Pinterest for Travel Pros: Key Tactics that Convert! – Travel is one of the most popular categories on Pinterest. Pinterest is a great tool for travel research, whether you are a tourist looking for inspiration for your next holiday or a travel professional. In this article, I will provide some tips and tactics describing how travel industry professionals can leverage Pinterest for their business. Bon voyage! 😉
Recent figures published by Shareaholic show that Pinterest is in second place, behind Facebook, for social media traffic referrals. In June, almost 6% of all social referrals to sites across the web came from Pinterest. If you want to drive more traffic to your website, Pinterest should be an integral part of your social media marketing plan.
So how can key players in the travel and tourism industry increase conversion through Pinterest?
How do pinners use Pinterest for travel inspiration and planning? Four different mindsets can be observed when pinners explore their interests (see figure below). Naturally, businesses may be most tempted to focus on pinners in the right-hand column. You want to turn lookers into bookers. However, as I will explain, engaging with the “I am just looking” crowd early on in the trip-planning cycle can also be extremely worthwhile to ignite the spark of a future traveller. So what marketing tactics can travel and tourism businesses apply on Pinterest?
“I am just looking…” – The pinner is just looking to be inspired, without a defined need.
“… 49% of leisure travellers report researching online after viewing an online ad.” * How can you reach the pinner who does not even know what they are looking for?
How about encouraging your past clients to share their experience on Pinterest? Let them know about the group board on Pinterest where they can post images and comments about their trip: a great way to spark off a desire in future travellers! Post images on Pinterest with a link to your blog posts or to any other travel blog that recommends you.
“Maybe I could…” – The pinner might be exploring a new interest, his need is more defined but the timeframe is still sometime in the future.
“Some consumers visit up to 38 sites before booking travel.” ** This is where you need to look at optimising Pinterest SEO. Add clear pin descriptions that include keywords and a call-to-action. Make sure you also optimise your other social media channels for SEO. Do some cross-promotion. Tweet an image with a link to a board or pin on Pinterest, for example.
“I am narrowing it down…” – A pinner might not know exactly what they are looking for, but they will need to figure it out soon.
The traveller has put you on his shortlist! The traveller starts following one or more boards on your Pinterest account (make sure your Pinterest page has lots of boards with great images and useful information). If you are very lucky, they will repin some of your content onto a (public) shortlist board and you know that they are definitely interested.
To increase your chances of the customer choosing you over another on the shortlist, follow potential clients back on Pinterest. Engage with people on Pinterest, by striking up a conversations through Pinterest messages (you need to follow each other for private messaging to work) or by simply commenting on their pins. There is significant long term value to be obtained from engagement on social media channels such as Pinterest by contributors acting like humans, not sales people. This is particularly true for Pinterest, where the goal is not to just sell, but to show your products in an interesting and compelling manner.
“I know what I need!” – A Pinner here knows exactly what they are looking for and they need it right away.
This is the stage where your engagement efforts start paying off. Even if, finally, a potential client decides not to book with you, your on-line engagement may well lead them to recommend you to other travellers. If you are the lucky winner of a booking, it is now your turn to meet the expectations of your new customer. Then, at the end of his travel experience invite him to share his happy moments on Pinterest to inspire your next clients. 🙂
Last month, Pinterest rolled out a new version of Pinterest Analytics providing businesses with a lot more valuable information than the previous version. The Audience Tab is especially interesting to help you learn more about your followers. It shows you demographics, broken down by geographical location, language & gender. There is also a device filter so that you can see what type of device your followers use for Pinterest.
The Interests tab shows you the areas of interests of your audience, as well as a list of boards that contain many of your pins. Use this to reach out to your biggest promoters! Further down you will see a list of businesses that your followers follow. Take a look and see how they are using Pinterest. See who their followers are. You may even get some new marketing ideas. I will cover Pinterest Analytics in much more detail in a future blog post.
Pinterest is slowly rolling out paid Promoted Pins. These Pinterest ads share the same look and feel as organic pins, but have a “Promoted Pin” tag. They appear in user feeds, based on certain search criteria, similar to Google AdWords. Advertisers have the choice of buying ads based on CPM (cost-per-thousand impressions) or CPC (cost-per-click). Currently, only US businesses are eligible.
Following the testing of CPM-based advertising earlier this year, Pinterest also started rolling out “self-serve” CPC-based advertising last month. It is aimed at small to medium-sized businesses and lets them promote their best pins so they show up in search results. It includes a tracking system to see what is working and allows for changes throughout any campaign.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Four Seasons created a pin that promoted a $70,000 hotel package complete with a private jet trip to Bora Bora. The ad was repinned more than 9,000 times and the company received over 500 requests for a brochure. The Four Seasons example demonstrates how paid pins promise to be a very effective and lucrative way to market travel products and services on Pinterest.
Finally, a quick word on Guided Search. Pinterest Guided Search is another powerful function, particularly suited to the pursuit of travel interests. It lets users explore things they didn’t even know they were looking for. It guides people to areas of interest through a visual discovery process. It is a more “serendipitous” way of searching. If you want pinners to find your content this way, it is essential that pins contain rich, descriptive keywords that your target audience will stumble upon. To see Guided Search in action, check out the link at the bottom of this article.
This article is also available in: French