Pinterest for tourism ~ seeing is believing

Pinterest for Tourism ~ Seeing is Believing

Tourism Currents recently held day-long social media training workshops in beautiful Kenosha, WI for Wisconsin Main Street and downtown development partners. This harborside scene inspired us! (photo by Leslie McLellan)

Pinterest – a way to build digital bulletin boards or collect/organize visual bookmarks – continues to be one of the hottest social photography platforms today.

It’s definitely a good fit for the tourism industry’s visual content trend, as its 291 million users worldwide love it for trip inspiration and for sharing their own travel “finds” through Pins and Boards. Pinterest Boards are used to collect things that people need, like, or want, so this can be a good opportunity to highlight what you offer, grow your tourism/hospitality brand, and build authority as you create Boards with helpful, shareable resources.

Related post – Pinterest marketing for tourism – Visit Muskegon MI case study 

Should you add Pinterest to your social media marketing, and if so, what do you need to do first?

Since there are other popular visually-based social sites like Instagram, let’s go back to basics first before you decide to start a brand Pinterest account . . .

Should You Be On Pinterest?

“Should we be on (fill in the blank) social media platform?”

We always answer this question the same way – “Is your market there? Does it support your overall strategy and goals? Do you have the resources to do it well?”

1)  Is your market there?

Pinterest demographics indicate that most users are women. They are fairly affluent and skew slightly older; “Millennial Moms” are a fast-growing segment.

Pinterest Demographics

2)  Does it fit your goals for your destination, attraction, or hotel?

Think about whether you’ll be able to connect with your ideal visitor on Pinterest.

Do you have visually-appealing things to share? For example, if you have a foodie or craft beer scene, you’ll be happy to know that one of the most-browsed Pinterest categories is Food & Drink. If you have great shopping, it’s good to know that Home Décor is another top most-browsed category.

(Pssst, if you’re looking for the guys on Pinterest, they’re looking at Food & Drink, DIY/Crafts, and Gardening like everyone else, but they’re also busy browsing categories like Cars & Motorcycles, Sports, and Men’s Fashion.)

Are SEO and website traffic important to you? As with other social platforms, keywords do matter. You can get long-term SEO benefits from Pinterest posts, as your Pins continue to drive traffic to your website long after you’ve uploaded them. Local SEO gets a boost through the location data now available for each Pin.

Pinterest is one of the top sources of referrals to blogs and websites in many niches, so if you’re not leveraging this social network, you might just be missing out!

3)  Do you have the resources to do it well?

We all get the same 24 hours. Only you can decide if you have the time to devote to building a solid presence on Pinterest, and a budget that might support Promoted Pins if spending that advertising money fits your goals. The good news is that you can start out re-purposing images that you’re already taking for Facebook or your blog, and graphic design sites like Canva can help create appealing visuals.

Ready to try Pinterest?

Here is our checklist to help with your Pinterest marketing and make sure you have the basics covered.

Pinterest Checklist


  1. Create your Pinterest profile including:
    • Name
    • A short bio with descriptive keywords for your destination, attraction, or hotel
    • A link to your website
    • Confirm/verify your website
  1. Create relevant Pinterest Boards to showcase:

*** Pins in your feed have a width of 235 pixels and the height scales accordingly.  If you click on a Pin to expand it, the image will have a width of 736 pixels. The height, again, scales accordingly.

*** Each Pin should include a keyword-rich description for SEO purposes. The title of your image (the name you give it when you upload it to your website/blog) becomes the description when someone “Pins” it. So, make sure your image has a great title to it!

  1. Identify appropriate hashtags for Pinterest which are:
    • Related to your niche
    • Widely used and searched for by your target audience
    • Keyword rich

*** Hashtags are only clickable in a Pin’s description. Hashtags in any other places – Pin title, board title and board descriptions – are not clickable.

  1. Establish goals for your Pinterest activities that supports your overall strategic plan, including:
    • Increasing traffic to your website
    • Growing your mailing list
    • Increasing sales (investigate dinner-and-theater or vacation packages as Buyable Pins)
  1. Develop a strategy for sharing content via Pinterest on a regular basis.
    • Research your audience – see what other brands or topics they follow.
    • Plan what types of content you will share – your best destination “money shots,” tourism partner photos, your hotel’s most memorable decoration or food photos, infographics, engaging images from blog posts, etc.
  1. Set aside time each day to consistently connect with potential prospects, build your following, and reach your Pinterest marketing goals. Post at least a few times per week.
  1. Integrate your Pinterest account with:
    • Your blog – each post should have Pin It sharing buttons.
    • Your website – include a Pinterest Follow button so people can find and follow your account, and there are also Pin, Board, and profile widgets.
    • Your email signature
    • Your email marketing – for example, highlight and link to some of your top Boards or Pins in your email newsletter.
    • Facebook – share what’s currently hot on your Pinterest account, add a Pinterest tab to the top of your Page (Pinterest Page App by Woobox is one option.)
    • Offline on business cards, printed material, and signage.
  1. Test and track engagement and follower growth using the tools available such as:
  1. Three more Pinterest tips:
    • Always credit photos & state the source. Adding the @ symbol in front of the name of the person you’re tagging will alert them that you’ve mentioned them. There have been image copyright issues on Pinterest; the safest option may be to only pin your own photos or those for which you have explicit permission. Here’s some more on legal aspects of sharing on Pinterest.
    • Share the love by sharing your partners/clients Pins or images.
    • Just like with other social sites, it’s to your advantage to comment and either start a conversation or be part of an ongoing one.

Don’t miss Pinterest’s own guide for business use of the site, and if you would like some examples of tourism organizations that are doing a good job on Pinterest, here are some examples we think will provide some “Pinspiration”:

Pure Michigan – Michigan Car Culture

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the UK, from Visit Britain

Local Etsy Crafters featured by Experience Columbus, Ohio

Four Seasons Hotel in Austin, Texas

Charlotte’s Got A Lot – Charlotte, North Carolina

Hidden Treasures from Wyoming Tourism

Visit Lake Charles, Louisiana

The checklist above will get you going using Pinterest for tourism; if you have items to add to the checklist or great examples, feel free to share in a comment below!

Update September 2017great SpinSucks post on Pinterest for business – pass the link to your tourism partners.

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