative, interesting, and ultimately entertaining. If it feels like it’s selling too hard without offering users value, it’s easy to skip straight to another video.

2) Don’t worry about being too polished

On TikTok, users respond to authenticity. That means you don’t need the polished, expensively shot videos traditionally associated with social media “influencers” and can instead focus on something a little more human. 

This can make TikTok quite accessible as the lack of pressure to get everything exactly right when shooting means it doesn’t require a large marketing budget or team of experts to see results.

“The camera quality of a standard mobile phone is usually more than enough, and you can record and edit straight in the app so you don’t need any other software. It ties back to that authenticity aspect. We often call it “lo-fi” – it’s not low quality, but it doesn’t have to be highly polished either.” – Hannah Bennett, Travel Lead at TikTok

3) Don’t forget sound

Many platforms mute videos by default, whereas on TikTok sound is automatically on and forms an essential part of the viewer experience.

The sound doesn’t have to be perfect in terms of quality, but it needs to be there – otherwise you’re missing out on a vital aspect of the experience.

So, when planning what to post about your property, take a moment to think about what the audience will hear as well as what they’ll see – be it an informative voice-over or a trending soundtrack.

4) Video length isn’t as important as you might think

After initially starting at just 15 seconds, the maximum video length on TikTok has since increased to 10 minutes. In fact, Hilton recently had a lot of success with a ten-minute video.

Still, a video can be ten minutes long, but should it be?

When talking at our recent Click. event, Kristen Stoutenburgh, US Travel Partnerships Teams Lead at TikTok, said the ideal length for a video is simply “as long as you can keep your audience entertained.”

TikTok is primarily an entertainment platform, so you need to work to keep people’s attention.

5) Collaborate with creators

Working with creators—the “influencers” of TikTok—can be an effective way to get started on the platform. 

Creators know the audience, so they know which topics to talk about, and just as importantly, which to avoid. They’re also widely trusted by the users, with three in four users finding creator content to be believable.

If you decide to go for this approach, nurturing a long-term relationship can be far more effective than one-off videos. Finding a creator based near your vacation rental who you can build a “brand ambassador” partnership with could help with long-term results.

6) Give creators freedom

Whether you partner with a creator or create your own content, you need to give the people in charge of posting a degree of autonomy.

Long approval processes and general delays can hinder your ability to respond to short-term trends, cutting off a potential route to the much-craved “virality” many people hope for.

If something takes four weeks to get signed off, you’ll either miss out or appear behind the times.

7) Stick with it

Performance can vary, as TikTok creator Michelle González shared by pointing out you could post 10 TikToks and get nothing, then the next one could get all the results you were hoping for. But, she pointed out, you needed all 11 posts to reach that success.

After all, each piece is building your reputation and your place in the wider community – which takes time and consistency.

Don’t give up if you don’t see immediate results.

*Research was commissioned by Booking.com and independently conducted among a sample of adults who’d taken a trip in the last 12 months and planned to take a leisure trip in 2023. The sample comprised 42,513 respondents from 33 markets Respondents completed an online survey in January or February 2023.
 

TikTok's Travel Lead on reaching and engaging new audiences
Discover more insights

These are just some of the insights taken from the TikTok Masterclass at Click. 2023 – discover more by watching the full session. 

Watch now

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Takeaway
  • Our research shows that TikTok is becoming increasingly influential as a source of travel-related content, with 54% of respondents saying they use it for destination ideas
  • Ads on TikTok can not only influence users there, but can influence their perception of ads seen elsewhere too
  • Users tend to prefer authenticity, meaning it doesn’t have to require extensive resources or expertise to make an impact
  • Partnering with external creators can be an effective way to get started