The Points Guy UK YouTube channel is designed with the goal of entertaining, educating, and inspiring the current and next generation of travel-lovers. After a year of restrictions, lockdowns, and grounded airlines, we wanted to use 2021 as a chance to get back in the sky and remind our community that flying was still an accessible, enjoyable and safe way to get around during the pandemic.
We also wanted to provide an aspirational outlet for those who can’t travel right now by showcasing some of the best experiences the sky can offer. We were determined to produce at least 10 feature videos and surpass 300,000 subscribers on the channel.
The Points Guy has over 4 million followers across social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, but we are always looking for new ways to expand our community and reach new audiences. As travel opportunities started to open up again at the beginning of 2021, we knew this was the right time to invest in our TikTok strategy and take advantage of the fastest-growing platform in the world. The average TikTok user is younger than some of the more established platforms, so we wanted to use this channel to inspire the next generation of travel lovers and brand advocates that our coverage may have previously missed. We set ourselves the lofty goal of 250,000 followers by the end of the year.
The Points Guy UK YouTube channel is all about challenges, battles, and comparisons. Whether you’re flying in first-class or economy, or staying in a suite or tiny hotel room, we want to provide a comprehensive overview of the experience to suit every type of traveller.
Our community is extremely international. The majority of our audience is based in the U.S. and U.K, and so we often opted for experiences that would appeal to these demographics. This included comparing JetBlue’s new business class and economy seats that featured on a new route from New York to London, staying in two of Mexico’s most luxurious five-star hotels, and even showing passengers how to turn flying Ryanair into a first-class experience. Notwithstanding this focus, we have also grown large followings in India, Australia, and Turkey.
Ongoing restrictions meant we had to shift away from long-haul travel at times, and we pivoted to videos we could create a little closer to home. This included a comparison of a bed versus seat experience on the Caledonian Sleeper Train from Scotland to England and a comparison of London’s biggest and smallest hotel rooms. Our videos are hosted by a recurring cast of personalities, led by Head of The Points Guy UK, Nicky Kelvin. We have continued to produce videos in a vlog style in order to highlight authenticity and give our community a first-person perspective of our trips.
TikTok is a fast-paced platform and grabbing your audience’s attention is essential. You only have a millisecond to engage your followers before they’ve scrolled to the next video, so we leaned heavily on two topic areas that we felt were a natural fit for the platform: travel tips and captivating aviation content. The combination of educational and entertainment-first videos gave our viewers the incentive to share our content with their friends and keep coming back for more. We provided quick travel hacks in the form of 60-second videos such as ‘How to earn free flights from online shopping’, ‘How to use Google Flights to find the cheapest flight every single time’, and ‘Where to find the secret roof terrace at JFK’. These were combined with visually-led behind-the-scenes TikToks including a tour of Emirates’ brand-new premium economy cabin, JetBlue’s new A321neo Mint Suite, and a peek inside Turkish Airlines’ crew rest, usually off-limit to passengers We found that a cadence of three videos per week was the perfect amount to achieve steady growth while also focusing on quality over quantity.
We developed key industry relationships to gain access to areas that most cannot, in order to give our viewers the true insider scoop and the best advice. We always aim to be the consumer champion
We were delighted to hit our target of 300,000 subscribers in December 2021.We also hit 9 million views and 966k watched hours across 11 published videos. More importantly, we were able to reconnect with our community and help allay fears about travel in a pandemic. Our most popular video released in 2021 was a multi-cabin comparison on Qatar Airways, which garnered 278,000 views, alongside other videos reaching new heights including 3 separate videos racing past the 5 million view mark each.
The videos have gained such notoriety that each one is picked up in major national press such as the Daily Mail, ensuring millions more impressions. The videos have often reached the top portions of the Mail Online homepages, a site that boasts an impressive 92 million monthly readers.
The Points Guy hit 400,000 followers by the end of 2021, smashing our target by 150,000. We were delighted by the response to our videos, with many reaching over one million views. We became a key player in the travel space on TikTok, and this gave us the opportunity to collaborate with a number of brands and influencers including Virgin Atlantic, Turkish Airlines, and @officialfunfoods. Most importantly, we succeeded in our core goal of reaching and inspiring the next generation of travel lovers, with many of our followers migrating from TikTok to our website and other social media channels.