In 2012, Google identified five stages of travel starting with a dream, or inspiration. According to a 2014 Aha!logy media consumption study, 38% of all active Pinterest users have bought something because they saw it on the site. 64% of daily users try a new Pinterest-inspired activity once a month. This is an ideal place to find those active doers and early adopters that love to try and buy new things.
Now that Pinterest drives more traffic than Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn combined, it’s more important than ever for hoteliers who have the resources to cultivate a community of followers there. The key to success? Beautiful photography. With large, high-resolution photos and a little bit of planning and time spent browsing, your hotel can take advantage of the perfect time to inspire Pinterest users and gain exposure on their travel boards. Here are some tips on how hotels can use Pinterest to get you started.
Stick to the 80-20 Rule
With the rise of the Millennial generation, your customers are becoming more and more averse to advertising. A good best practice is to make 80% of your shared content non-promotional. Blasting your audience with marketing messages is a good way to chase them away. But, telling a story about your guest experience in a real, honest, and personable way is a great way to foster a genuine community.
This rule holds true for other social networks, but is particularly important for Pinterest. According to the Aha!logy study, 45% of active Pinterest users worry that ads won’t fit with the platform’s spirit of sharing authentic, organic content. Therefore, 80% of your posts should highlight the best of your geographical location, local events and attractions. If you post too much about your own property and amenities, you risk pushing away your prospective guests rather than attracting them to your brand.
Collaborate on group boards
Get together with your vendors, neighboring attractions, or local restaurants and create a group board. Since multiple people can collaborate around a specific interest or theme, you can create a place of inspiration for Pinterest users without coming off as too salesy.
Highlight Food and Weddings
The “Weddings” category on Pinterest is by far the most popular on the site. If your hotel is a wedding venue, this is a great avenue by which you can increase your weddings business. Use your best photos from weddings to capture the fancy of future brides in their early planning stages. Likewise, if your hotel has a relationship with local restaurants, hire a professional photographer to highlight some of the best local flavors.
Engage with your brand enthusiasts
An easy way to turn your brand enthusiasts into promoters is to engage with their pins. Search for your brand name and comment on or repin what you find. Your fans will be tickled that you thought highly of their content.
We do realize that not all hoteliers have the resources to spend time cultivating a following on all the major social networks. But, if you have even just an hour a week to spend on it, Pinterest is a great place to find highly engaged followers (who are often your best customers) and encourage them to be repeat customers.