TikTok + Travel

is the love affair over?

Dear Destruptor,


Check on your social media manager; they are not OK.


As I’m sure you’ve seen allll over social media and the news, TikTok faces a ban (for real this time) in the U.S. Sure to pass the Senate, and with the President assuring he will sign it, creators and social media managers scramble to make sense and pivot. But is this reaction impetuous? So, let’s explore the critical questions you should be discussing with your team.

Should I stop spending ad dollars on TikTok?


Probably. If you are mid-campaign, let it run. If it’s in your 2025 ad budget, let’s rethink.

The ban wouldn’t affect us for 6 months, if ever. It’s possible an American company will buy it (my bet is on Zuck), and the legal battle could go on for an excruciatingly long time.


Should I download my TikTok content?


Some destination marketers use the app to edit short-form content for use on other platforms. Others upload pre-made SFC (short-form content). It’s smart to have a dedicated server or platform housing all owned media content, regardless of the platform.


Should I stop posting or building an audience on TikTok?


No. The audience is still there—170 million Americans. And with the news, consumption is likely to rise in the short term.


How can I support my partners?


Seven million U.S. small businesses use TikTok and/or TikTok shop to support their businesses. Something to keep in mind as a destination marketer: not all of your local small businesses have a physical storefront. They are a long-tail marketing engine for the destination, its vibe, its people.


This is an opportunity for community development. First, reach out to them. This is an excellent opportunity to poll/survey your local businesses on their social media strategy. Much can be gleaned from a special questionnaire to calm fears, gather important media trends within market, and reinforce how the destination cares for its residents and business owners.


What platforms should we increase?


Honestly, it’s dealer’s choice. Since watching the rise (I see you, MySpace Tom) of social media and the tsunami of social media choices after the advent of Facebook, one thing I know for certain and two things I know for sure: Being everywhere to everyone has diminishing results. More internet consumption is now audio, so your advertising needs to give only one to three points to remember. “Find us on Instagram and Pinterest” is easier to remember than a host of platforms.


A simple answer is increase where your travelers go. But understand, that is a changing strategy. Social media is not going to get smaller, and consumers are fickle af.


Pick a lane, ride it hard. Your content creation is more important than your website (only 15% of travelers ever visit a destination website).



🤦‍♀️ We are sick of this s%^&. We (as destination marketers) are exhausted from expanding and contracting and reading data and becoming completely different organizations. We’re tired, boss.


That all to say, my prediction is that it fastens what needs to happen: Destinations need to take a breath, evaluate the core of the content creation/owned media, consumption, and individualize how they address paid media.


At the end of the day, travelers are going to travel, creators are going to create, and water is wet.


If you’d like to talk with our team about TikTok or anything else, you got it. 30 min, on me: [email protected]