It’s been almost a year that the TikTok craziness started and it seems like that it’s here to stay. The application has created a buzz around its name, and the marketing world is still processing the different ways to integrate it into their strategies. One of the markets that TikTok has not been used yet is the vacation rental business. This article aims to describe all the basic features of the TikTok application and how you can use it to grow your vacation rental.
TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform, constantly improving and adding new features for its users. It is a social network where users can create, upload and share short videos of 5-60 seconds. These videos can be songs, music challenges, comic challenges, lip-syncs, magic tricks, dance videos, and routines.
TikTok has a sister-application, which runs solely in China, to comply with the censorship restriction laws of the country, but share all the same features and context of use. It is owned by one of the leading start-up companies, ByteDance.
Most people will join very late the TikTok train but you need to start creating your own TikTok marketing strategy. And while TikTok is still overwhelmingly popular among teens, the number of adult users keeps growing too.
The statistics about TikTok are very interesting as well. It was downloaded 738 million times in 2019, reaching over 1.5 billion downloads in the 2010s. Approximately 60% of its users are 16-24 years old, with a clear gender imbalance having 2 female users for every male user.
Basic TikTok Features
Before we see how TikTok features can be used by vacation rental companies, let’s briefly explain its basic features.
1. Video Uploading and Video Editing
When using TikTok, you can upload your own videos, crop them, add different effects, sounds and music. Also, you can change the characteristics of the video (speed) and modify your facial characteristics (hair color, eyes, etc) just like Snapchat, with special filters.
@cloud9cabinsCloud 9 Cabins- Luxury #vacationrental in #gatlinburgtennessee 4 bed 4 bath with #gameroom! #renovation #interiordesign♬ Sunset Lover – Petit Biscuit
2. Live Streaming
To use this feature of the application, you’ll need to have at least 1.000 followers in your account. There are a lot of rumors about the “Live Streaming” option, but let’s stick to what we know for sure. However, you need to have 1.000 followers to use this feature.
To go “live”, you need to tap into the “Cross” middle icon, and the option should be there. However, there have been cases reported that this option is not available, even if they meet the requirements.
You could use TikTok to do live tours of your vacation rental properties like:
@moving.mountainsSee Me Lodge – your sanctuary from the outside world #steamboatsprings #fyp #tiktoktravel #luxury #vacationrental #vacation #summer♬ original sound – moving.mountains
3. Social Media Sharing
The TikTok social platform allows you to save your videos and share them to other social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram, etc. When you save your video or share it with other social networks, your TikTok username account is embedded to the video so users can follow your account directly.
If you want users to visit your website, other social accounts or contact details, be sure to also add it on top of your video like:
@raro_villasWhen the #summer ends and you plan the next #holidays #villa 🤣 #rarovillas #puglia #vacationrental #italy #dreams #italychallenge #tikttokers♬ Clap Snap（remix） – Icona Pop
4. Duet Option (Collaboration)
Initially, this feature was planned for two users to sing songs together but it has turned out to be a great collaboration tool.
More and more TikTok users leverage this option to create videos with friends. Not only for singing duets but for comedy videos, magic tricks, funny memes, and challenges.
To make duets you need to search the video you want to duet with. Then, tap on the right the “Share” option. On one side is the original video, and on the other side is the video that you are recording.
When recording you have all the options available on the screen. On the right side, you can change the speed of the video, add beauty effects, filters and use the timer option.
On the upper side of the screen, you’ll find the “Sounds” icon with all the latest trends on songs and viral videos.
For example, The Inn Between uses this feature to show guests her reactions to the videos they record in her vacation rental properties.
@theinnbetweentx#duet with @corinneup when your Airbnb house has a ring light. #airbnb #frioriver #concan #texas #texasgirls #texasgirl #PlayWithLife #lifeathome♬ International Harvester – Craig Morgan
5. Other Features
The TikTok application lets you create your own QR code which you can share so other users can find you and subscribe; they have a built-in library with a great variety of songs which you can use on your videos and most importantly, they have a geolocation feature to promote live broadcasters around specific regions.
TikTok For Your Vacation Rental Business
So now that we know about TikTok, what does this mean for vacation rentals? Some hotels have already started using it!
And we get it. Investing time on creating TikTok videos can be costly, and there’s no real way to measure your return on investment. You can’t really tell if all the views you get will bring you more bookings.
But if you’re focused on attracting a younger audience, TikTok could be a fun way to improve your brand visibility and promote your vacation rental business.
So, what’s a vacation rental owner like you to do? Here are some actionable tips based on what other companies are doing:
1. Use Hashtag Challenges
The main advantage of TikTok is its algorithm. As no one really knows what the algorithm is really about, we can only be sure that it’s based on “virality”.
The main aspect of virality in TikTok is the challenges that are accompanied by a hashtag and people are invited to upload their own video.
TikTok allows brands to create a challenge with a personalized sponsored hashtag. With this hashtag, users can then upload their own content (that responds to the brand’s challenge) and share it with other users. From TikTok Ads a page will be created with the challenge where all the content created by users will be stored.
Most brands that use TikTok already try to brand the hashtags by including their name, or something specific, in the challenge.
For example, Booking.com created the #BookingBoogie challenge; users had to record a video of themselves dancing in a holiday destination.
@imnickrobertson Mind or don’t mind? 😂 #BookingBoogie #sponsored #ukcomedy♬ Booking Boogie – booking.com
Of course, Booking.com has a huge audience but you can adapt your campaign accordingly. Think about your target audience, how you can relate with them, and what is a single, simple thing that they would want to post about. What about Saturday night vs Sunday morning looks during holidays?
2. Leverage Brand Collaborations
This could be your magic trick. Use brand ambassadors. If you don’t already have a social media marketing strategy in place, consider working with brand ambassadors.
And don’t get me wrong. You don’t need to cooperate with big names, like Jennifer Aniston or Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez.
For your vacation rental company, you should make three simple moves.
Firstly, research and recognize the characteristics of your existing customers (or desired customers, if you wish to change it). Know their gender, age, likes, and where they come from.
Secondly, knowing your target audience, and their origins, you can research micro-influencers on the traveling market in their countries. See who is currently active, whether they already have collaborations with certain companies, their attitude towards their followers and their content types.
Thirdly, contact the micro-influencers that made you feel like home and ask them to be your brand ambassadors. Set an e-meeting, discuss about your proposal, and let them promote your business on their TikTok.
For example, TikTok user “Laurengodwin” has a fan base of about 19 million followers on TikTok. This following base is a great audience of young people following her. As such, The Taco Bell Hotel collaborated with her. She stayed at the hotel and uploaded a video when she first went there. The video contained the hotel entrance, reception, her room’s door and the view of the pool and pool bar.
On a smaller scale, The Funky Loft was featured on TikTok by a user with 8000 followers.
@shelby__barnesNYC travel tip— would you stay here?! 🥰 #nyc #newyork #airbnb #bohostyle #vintage #stayhere #traveldiaries #vanlife #MakeTheLeap♬ death bed (coffee for your head) – Powfu
By teaming up with TikTok users, your properties and vacation rental brand are featured on other accounts with followers that you might’ve never reached out to.
3. Create Social Media Funnel
While TikTok is a great upcoming social media platform, there is a major drawback. It doesn’t offer great statistics, metrics or ways to see how your marketing strategy works.
So, instead of waiting for the application to provide information about your sales metrics, you can start directing your followers to your other social media accounts. This will add them to a “new” marketing funnel and try to affect them.
For example, several accounts feature their website URL or Instagram username on their TikTok profiles:
4. Affiliate Marketing Referrals
So here the process is similar to brand collaborations. But to create proper affiliate programs, you need to work some things differently. Find all the people that fit your company and audience, regardless of the size of their fanbase and give them a different promo code each and offer them a pitch. For every code purchased on their name for your vacation rental, you give them a certain percentage.
This will not create great traffic to your website and your company, but if an influencer is clever enough to monetize on your offer, you will both benefit.
Is TikTok ideal for your business?
The way that TikTok has rapidly increased and created a fan base is amazing. Everyone is talking about it, but few have managed to use it successfully.
It really depends on your target audience and the time and effort you want to put into it. If you’re looking to reach a younger audience, the app might be perfect for you – especially because not a lot of vacation rental brands are taking advantage of it!
So if your company team is highly creative and understands the Internet culture, go for it!
About the author
Christoforos Zafeiris works as the SEO Copywriter for the email marketing software company Moosend. He has always been eager to influence trends with his words; thus, copywriting is the only natural choice for him. He’s also an enthusiast of human communication, long walks, and storytelling.
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