Post by Lacey Hagen
Just when hoteliers think they have this social media thing finally under control (meaning they have a Twitter account and Facebook page), along comes another site that, in my opinion, the hospitality community should embrace: Pinterest. Pinterest is essentially a virtual bulletin board where users can “pin” images and videos that they find interesting and share them with everyone. Users are allowed to create multiple boards with different categories, like the example below.
With an account, you can upload a link to a website or an image from your computer to create a pin. When a website is uploaded, Pinterest produces options of images from the site to be used as the main image to be displayed. Once something is “pinned” to a board, it has the potential to go viral and be seen, commented on, and “re-pinned” by the millions of Pinterest users. When an image or video is uploaded from the web, the source is displayed and, once clicked, will link back to the original site.
This is a “pin” of the Hotel Palomar on a “pinboard” that is labeled Philadelphia. If you click on the image it will link directly to the Hotel Palomar Philadelphia’s website. And don’t worry, every pin can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, and email instantly.
Some of the most popular topics on Pinterest are “Wedding and Events”, “Travel and Places”, and “Food and Drink”, meaning that users are constantly sharing their favorite images, ideas, recipes, advice from experience, or moments of wishful escapism that can be directly related to a hotel. The really good thing about this site that sets it apart from all other forms of social media or user opinion sites: the positive content will spread and the negative will not! That is the purpose of the site, to find and share things you enjoy, not to complain about things you dislike. The description of the site says “Pinterest lets you organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web. People use pinboards to plan their weddings, decorate their homes, and organize their favorite recipes.” As you can see, hoteliers, Pinterest is a site to be embraced, not feared!
Here are strategies that will enable hotels can use Pinterest to their advantage.
Promote your destination
Pin beautiful images of the local area, attractions, restaurants, parks, and sunsets to create a fantasy-like feeling about the destination.
Become a source information and inspiration
People use this site for advice and inspiration, so becoming a source of information is a great way to increase your accounts exposure. Pin a drink or appetizer recipe from the bar/restaurant, beauty advice from the spa, pictures of the lobby for design inspiration, and if your property caters to bridezillas, pin as many wedding images and information relating to your property as you can. Just remember that when your pins are meant to be informational, they have to be accompanied by an eye-catching image, because that is the only way to get viewership.
Give the front-line staff some control
Let your concierge, bellman, and front desk agent each take control of a pinboard and give them the opportunity to share some of their favorite attractions, restaurants, and bars as seen through the eyes of a local. This will give your property some personality and an opportunity to create a connection with guests and the community on a more personal level.
I hope this blog helped you understand what Pinterest is and how to use it, but if you still have questions, just ask someone who is planning a wedding or under the age of 2.