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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pinterest – The Value Of Pinterest to Hotel Sales & Marketing

Is Pinterest just latest ‘shiny new toy’ or will it have staying power?
In February Pinterest drove more traffic to websites than Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn (LNKD), and YouTube combined. (, 3/26/12). Couple that statistic with the fact that 93% of its users are females, and you have a powerful tool for the leisure and social market. It only took 9 months for Pinterest to go from 50,000 users to 17 million – it took Facebook 16 months. (commsource)
Pinterest formerly told its users to not use the site for self promotion and pin stuff they found on other sites. This lead to a potential copyright infringement issue as many photos are copyright protected to their photographers. Pinterest changed its user agreement to encourage ‘pinners’ to post their own photos and other ‘stuff’ thus opening the flood gates for business use. (WSJ, 3/26/12)
In an article entitled Is Pinterest the New Facebook (Jessi Hemple, Fortune Magazine, 3/22/12) differentiated the two in the following manner. “People use Facebook and Twitter to talk to each other, not necessarily to discuss things they might want to buy. In contrast, Pinterest users are more often in a shopping mindset when they are using the service. If you’re keeping a pinboard called “Spring handbags I’m considering,” there’s a good chance you’ll click through and make a purchase.”
What you pin on Pinterest should support and enhance your brand. Pinterest is all about envisioning an experience and that dovetails nicely with the emphasis in hospitality on creating guest experiences rather just ‘selling’ them a room. It also is purely visual which eliminates the marketers’ adjectives in copy that the customer has long since stopped believing. Pinterest creates a sense of place and helps visitors to the site visualize experiences they may have at the hotel – they can put themselves in the pictures.
However, like all social media, a strategy for what the property wants to accomplish with the page needs to be in place prior to engaging and not just ‘pinning’ everything from the web site or Facebook. Pinterest to be used well should also focus on the destination as well as the property. “ When it comes to pinning, the breakdown will be approximately 70% about the city and 30% about the hotel, (Kelli) Crean (ecommerce manager for the Roosevelt Hotel) said.” (HotelNewsNow, 3/28/12)
Pinterest is perfect for all types of properties but it, like Facebook, levels the playing field between the boutique, lifestyle and independent hotels and the large chains.