Digital Thought Starter: Travel Brands Missing out on Pinteresting Possibilities

I check social networks quite frequently to catch brands launching marketing efforts on the sites. I have been particularly focused on Pinterest since it is the most buzzed about social network at the moment. However, time and time again, I am surprised at the one sector that hasn’t embraced Pinterest like they should: travel brands.

Travel is one of the most popular categories on Pinterest, with the site full of photographs of sunny beaches, romantic city ruins, historical buildings we all read about in textbooks, and inspirational mountaintops. It almost seems like a no-brainer that travel sites, hotels, and agencies would flock to Pinterest to capture users looking at photographs of far away places they have always dreamed about.

Travel on Pinterest Bryan Nagy

Yet, there are no businesses behind these photographs. Other sectors have quickly hopped on the inspirational bandwagon. Take apparel brands. Many pin their apparel to Pinterest, allowing users to click on a photo of a sweater, be taken to the designer’s website, and add the item to their shopping cart.

Think of the user who is looking at a photograph of Italy villages. Since there are no businesses behind the pin, when they click on the photo, they’re simply taken to a blog or a Tumblr site. Quite disappointing for a user who would love to actually make the trip out to Italy.

What if the user knew a trip to the location of this beautiful photograph was within their price range? What if they could simply click on the photo to browse airfare and hotels nearby? What if they could view photographs of hotels with deep discounts? Missed opportunity for the travel industry? I think so.

Pinterest is all about inspiration, desire, and -for many- fulfilling these desires. Studies show the huge amount of traffic driven to e-commerce sites because of Pinterest. Through it all, travel businesses are missing out.  A search of the major hotel chains and travel booking sites is quite disappointing. All have a small number of pins, lack social engagement, and (most importantly) lack the ability for users to fulfill their travel fantasies.
Hilton Hotels on Pinterest Bryan Nagy

What users need from the travel industry is content with action. They need to see a photograph of a sandy beach and know they could be there for only $500. They need to know that a summer trip to a rustic church in Europe is possible. The want to find deals and get that dream honeymoon for cheaper than their last spring break. Brands need to share pins linking to this content: linking to popular destinations, promoting weekly specials, and capturing needed occupants with last-minute deals.

So here is my challenge for those in the travel industry- make Pinterest a smart part of your marketing strategy. In turn, I think you’ll see a great deal of user engagement and an end increase in ROI.

-Bryan Nagy