Frederic Gonzalo’s Blog

Tourisme Montreal on Pinterest

Pinterest for tourism: the best thing since vanilla?

No doubt about it: Pinterest is officially THE social media darling of 2012. If you haven’t heard about it yet, it’s a site where folks can share pictures under specific themes, i.e. cooking recipes, home hardware, favorite hobbies, etc. A good read is this blog post from CopyBlogger: 56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest.

While Pinterest exists since 2010, it has skyrocketed into the limelight over the past three months with a growth similar to, ahem, Facebook back in 2005.  Not convinced? Here are some stats that should blow you away:

  • Pinterest reached the milestone of 10 million US unique visitors during the month of January, faster than any independent site in history!
  • There are presently 10.4 million registered users on Pinterest, seeing its daily users increase by 145% since the beginning of 2012;
  • Pinterest is generating more referral traffic to websites than Youtube, Google+ and LinkedIn… combined!
  • Users spend more time on Pinterest than Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+… combined!! (Details here)
  • 80% of pins are “re-pins”, confirming the viral nature and shareability of a site like Pinterest.
  • It is estimated that up to 95% of Pinterest users are female, according to TechCrunch.

We all know who does the decision-making in most households, so I will let you factor that one in…

Social Media Darling

Many experts predicted Quora would be THE social platform of 2011 yet it failed to materialize. It certainly was interesting (it still is, in fact) but who uses a Q&A site on a daily basis? You go when you have questions that need answers, but it lacks the stickiness that a site such as Pinterest can provide. Why? It’s all about shareability and interests.

Pinterest groups interests per boards, so if you are into rock music memorabilia, you can start following people who share that interest, pin pictures on your board, repin other people’s pictures, and so on. As for shareability well, you can share, pin, love or repin any picture or infographic from pretty much any platform: desktop, laptop, mobile, tablet.

And with the recent integration of the Pinterest application into Facebook’s new Open Graph, your Pinterest activity shows up in your Facebook Timeline for your friends and family to share. No wonder women have embraced this platform like none before: it’s a great place to convene to share recipes, fashion talk, wedding planning information, home decoration ideas and much, much more.

What is the travel industry doing on Pinterest?

Of course, now that the platform has gone mainstream and that we now know how much web traffic can be referred from it, marketers are all over Pinterest – some sarcastics say it’s the end of innocence for Pinterest, and I would have to agree to some degree… 😉 Because photos tend to evoke and have an aspirational component, Pinterest is great in the early stages of travel planning.

Thus, hotels, resorts, restaurants and most Destination Marketing Organizations would benefit from a minimal presence on Pinterest, to get the hype going and peek interest on the destination, referring to the official website or Facebook page. Presently though, there are few and far in between doing a good job.

Anne Hornyak recently found 34 destinations (CVBs) in the US and 3 international destinations, the clear leader being Visit Savannah, in Georgia (USA). Tourisme Montreal also recently joined in on the fun, with this interesting board. Personally, the best example I have found so far is not exactly from a travel office, yet it does an excellent job in that sense.

Events & DMOs

If you are familiar with South by SouthWest (SXSW), it’s a great annual showdown that take place every year in Austin, Texas, where thousands of delegates, speakers and artists convene for a multi-day conference about Music, Film & Interactive. As it can be overwhelming for a newbie attending for the first time, the organization came up with these great boards on Pinterest, revealing most often asked questions with original answers under every visual provided.

Once you click on any of the boards, say “The Parties” for example, the board showcases a variety of party options, venues and RSVP events that may or may not interest you. If this can be done for a 10-day event, why wouldn’t a DMO, hotel or resort not want to organize its content in a similar fashion, according to customer interests, things to see & do, nearby restaurants, etc.?

(Click on the picture to enlarge)

Now the biggest danger that lies ahead for travel marketers is to fall in to the “me-too” syndrom. Just because there’s a definite hype and everybody’s talking about it doesn’t mean it’s right for your business. First and foremost, get yourself an account, see how things unfold, start pinning, repin others’ valuable content, and think about if and how this may make some sense for your brand.

No, I don’t believe we are dealing with “another Quora”, as some pundits have alluded to. Pinterest holds definite potential to become a game-changer, in particular in the travel sphere where images tell a thousand words and where we aspire to evoke and share experiences. That said, I don’t believe it’s the next best thing after the invention of vanilla either. Or maybe it’s just because I’m not part of the key demographic (I’m a guy!), so I don’t quite get it… 😉

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