Pinperfection for Travel – How to increase Visits & Sales

Written by: Luise Wagner (DE) & Marije Nieuwenhuis (NL)
Luise and Marije are Web Writers, Community Managers and Internet Marketeers for

So,you are tired of adding those bookmarks to your daily on-line marketing campaigns and don't want to add more? But this one is really worth a closer look especially for small and medium businesses in the travel industry. It is a free, easy and highly effective tool to get seen and look good on the web.

 Pinterest for travel

Part I: PinWHAT?

The fastest growing global on-line medium Pinterest is that cheerful, good looking message board where users can post/pin images and links they find interesting for sharing. It is a kind of customized picture collection or album of the most exciting shots that you can find on the net. You can download or upload (pin them)great pictures and content and refer to their websites. Still, you can brush up your own business website on Pinterest with many professional pictures and make it more inspiring for your visitors.Perfect for a travel related website where users can explore exciting locations.

Impressive trend

Apart from the easy handling for its users, it is the impressing performance of Pinterest that makes this social channel so handy as a marketing instrument. Within three years the bulletin board has grown to over 48.7 million users globally (comScore) and became a favourite among the social media tools that are out there. Next to Facebook, YouTube,Linkedin and Twitter, Pinterest is another great player in that amazing social media race. With the growing usage of mobile devices(28% of Pinterest users are Android users and 17% iPhone users) this bolide will even run faster. Any marketing manager of a travel related business who steers the marketing-machine should add some Pinterest fuel to the mix of platforms that are already in use to boost the engine.

The use of Pinterest per country is depicted below:


 Pinterest Global Data Usage 

A general conclusion here is that its use in the USA clearly outranks the use in Europe,where its adaptation is lagging. To be more precise: the use of Pinterest in e.g. the Netherlands accounts for ca. 530,000 users, a mere 7,8% compared to Facebook users. Together with Instagram and Foursquare these social medias are not widely known to the general public. However, Pinterest is targeting markets outside the USA based on its homeland success and converting its platform to a more European language-centred tool, thus accelerating its adaptation. We will hear more from these new channels in the very near future.


Those who signed in first and implemented their pins on their business website right in the launch year 2009 have experienced higher referral traffic, more quality leads and more of a spike in sharing than through Facebook and Twitter. This eventually lead to an increase in sales. The reason, as Pinterest expert Melanie Duncan explains in her on-line webinar "How to Use Pinterest for Your Business", is the "extremely high virility: 80 % are repins". Viral pins result into shares and ongoing traffic and movement in a market that punishes anything that stands too still for too long. After all, it is all about how to reach or maintain a high page rank with Google.Pinterest helps you to defend your position or overtake those with a slow mojo.

Moving images over immobile words

More and more users feel the urge to share pictures they discover on this virtual pinboard. In March Pinterest counted 2.3 billion page views and over 4 million daily unique visitors.This is because apps in mobile gadgets are giving users more and more options to buy, share or sell products. Instead of reading tiny text lines on a small screen people love to enjoy looking at great pictures they can actually show around and share in real life. Mobile search is going to play a bigger role in the future too.

From Pin to Travel

So: how can all this be used for your travel business? Travelling means experiencing great visual impressions as well as stories or adventures. Many travellers

 want to share these experiences. As a picture tells more than thousand words, memories of vacation trips are best told by looking at pictures from those exotic places we have visited or where we wish to travel to. No wonder the travel industry has achieved success by using Pinterest on a professional basis. If your travel business is a consumer-focused Internet company, you should definitely start to pin.

There is also another interesting fact to consider. When Pinterest started off in 2009 its main users were women with a share of 80%. Still it is more used by girls and women than boys and men but the guys seem to be catching up.

Pinterest by gender
Source:Pinterest Frankwatching, NL

The female touch

Travel sites that offer properties for rent to female customers are addressing the most influential group, as women play an essential role in holiday planning. According to the Spanish holiday home rental company women are the deciding factor when to book a vacation holiday. German women are responsible for 62 % of actual bookings in Spain. (FEWO-Direkt) In the USA the number is even higher or just better studied/ investigated. Travel expert on women’s travel Mary Beth Bond noted on her website that"80% of travel decisions are made by women, regardless of who’s traveling, where they’re going, and who’s paying."That goes quite well together, doesn't it? Pinterest as the most powerful social media platform and women planning on travels.

Why Pinterest works well for holiday home owners

For business owners who wish to promote holidayhomes Pinterest can be used to display the best places to see and experience in your region as well as the property itself. Take some great shots and pin them on your business website which could consist of a diverse set of pin walls each with a specific topic. This attracts more followers than a single board with just one topic. Theset up and maintenance is easy and does not take much time.

Setting up shop: Be copyright and spam aware

At present Pinterest is considering changing the terms of use concerning images,pictures and other content that is not owned by the pinner. So: here a few rules to consider:

  1. Upload your own content only, just to be on the safe side. If you pin something you found on the web be sure you have the permission to pin it. The Terms of Service of Pinterest require that you either hold a copyright to each image, or the copyright holder gave you permission to do so. If you want to be sure not to infringe the law, it is recommended that you exercise caution. Ask for the rights to the images or videos that do not belong to you. If you pin it, you will be legally responsible for it.
  2. Don’t use Pinterest for self-promotion solely. If you stick to the safe side and only pin own content it is rather difficult to not appear as a self-promoter, right? However, there are many other actions you can take to be social. Do not just pin from your own pages but press that “Liking” button. You can also comment and repin other people's stuff.
  3. Repin and be stress-free about copyright, because if someone else pinned it first, you are not the one who is legally responsible and thus have not to be concerned about copyright issues. Re-pinning also builds a network of followers and you can engage with others.
  4. Report dubious content. Pinterest does not want and allow hateful or obscene content. If you find nasty stuff on a Pinterest site, help to keep the platform clean and report it.

Part II: a practical guide to efficient pinning

Rules to Pinperfection

Below is a practical to do list for efficient corporate pinning. At the beginning you will need more time, but after setting up and creating a routine, your daily pinning should not take longer than 5-10 minutes.
To make Pinterest work on a corporate level and drive more interest=traffic to your web and on-line sources, here are some tricks of this pin trade in travel:

  1. Install a Pin button into your browser bar – it saves a lot of time as you can directly pin off any site and choose whichever picture you would like to pin (as apposed to built-in Pin buttons in pictures).
  2. Make your travel-related pinboard look like an actual person not a company. People tend to connect with a human more easily. Around the planet travel companies using Pinterest have increased their social reach and sales. Travel agents or sellers can create product boards and offer what their company does best. This could include products, services and destinations. The possibilities are endless: travel tips, services, accommodation or events can be promoted.
  3. Optimize image, profile biography, board covers and video display. The maximum bio length is 200 words for instance. And if you upload photos, make sure the ratio height to length is 1:3 to avoid distortion of your image. 
  4. Make themed boards based on travelers' interest – First off: check keyword combinations to find out what travelers search for: group travel to...., biking in....., shopping in....., adventure sport in...., destination wedding in....... Read travel trend reports and include relevant ones in your board themes. 
  5. Include a 'behind the scenes' themed board for your company – could be pictures of the team members, office pictures while you are in a meeting, etc. It creates a little bit of corporate branding. People love buying from their friends or at least from somebody with a friendly face. Open up your doors!
  6. Think how to include themed photo contests boards – 'the best beaches in'.....'the weirdest food in'. It's all about engaging the potential user of your service. Be creative and offer an actual prize.
  7. Pin only amazing pictures that you and your friends yourselves enjoy. The rule applies: be genuine. It shows.
  8. Include a description of what is in the picture – max length 500 characters with your keywords. Make it user-relevant and enticing. This part of pinning is very important. It keeps the attention of the user and, if done properly, generates a higher click through rate.
  9. Add hash tags to every pin - Three or four keywords and double check them against trending travel topics in your domestic market before adding them as hash tags. If the theme is too specific, at least add the name of the destination, the country and / or the spot.
  10. Interlace Pinterest with your other on-line channels – add a link to your Facebook page, blog article, web page, anything related to the picture theme, basically. Be VERY sure to include a link to YOUR channels in the field 'Source', otherwise Pinterest will not generate any traffic to your channels. Also: make sure that on the other channels you let people know you have a Pinterest board.
  11. Attach price tags - Pinterest allows you to do so on pictures so people know right away what to expect. This could be used to sell holidays, market properties or rentals (using a from price). So far adding a price only works with the $ symbol, but this is expected to change in the near future.
  12. Create discounts and Last Minute offers with Pinterest – an excellent way to drive traffic via Pinterest to your website. Easily combined with a competition that will A) give you more image input by means of your own user who contribute to the growth of your Pinterest and B) drive and grow traffic and traffic value. Remember: the longer people spend on your channels the more Google likes it. And the average time spent daily on Pinterest in the USA is 1 hour and 17 minutes (!).*
  13. Measure for merit – You need to make sure your effort is paying off and with a rapidly growing Social Media tool like Pinterest you will notice the positive effects (or lack thereof) within weeks. Check your Google analytics for referral traffic off Pinterest into your other channels (hence the importance of interlacing your pins) or specific web pages you linked to. Another tool, albeit somewhat biased perhaps, is Pinpuff. 

*Source: use Pinterest compared to other Social Media in the USA.

Happy pinning!

Sources and links:

  2. Jason Miles, marketing on Pinterest:
  8. Webinar by Melanie Duncan:
  10. 'Gebruik Social Media in Nederland' (use Social Media in the Netherlands):