Best TikTok and Instagram Strategies for Travel in 2024

With more people than ever going to social media for trip inspiration, Civitatis shares their Instagram & TikTok strategies for different traveler markets

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More travelers are researching and planning their trips through social media in 2024 than ever before. 

“More than 75% of people now go on social media to search for inspiration,” said Civitatis’ Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Ismael García. “That doesn’t mean they don’t go on Google, they still go on Google… but a big chunk of the time is dedicated to social media.”

Charts from Arival's latest research showing TikTok rapidly gaining ground on Google, YouTube for trip discovery and planning among younger travelers from 2023 to 2024.
Social media platforms are gaining ground on Google: TikTok, in particular, has risen quickly as a platform for discovery and trip planning among 18-34 year olds, according to Arival’s latest research.

TikTok, in particular, has become an essential platform to reach younger generations of travelers, but even older generations are getting on board, using it as a way to find new things to do when they travel.

“TikTok is going beyond social media, it’s a search engine now,” Garcia continued. “They’re eating part of Google’s pie in some way, social media is going to keep influencing more and more purchase decision making.”

For operators, knowing how to reach these travelers is key to increasing your own following, and by extension your own bookings. Civitatis recently revealed to Arival a few of their insights into reaching travelers on Instagram and TikTok. According to Garcia, the secret is differentiating your strategy and message for each channel, and by each target market. 

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Instagram — It’s Increasingly About Influencers

Instagram can be a powerful tool for travel businesses to showcase what their experiences are like, but with around two billion active users on the platform, it can be difficult to get noticed. 

According to Garcia, working with influencers is an increasingly important strategy for Instagram.

“Instagram is much more established on social media [than TikTok] and you have a lot of influencers who are a lot more important, they have a massive following user base and so it’s more about who you want to work with and how you want users to generate content for you,” Garcia explained. 

Civitatis works with influencers to help them reach their different target markets, Garcia explained. For example, a Mexican influencer for the Mexican market, a Brazilian influencer to reach a Brazilian audience in Portuguese, and an Argentinian influencer to reach their audience in Argentinian Spanish.  

Civitatis works with an Argentinian influencer who is best equipped to reach their target market in Argentina using Argentinian Spanish

“I think influencers are going to keep rising,” Garcia projected, “social media is gonna get its share of wallets when it comes to influencing purchases.… I think in many ways it also replaces the old ‘word of mouth’.” 

Operator Tip: Learn more about how to work with influencers in our Guide to Influencer Marketing in Travel & Tourism.

TikTok — Less Formality, More Fun

While it can be tempting to replicate your social media strategy across different platforms, simply re-posting an Instagram “Reel” on TikTok or vice versa, a successful social media strategy utilizes each platform differently.  

”TikTok is going to be much more informal,” explained Garcia. “People don’t go for the ascetics. You don’t need to be perfect, you just need to be fun. As a company you shouldn’t be striving for the perfect video spot, do something fresh, something that is relevant with the audience.”

@civitatis

Esa sensación al cruzar nuestros caminos viajeros 💕 #meme #totaleclipseoftheheart #viajar #humor #CapCut

♬ sonido original – Civitatis
Civitatis leans into humor and the latest trends, as in this TikTok video which garnered 2.7 million views

While TikTok is also a fertile ground for influencers, as a platform it’s still much newer than its Meta-owned counterpart, and thus the potential for reaching people organically is greater. 

“On TikTok there is still room to reach your audience organically and grow, ‘going viral’ is still a lot more possible on Tiktok,” Garcia said. “The amount of interaction we get is also much bigger… there is that virality on TikTok that it can just go super fast, which is something you just don’t get on the other platforms.”

Garcia noted that the age demographic for TikTok is expanding, as well. “We see people 70+ using TikTok for search as well,” he said, comparing the “generational jump” to what happened in many Latin America (LATAM) countries with the Internet, where the population skipped desktop e-commerce and went straight into mobile apps. “You see that as well now with TikTok — people are not just jumping onto Instagram, they’re going straight to this.”

Operator Tip: Learn more about TikTok and creating video content in this article on Mastering Video Content in Travel.

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Different Strategies for Different Cultures

Civitatis’ strength lies in its multi-language and multicultural approach. While many companies, especially with the assistance of AI, are now able to offer websites in multiple languages, Civitatis has built their business on tours offered in original languages for Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese speaking markets.

For operators looking to break into, or expand their presence in markets with different languages, it’s important to realize the customization and localization goes beyond language. 

“You want to reach LATAM people? Start understanding the difference between people in Chile and Peru — same language but cultures are opposite ends of the spectrum,” explained Garcia.

“How can you be relevant for your target in the place that they’re in?” Brazil, for example, requires a very different approach. Not only in language, but social media preferences. “TikTok is huge in Brazil,” Garcia explained. “Don’t do Instagram in Brazil.”

Civitatis reaches Brazilians where they’re at, on TikTok — as in this video which offers helpful tips for Brazilians traveling to Europe or the U.S.

If you’re looking to reach a wider audience in a region or culture outside your own, Garcia recommends exploring your options for partnership and co-branding with other companies. “Partnerships, cobrandings are something very powerful in this travel industry, so try to find brands and companies that have similar audiences that you want to target, and work with them,” he advised. “If you really want to go for an audience, just do it, go all in.” 

Operator Tip: If you’re looking to partner with OTAs that specialize in a particular geographic region, check out our list of Regionally-Focused OTAs in Tours, Activities and Attractions.

Learn More about Social Media Strategy with Arival

For operators looking to grow their audience, a solid social media strategy can be an effective way to expand your reach. For more tips and resources about social media marketing, check out our latest guide for operators in the tours, activities and attractions sector: The Ultimate Social Media Guide for Operators.

Also, join us at an upcoming Arival event to learn more about the latest social media strategies and trends in person. We’ll share the latest research insights and hear from expert guest speakers on a variety of topics, including social media marketing. We hope to see you there!

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