What the millions of people using Pinterest for travel inspo are looking for

What the millions of people using Pinterest for travel inspo are looking for

Finding travel inspo has been a huge success story for Pinterest. Of the 100 billion or so ‘pins’ – the visual bookmarks that are at the heart of Pinterest – more than four billion are travel-related, according to the company.

Recently the company analysed these travel pins and how they have changed over the past year to come up with its predictions for what is going to popular this coming year.

Solo adventures have seen the biggest rise in popularity on Pinterest – up an incredible 593% on last year. Either relationships have been breaking down at an unprecedented rate or people are just realising they just want to do their own thing.

Surf classes look set to be hugely popular this year – the company says that related pins are 260% more common this year than last.

There are more people (+207%) pinning about food photography workshops this year too. Pinterest has always been a great platform for food pictures and now people seem to want to know how to do it even better.

The locations used for the epic Game of Thrones have also been popular (up 194%). Tours that take in locations such as Croatia, Northern Ireland, Malta and Spain have been enormously popular since the novels made it to the small screen. Pinterest has picked up on that popularity.

Travel on specific modes of transport have also grown in popularity, particularly bike (+142%), boating and train travel (both up 136%).

Pinterest has always been seen as living in the shadow of mega platforms like Facebook. However, Pinterest is believed to have generated revenues of around US$490 million in 2017 and this is set to rise further this year.  While this is small change for the likes of Facebook, the platform has more than 200 million monthly users and users may actually prefer the fact that their information is being used to make such gargantuan amounts of money.

The platform has also been responsive to user requests, improving what it knows it does well. Earlier this year, Pinterest introduced a number of tools to make using the platform far easier. It now allows you to reorder boards and you can also introduce sections (for example, to separate a travel itinerary into different destinations). It is also now possible to archive boards to clean up your profile – after you have been on a trip, for example.

What is interesting for the travel industry about Pinterest is the intent of users. According to a 2016 survey by research firm Kleiner Perkins Caulfield Byers, 55% of users shop on the platform. This compares to just 12% for Facebook and Instagram and 9% for Twitter. Some 87% of Pinterest users have said they have bought something as a result of content they have seen on the platform.

This is why Pinterest founder Ben SIlbermann calls Pinterest “a catalogue of ideas” or a “visual discovery tool” rather than simply a social network.

Businesses have always loved the fact that when users pinned beautiful images from their company websites, it delivered free traffic. The lifting of the ban in 2016 on affiliate links also means that influencers are happy to pin away.

So if you are travel business looking to leverage social and Pinterest has been overlooked in the loud noise of Facebook and Instagram, now may be the time to reconsider.

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Mark Frary is co-founder of Travel Perspective, a social and digital consultancy working with travel companies and tourism organisations to create successful marketing campaigns He is an author and writer specialising in travel, social media and technology. He writes regularly for The Times and has written for many other publications including the Evening Standard, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Express, Food & Travel, ABTA magazine, the easyJet magazine and Teletext.  Mark also gives expert advice to leisure and business travel companies on their social media and communications strategies and is the co-founder of Social Travel Market, an annual conference on the use of social media in travel at World Travel Market. He is the author of seven books including The Origins of the Universe for Dummies and is currently working on a biography of the ski pioneer Erna Low. Mark lives in Ampthill in Bedfordshire, UK with his wife and three children. www.travelperspective.co.uk

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