Some State Travel Offices Have Already Deleted TikTok: How They’re Marketing Now



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With TikTok out of the picture, behemoths like Facebook, Google and Instagram would be able to tighten their grip on travel marketing.

Travel marketers are going to redirect resources meant for TikTok toward Instagram, YouTube and other marketing channels if the U.S. bans TikTok. How do we know that? Several state tourism offices have already done so after deleting their TikTok accounts.

“We’ve increased our focus and investment in Instagram Reels,” said Ben Cook, director of marketing and communications for Visit Utah. In 2022, Utah’s governor banned state government agencies from using TikTok.

Since then, the possibility of a TikTok ban at the national level has increased. On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would ban TikTok. Its fate in the Senate is unclear, but President Joe Biden said he would sign the bill into law.

After their own state bans on TikTok in 2022, the tourism offices of South Dakota, Utah, Arkansas and South Carolina told Skift they would redirect resources meant for TikTok toward the platform’s competitors: Instagram Reels, YouTube Shorts, or both.

Fast forward to today, and state tourism boards have followed through. “We shifted the energy and time we spent on our content strategy and creation to other platforms to grow the reach and engagement of our target audiences,” said Katlyn Svendsen, senior director of global public relations and content services for Travel South Dakota.

Before its ban, South Dakota had grown its TikTok account to over 60,000 followers and planned to invest $70,000 toward advertising during the shoulder season. 

 “We have been successful with our strategic approach to reach similar audiences on platforms like Instagram [Reels], YouTube Shorts, etc.,” said Svendsen.

Cook said the Utah tourism office invested in Instagram Reels not only because of the TikTok ban, but because it has been growing in popularity and effectiveness. 

TikTok’s Travel Influence

The ban threat comes as TikTok emerges as a popular tool in travel discovery and marketing. Intrepid Travel, Booking.com, Disney Parks, Brand USA and other brands have invested in the platform.

TikTok has joined Instagram, Facebook, Google, Pinterest, YouTube, and Snapchat as the most popular channels for travel marketing. 

Its success with the short-form vertical video format has encouraged Instagram and YouTube to come up with their own versions: Instagram Reels and YouTube Shorts.

“Instagram Reels is going to be a big beneficiary. Other platforms have improved their short-form features,” said Amir Eylon, CEO and president of marketing consultancy and research firm Longwoods International. “It’ll be an easy transition.”





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