The website Pinterest has taken off over the last few years as the go-to resource for wedding planning, recipe ideas, and decorating tips, to name a few. But did you know it’s also a great tool for the travel industry? Pinterest is a digital bulletin board where users can pin images of anything they like. Since travel is an image-driven industry, it’s no surprise that an image-driven website fits nicely into any tourism marketing strategy. Here are 3 key reasons why Pinterest is an interesting and useful social media tool for destinations:

  1. It’s where demand is being created.

As destination marketers, we are constantly trying to capture what Google calls the “Zero Moment of Truth,” the moment when a traveler chooses your destination from all the others in their competitive set. In our sales funnel – it’s the exact point when they move from dreaming to planning. To do this, we need to understand where demand is being created.

Pinterest is one of those places. Pinterest is highly aspirational as travelers are usually NOT posting images of their past travels, but INSTEAD posting images of where they dream about someday visiting. This is why, as a destination, Pinterest is a good place for you to find and create people passionate about one of your niche offerings.

As Joe Vargas from Experience Columbus has said: “Pinterest is a good blend of the visual emphasis of YouTube and Flickr combined with the social aspects of Facebook and Twitter.”

Pinterest is loaded with examples of boards that represent traveler’s aspirations, mainly their dream destinations and experiences. See for yourself – just type in “travel” in the Pinterest search bar and take note of how many board titles contain things like “Places I would like to go”, “Bucket List”, or “Ten places to see before I die.”

  1. It’s great for referral traffic.               

According to Daze Info, Pinterest is now the third most popular social network in the U.S. in terms of traffic.  Pinterest is among the top traffic drivers in the social networks. Using the right calls to actions in your pins is a surefire method of driving large volumes of potential travelers back to your website.

  1. The demographics are right.

The majority of Pinterest users are females age 25‐44 with children. As we know, women tend to make the travel decisions, so it’s a good group to be attracting. Plus, as the good folks at Travel2dot0 point out, you can learn even more about your target market: “Pinterest allows you to determine what common interests your destination visitors share. If someone has pinned a photo of your destination, it only takes a few more clicks to learn what else they are interested in. Think of it as a mood board for your brand.” And with the new Pinterest Analytics – you can track away!

Sold? Here are some basic tips:

  1. Pin stuff people care about. What content has the highest virality rating on your Facebook page? What content gets the most views on your blog? Those are clear indications of what people like – so pin more of that. For help selecting your most valuable content check out our Ebook on Content Creation.
  2. Create boards based on narrow topics like cuisine, cute animals, architecture, Michelin Restaurants, or best escapes. Check out the following examples from the Namibia Tourism Board’s pinterest boards.
  3. Have a popular event in your destination? Take a cue from Visit Savannah. They used Pinterest to promote their famous St. Patty’s day event.
  4. Know when to retire a board. You don’t have to create boards that last forever -they can have short life spans. I liked this idea of an advent calendar, but it could probably come down now.
  5. Build your following via other platforms by adding your pin button everywhere on your website and in your communications efforts. You can also promote your account via channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
  6. Increase your interaction with travel industry influencers. Add influential pinners and interact with their pins by leaving comments and re-pinning. I would suggest travel bloggers, photographers, and travel guides, but also pinners who just REALLY LOVE TO TRAVEL and have massive followings!
  7. Interact and engage your online community with a contest! Contests are proving to be one of the fastest ways to build your following. The contest can be very simple like inviting pinners to create and submit their own destination boards. The pinner with the best images will be awarded a free trip, discount, or other prize.

This article has been reposted with permission from

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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