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4 Small Resorts Setting the Bar For Instagram and TikTok Marketing

Many signs point to an oncoming golden age for resorts as more travelers crave relaxation and simplicity in their vacations while also trying to save their hard earned cash as travel and other costs rise around the world.

Resorts, particularly smaller ones without large marketing machines like Sandals or Club Med, can thank social media channels like Instagram and TikTok for boosting their discoverability and popularity. The TikTok hashtag #resorts, for instance, has more than 1.3 billion views while #allinclusive has 759.3 million views and counting. Over on Instagram, each hashtag has more than one million posts.

Hospitality brands have jumped into content marketing for these channels to share Stories like behind-the-scenes looks at various parts of a property, interviews with chefs, or even how to pack for the different experiences you can have during your stay.

That’s just it: there are often so many fun experiences to be had at resorts that in many cases, the stereotypical image of sunbathing on a beach sipping Mai Tais isn’t fully representative of what a lot of resorts now offer. Channels like Instagram and TikTok help dispel resort vacation myths and present new and exciting narratives in real-time.

Unlike on Instagram, TikTok users don’t need to follow certain accounts to see their content which allows videos to often go viral and reach a wider audience than what other channels offer.

Why resorts are booming

All-inclusive resorts are often in some of the world’s most beautiful places that make content possibilities infinite.

And let’s be honest, after nearly three years of pandemic fatigue, travelers need a little more vacation bragging in their lives and are craving opportunities to show-off Insta-worthy destinations. Resorts are also keen to inspire them and show what experiences make the best TikTok video or why their restaurant has the most photogenic dish you’ve ever seen.

There are currently more than 1,500 all-inclusive resorts on Earth, with Mexico and the Caribbean being the largest markets and that’s not counting other resort types. Everyone from older travelers to Gen Z and multigenerational families are increasingly booking stays.

Two of the big reasons why all-inclusive and other resorts are experiencing a renaissance are their perceived safety and cost-effectiveness. Many resorts still require guests and staff to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and travelers may feel that their risk of getting sick is lower if they don’t leave the resort.

With cost, resort stays aren’t always more affordable than hotels or other forms of travel – plenty of resorts cost hundreds or thousands of dollars per night – but the ability to know the cost of everything upfront like meals and excursions are certainly enticing to many budget-conscious travelers sensitive to inflation’s impact on their trips.

Instagram and TikTok helps resorts tell new stories

There are so many ways to get creative on Instagram and TikTok to expand your audience’s awareness of what they can get from staying at your resort.

@ourfilipinograndma Who’s ready to win their dream vacation?! @Beaches Resorts #BeachesResorts #BeachesGrandEscapes #GenerationEveryone #BackToHappy # ♬ super rich kids – shaun

Take Beaches Resorts’ latest campaign, for example, which called on travelers to remember that they’re a great destination for multigenerational vacations and post a TikTok video that speaks to that. In 2021, the brand ran a sweepstakes letting family members post a TikTok video that featured their grandparent for a chance to win a TikTok tutorial with a top “granfluencer” and a five-night stay at any Beaches Resort.

Not only does this kind of campaign get travelers creating content for their brand on a fast-growing channel, it also positions the brand as a thought leader. By aligning themselves with top creators, travelers will view resorts as more authentic and also as resources for inspiration on how to create content that goes viral with the next big trend.

Since we always love highlighting the small but mighty brands at CrowdRiff, we want to point out four smaller resorts that are leading the way on Instagram and TikTok marketing to show that you don’t need to be big to make a big impact and leave a great impression on travelers.

Ladera Resort St. Lucia works with TikTok creators

With just 36 rooms and villas overlooking the Caribbean Sea, Ladera Resort has made a huge splash on TikTok and has mostly leaned on its guests to create viral videos.

@alexblodgett1 Add this hotel to your bucket list! #bucketlisttravel #luxuryhotel #hotelroom #bucketlist ♬ original sound – Alex Blodgett

TikToker Alex Blodgett’s (@alexblodett1) video of her room and private plunge pool at the resort has nearly four million views and 441,000 likes. Overall, TikTok videos of the resort have more than 211 million views, an impressive feat in itself. But we also love how the resort has clearly done outreach to its guests and TikTok creators to help them create videos that capture its serenity and open-air design.

Great Wolf Lodge strengthened its TikTok pack

@greatwolflodge Our entertainment managers are jumping in on this dance challenge #duet #dancechallenge #foryoupage #dancemoves #greatwolflodge ♬ original sound – Great Wolf Lodge

Tapping into the bonds many families tightened during the pandemic, Great Wolf Lodge launched its “Strengthen the Pack” campaign earlier this year to show how the brands’ resorts are places to create core family memories.

TikTok is one of the social channels where the campaign was rolled out. But more generally, Great Wolf Lodge was a resort pioneer in joining TikTok, with its first video posted in December 2020. It’s quick to capitalize on the hottest trends of the day, like dance challenges, and demonstrates how the kind of fun seen in the videos is an everyday occurrence at its resorts. Their videos are definitely some of the most authentic TikTok storytelling we’ve seen from resorts!

Yaamava’ Resort & Casino uses TikTok for recruitment and Instagram to promote dining and entertainment

@yaamava Bust a move if your employer is a Great Place to Work-Certified™ company! Visit sanmanuelcareers.com for available employment opportunities. #Yaamava ♬ Sunrise – Official Sound Studio

Call it a Vegas-style resort on a smaller scale, Southern California’s Yaamava’ Resort & Casino takes different strategies for its TikTok and Instagram marketing.

It’s not surprising that the resort uses different channels for different purposes, but what did catch our eye is how it’s using TikTok for recruitment and showcasing employee life at the resort. TikTok is known mostly as an entertainment platform with an informal and silly tone which makes Yaamava’s choice to use it for talent acquisition all the more interesting.

Yaamava’ Tiktok page doesn’t exclusively focus on recruiting employees but its posts that do feature that topic definitely stand out among the rest. Its recruitment focused TikToks are some of the resort’s most viewed videos and a recent Tiktok features celebrity chef Cat Cora telling viewers to apply for a career at the resort.

The resort’s Instagram feed, like it’s TikTok page, also includes plenty of gambling and slots content but is also tailored more towards its dining and entertainment offers. Since most guests want more out of a vacation than sitting at poker tables or in front of slot machines, this seems like a smart strategy to remind them that gambling is only one part of the resort’s offerings.

Forestis Dolomites’ TikTok and Instagram are quiet – and stunning

The first thing you notice about the Forentis Dolomites’ Instagram feed is the almost complete absence of people in any photos or videos. That’s notable for a platform born out of the ‘selfie generation’, but for the boutique and wellness hotel and resort’s purposes this approach works really well.

Guests stay at the property to escape the stresses of the world and enjoy wellness experiences that require peace, relaxation, and an intense connection to nature, so it only makes sense that the property’s social media reflects that and has a lot of nature shots.

Forestis Dolomites worked with several influencers like Victoria Magrath earlier this year to create social content for platforms including TikTok. The property needed to balance its tranquil branding with showing real people and their perspectives.

Resorts aren’t what your grandparents remember

There’s no denying that many resorts still offer the classic sun and sea experience that’s tried and true. But the future of resorts is all about how they can keep travelers engaged, sharing their experiences with the world and excited to come back to try something new.

While it’s always fun to have traditions and come back to the same place each year, many travelers also want to look forward to new elements of the experience. Resorts are reacting by offering something unique – think taking a new cooking class with an award-winning chef or learning how to surf with renowned instructors.

Resorts are poised for phenomenal growth and channels like Instagram and TikTok are telling the stories that prove why they’re relevant and trusted providers of unforgettable vacations.