‘Pin-up’ girls a potent force

A picture is worth a thousand words. And no one knows that better than all of us in the travel industry. After all how, many times have we been tempted to visit a destination, or taste a dish simply by seeing a stunning picture!

While social media has been making new inroads, there has been a gap in the market for image-based social media network. This is where Pinterest comes in. Launched in 2010 the website gained its popularity in 2011 after being declared one of the 50 best websites of the year by Time magazine.

So what is Pinterest?

Pinterest is your own virtual pinboard that lets you organise and share images of your various interests over the net. It lets you browse through thousands and thousands of images posted by different people from all over the world. These pinboards are grouped in categories and lets you Pin an image to a specific board.

The site’s mission is to “connect everyone in the world through the things they find interesting.” These images can be your inspiration to decorate your home, find your style, speak about the destinations you have travelled to or wish to travel to or even simply try a new recipe.

It was reported that by January 2012, the site received 11.5 million unique visitors and now sees an average of 1.36 million visitors a day. And this is your market, hoteliers!  Pinterest is still by invitation-only though one can request an invite and be given access pretty quickly. Then create a number of pinboards that cover accommodation, nearby attractions, restaurants, wedding facilities and let the images define your hotel and the brand’s USP. Whatever your niche, Pinterest becomes and ideal pinboard to represent it.  Also, Pinterest users are estimated to be 80 per cent female, so hotels looking to target women travellers should definitely look into this.

There are a number of ways to interact with your viewers. Firstly to allow for easy pinning, you can add a browser bookmark that lets you quickly pin the photos and videos you want without leaving the site. This also allows every image that is pinned from your website to be linked back to your page, drawing direct traffic. Drawing inspiration form Facebook and Twitter you can “like” a pin or repin pictures posted by viewers. You can mention a user in your comment, starting communication with them as well. Images are usually categorised and thus allows you to follow relevant businesses via with the “Search” function.

Pinterest also allows you to integrate your pictures on Facebook and Twitter.

As an image-based website, it is crucial to keep your images creative and fresh pertinent to interests. A big no-no would be to use it for promotions or old photography that could send out a wrong message.

Speaking Out

By Shalu Chandran