TikTok Travel Agents

social media
category - travel
type - trends
sector - media & technology
sector - travel & hospitality
Digital collectives are tapping into algorithms to create a new iteration of hyper-relatable ‘travel agents’ for the influencer era.

Drivers: what’s happening

Social globalisation and pandemic-postponed life experiences have created a wanderlust generation. But while older consumers are Revisiting Travel Agents, the decline of companies such as student-focused UK company STA Travel has left a gap in serving the needs of diverse younger audiences.

With one in three TikTok users specifically using the app to seek creator content for travel inspiration, according to TikTok, the social media platform has become a hotbed of travel-related videos; #travel has been viewed more than 214bn times.

Looking for new ways to monetise their followings and replicate their viral travel experiences for their followers, entrepreneurial travel content-creators are filling the gap and hosting paradisiac trips tailored towards groups under-represented in the traditional travel industry.

These innovative new-era ‘travel agents’ blur the line between tour operator and travel influencer, sleeping, eating, hiking and partying side by side with their followers. Fuelled by algorithms, this growing wave of social-first travel collectives are fulfilling Gen Z’s desire for adventure, community and authenticity.


‘Gen Z seek the authenticity of real people’s travel experiences and opinions (40%) above travel experts (16%)’

Source: YouGov

Published by:

26 October 2023

Author: Alice Crossley & Gabriela Białkowska

Image: Adidas and Rimowa, Germany


Six Senses, Vana


Louise Truman, founder of Gen Z travel company Plotpackers, began making TikTok videos as a way to document her backpacking trip to Central America in 2021. Quickly gaining more than 150,000 followers and being inundated with questions about her itinerary and how to have the confidence to travel solo, Truman decided to begin hosting group trips to destinations such as Costa Rica and Iceland, in collaboration with other viral travel TikTokers. In September 2023, she launched Plotpackers.

The new-age travel agency was founded out of Truman’s frustrations negotiating with third-party companies that charge extortionate rates for travel packages but claim to have a limited budget to compensate creators. One of Plotpackers’ most highly anticipated trips to Mount Everest base camp in March 2024 recently sold out in under 20 seconds and throughout 2023, the company plans to take over 100 travellers on group trips to various locations.

The Black Travellers Collective

Founded in February 2023, The Black Travellers Collective (BTC) organises and hosts group trips for Black travellers with an onus on community and wellbeing. Two years earlier, founder Bethany Thompson embarked on a solo trip to Zanzibar following the loss of her mother and grandmother. Finding the experience to be extremely healing, she returned home to London with a mission to create a safe space for other Black travellers to ‘focus on their emotional, physical, intellectual and social wellness while connecting with the community’.

BTC used TikTok hashtags such as #grouptravel (104.6m views) and #blacktravelfeed (396m views) to source community members for the collective. Thompson’s debut trip to Zanzibar in February 2024 has already sold out.

‘We create trips where travellers feel free to be their true selves and research on safety is done for them. TikTok’s algorithm helps queer girls who are interested in travel find us’
Janine and Gen, co-founders, Queer Girls Trip

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