Storytelling through Social-First Content: TikTok

two people taking selfie at ancient ruins

TikTok has surpassed all social media (even Google) as the number one most downloaded app and the most-searched-for term in the last six months. More than a billion videos are viewed every day by the one billion active users (130 million in the United States)—though the app has been downloaded onto three billion phones.

With that, more accounts than ever have joined the video platform to showcase their destinations and companies. Hashtags like “Travel” and “TikTokTravel” account for billions of views, meaning people are desperate to see tourism on the app. These travel-related videos aren’t just limited to flight attendants dancing to Lady Gaga on an empty plane—companies are telling incredible stories that compel viewers to book trips. Below are our favorite examples of creators using powerful storytelling to pitch visiting them.

Mitchell Airport

The airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, decided to make their content about stuffed animals left behind by kiddos. When they find one of the creatures, they make a TikTok showing it around the airport until someone contacts them with an address of where to send it home. These heart-warming stories have garnered millions of views and a very loyal following of more than 32,000 for the airport itself.

@pawnsorkings @poormanspoison #poormanspoison #countrymusic #southerngothic #indiecountry #folkpunk #greenscreen ♬ Hell's Comin' with Me - Poor Man's Poison

@mitchellairport We did it! Lamby’s family even donated a new stuffy for Violet to go on adventures with. #reunion #airport #stuffedanimals #bestfriend #fyp ♬ original sound - Jesse J. Pedigo

The Baker Hotel and Spa

Down in Mineral Wells, Texas, the 1929 Baker is a historical hotel and spa that sadly closed its doors in 1972. Still, some enterprising Texans have set to restoring the property to its original glory. Through their TikTok, they tell stories about certain rooms, how they are going about bringing the old dame up to code and more. They’ve received more than 1.2 million likes and 85,400 followers who are curious about their journey.

@thebakerhotelandspa The story of the famous and beloved Baker Cactus. #thebakerhotelandspa #restoration #mineralwellstx #cactus #fyp ♬ Wildflowers (2014 Remaster) - Tom Petty


For an ad campaign, Delta asked people to submit their favorite travel story using a specific hashtag, which resulted in some wonderful videos—and of course, got them more views! The airline has no issue with engagement on TikTok, boasting more than 272,000, but these videos promoted the idea of travel to everyone.

@elisolidum Mexico is overflowing with magic & easily my favorite trip. What’s yours? #FavoriteTripChallenge #AD ♬ Takeoff - L. Dre

Visit California

Part of California’s brand has always been the movie industry—remember these commercials? Now, this DMO is taking brand storytelling to a whole other level by sharing behind-the-scenes content of their latest campaigns. By showcasing the steps behind creating their iconic commercials, they are giving us a different kind of the same commercial — like brand inception. This TikTok alone got 43,600 views. 

Visit Virginia

With more than 50,000 followers, Visit Virginia is a state DMO #winning on TikTok. Their creativity on the platform is exemplified in their partnership with local tour guides who take viewers on mini virtual tours, sharing the stories behind attractions. Informative and fun, this content format keeps visitors in-the-know about why they should be visiting certain areas—and why they should fall in love with Virginia.

Adler Planetarium

Over in Chicago, Adler Planetarium (12,500 followers) has a video series featuring a “star”—or rather, an employee in a star costume—traveling around the attraction and telling viewers how excited they are to have them back once they reopen their doors. Something as simple as creating a character and giving it a backstory (aka missing people while the planetarium has been shut down due to COVID) can be an effective, unique and fun strategy for brand storytelling.

@adlerplanet Just waitin’ for our friends…#AdlerPlanetarium #ChicagoThingsToDo #Chicago #Museum ♬ оригинальный звук - кариша

One More Example—The Korean Vegan

While this example isn’t a travel brand, this creator’s video showcases how a powerful story can make you want to book a trip.

@thekoreanvegan My Dad & #Italy. #travel #foodtiktok #storytime ♬ Up Beat (Married Life) - Kenyi

Read more about how to launch a successful TikTok >>

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