Are photos from your last fam trip languishing on your laptop?
Do you want a new way to visually display your credibility?
If you answered YES to either of these questions, Pinterest is a solution for you!
This new photo and idea sharing site is the platform where users Pin items of Interest to a board on their page. Think tack board with high-tech pins! Others then follow, repin, add, Like and comment. It’s a distinctive new way to spread the word visually about upcoming group departures, areas of specialty and your top selling destinations.
Last August I began hearing about Pinterest at an industry function and found that there was a groundswell surfacing for DMO’s and CVB’s. Now is the time for travel agents to focus on this creatively popular social tool!
Build Credibility Strategically
To best showcase your business you’ll want to strategically think thru these questions and write down the answers:
#1 What are my top selling destinations? List 3-5
#2 What group departures do I have planned?
o Focus on current offerings as well as potential future tours
#3: What activities do my clients enjoy?
o Are they foodies?
o Do they live for adventure travel?
o Are they museum buffs or beach buffs?
#4 What Specialty or Niche markets do I serve?
o Family travel
Once you’ve written down the answers to the above questions begin to planning your boards to capture attention of your current clients and potential new clients. Create boards that will appeal to clients who fit into the categories yyou’vedescribed above.
For example, cruise clients would love photos of ships that you frequently sell. Focus on activities and amenity shots that may not be available on the cruise line website. More importantly, they’d love to see you aboard these ships enjoying the activities, a photo of a child taking a belly flop into the pool or you chatting with the captain or crew members. Talk about credibility building along with fun!
Your Foodie clients would love to see a board of signature dishes from top new restaurants. How about including recipes? There is now the option to create ‘Recipe Pins’
If your next group is departing for Italy think about the power of showcasing the hotels, restaurants and activities you’re including in this tour. This will give your people a chance to see this trip come alive.
Here are some more tips:
#5 Feature a board for each specialty you promote; weddings, soft adventure, cruising
#6 If you focus on wine or culinary tours feature a board for each region; California Wine Country, Cooking in Thailand, Winemaking in Italy
- How about including recipes to accompany the food photos.
- Use ‘Place Pins’ to showcase destinations you’ll visit on an upcoming tour
#7 Health and Wellness specialty can be a board to itself focusing on top spas on land and sea
- Here you could also include fitness tips offered by spas you feature
#8 ‘Pin’ your last fam trip and increase your credibility
#9 How about creating a travel trivia board listing little known or quirky museums, shops or entertainment.
Early Adopters = Market Leadership
Here are some Visitors Bureaus and DMO’s that are early adopters of this new engagement tool. When you’re looking at their sites notice the names they’ve created for their boards. I love the HA! Board on the Wyoming page. As a colleague says “Quirk Works!”
- Experience Columbus (expcols)
- Explore St. Louis (explorestlouis1)
- Glacier County Tourism (glaciermt)
- Hawaii (GoHawaii)
- Indiana Tourism (visitindiana)
- Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri (funlakemo)
- New Mexico Tourism (nmtourism)
- North Dakota Tourism (ndtourism)
- See Monterey (seemonterey)
Travel Agent Examples
Sherry Laskin has done a fabulous job, in my opinion, of highlighting her top destinations while adding some fun with the board on European dogs and silly license plates. Her branding and personality shine thru in her profile statement as well as in the naming of her boards.
Lisa Sheldon is another prime example of how a travel pro can brand and boost credibility using Pinterest. I believe her profile description does a great job of branding.
Deb Watt is beginning to grow her boards. I especially like her board “Been There” as it speaks to her credibility as a travel pro.
Pinterest adds to your SEO by giving you another searchable channel of communication along with boosting credibility.
The cool thing is that Pinners can email an image URL from a Pin or share the content as a Facebook Like and post on Twitter. All this means that your message will spread more quickly and increase your virality and reach.
Best Practices for Travel Agents
#10 Re-Pin and like other people’s photos and use a variety of sources for your own boards
#11 Tap into the resources of your suppliers, DMO’s and Tour Operators
#12 Optimize! Add a keyword rich caption to each photo along with your website or Twitter username
#13 Add other content to the description boxes as you Pin. Include # when relevant.
Tip: Once the new pin is added, go back and edit it to include a link to your website or another site where the original content can be found. Here’s how.
This extra step directs readers to another channel of yours. Make sure to Save Changes.
Your new pin now features a key word rich description with # as well as a link to your website or another social channel.
* Ask your social and web fans to pin your blog, photos and other unique content to their Pinterest boards
* Get involved with your followers thru messaging from your Pinterest account
* Avoid blatant self-promotion
* Seek out and ‘follow’ those that are pinning and re-pinning your content or related content
Pinterest provides you, the travel pro, with another channel to reach out and captivate your clients. Take advantage of this only if you want to build your client base. Don’t take advantage of this if you think your business is exceptionally strong and you have more clients and money that you could ever want!
How are you using Pinterest to grow your business?