As we've discussed in previous posts, Pinterest's successful strategies for the tourism marketing industry capitalize on the "a picture is worth a thousand words" consumer mentality. Its ability to drive traffic and sales stems from its ability to provide content that users want to consume and even share with others. In fact, the value of a single pin is worth more than a tweet, and has 100 times the chance of going viral! The value of Pinterest to generating interest and sales is too large to ignore, particularly since Pinterest has announced plans to launch promoted pins, opening up new opportunities to attract customers.
Pinterest is an aspirational medium.
Pinterest's visual and aspirational nature lend itself to use by the travel industry. Destinations already have the stunning visual content that performs well on Pinterest. Consumers are searching for and sharing these beautiful pins that reflect where they would like to be, rather than where they are in the present moment. Other visual sharing sites like Flickr and Instagram showcase the past and the present (and Instagram is even coming out with a competing sponsored advertising program), but Pinterest allows users to share the places and activities that they would like to do in the future.
Because of its aspirational nature, Pinterest offers marketers the unique opportunity to influence travelers before they choose a destination. Travelers use Pinterest both for inspiration and for planning trips, giving DMOs the chance to show them where they should go and why. Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter that are feed-oriented and reflective of the present can't offer the same influence as Pinterest. Destinations can put themselves on consumers' radars, move from awareness to bucket list status, and move from bucket list to actual travel plans all on one website! Even more exciting, marketers can see when consumers have added destinations to their consideration sets (when they pin or re-pin your content!). This powerful signal of intent to travel is difficult to uncover through any other social network.
Pinterest includes desirable, visual, shareable content.
Pinterest’s addictive nature is largely due to the vast amount of incredible content that exists on the site that users actually want to consume and share with their networks. Consumers are actively searching for travel images and inspiration, which marketers can happily provide.
An important feature of Pinterest is the ability to re-pin content. Users can and often do save your content to their own boards to either share with others or keep as reminders for themselves. Over 80% of pins are re-pins. Because users will always be able to see the original source, traffic can still be driven to your own boards or to your website. Destinations should pin pictures from their website and blog so that each pin will carry a link to drive traffic back to the original site.
Pinterest has a broader audience than Twitter or Facebook, but the audience does skew towards 25 to 39 year-old women. The visual nature of the site transcends language barriers and has wide appeal to a broad base of consumers predisposed towards traveling.
Features of Pinterest for the Travel Industry
The map feature allows users to change the format of boards to include a map on the right side of the screen. Although the map dominates the board, reducing the space available for pins to 2 of the usual 6 columns, maps can successfully and immediately convey a sense of place and allow followers to zoom in and easily click through to pins in their desired locations. Pinterest partners with FourSquare to provide location information for pins, so it's important to be sure your favorite locations are listed! If they haven't been added to FourSquare's database, add them using this simple form.
Using the map feature, destinations can share itineraries, categorized into boards by length, trip category, season, or tour package. Similarly, maps can be ideal showcases for restaurant guides, historic before and after pictures, and photo contests for destinations an organization has pinned.
Pinterest users who are following each other can add each other as collaborators on their boards. This feature has a variety of applications, from restaurants and tour operators partnering up to collaborate on destination boards to showcase a location's diverse offerings to DMOs reaching out to directly interact with consumers.
A great example of using collaborative boards for travel and hospitality marketing comes from the Four Seasons Hotels' Pin-Pack-Go campaign. The hotel chain invited its followers to create a Pin.Pack.Go board on Pinterest and comment on which hotel location they planned to visit. The hotel would then follow the user on Pinterest, and when the user followed back and invited the hotel to collaborate on the board, local experts from the hotel would pin recommendations and insider advice.
New! Promoted Pins
With the upcoming launch of promoted pins, Pinterest hopes to create a a valuable way for marketers to connect with consumers. Promoted pins will blend seamlessly into Pinterest streams and be indicated only with a small icon in the bottom right corner of the pin.
Pinterest now allows marketers to reach users through a paid boost, much like other social networks. In such a visually-rich and aspirational industry, these new tools will be extremely valuable to travel and tourism marketing strategy. The hospitality and travel industries are already some of the most active on social networks, and adding promotional tools to a visually stimulating platform like Pinterest will only increase this trend. In fact, Tnooz reported that 20% of web referrals on e-commerce sites come from Pinterest, and 26% come from Pinterest's mobile site!
If that's not a reason to start pinning, we don't know what is.