From Cities to Resorts, Travel Marketers Flock to Pinterest

Pinterest has become the trendiest new destination for the travel industry. From city tourism bureaus to hotel companies and travel publishers, the photo collection and sharing site is yet another social spot online for tourism marketers to spread their messages – in this case, visual ones.

“I knew it would have some legs especially from the tourism industry side of things,” said Karen Fashana, marketing manager for Visit Buffalo Niagara, who just started using Pinterest a couple weeks ago. “It’s a very visual platform and travel lends itself well to that.”

pinterest-buffalo-darwinmartinIndividual users of the platform pin photos of places they’d like to visit to their “bucket lists,” and organizations like Visit Buffalo Niagara want to insert their brands into those virtual peg boards. Marketers also hope Pinterest can generate Facebook engagement, and vice versa.

The Western New York area travel promoter features photos of iconic local places like Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House and Shea’s Performing Arts Center, along with images associated with classic Buffalo grub like wings, beef on weck, and Aunt Rosie’s Loganberry drink.

Women are typically the ones who book travel, said Fashana, so with its female-heavy user base, Pinterest is a good place for travel marketers. She said she’s not sure how she’ll measure Pinterest performance just yet, but one goal is simply to engage people on the platform. “I’m thinking of getting people to post a photo on Pinterest and tag us.”

Yesterday was the first time Buffalo Niagara cross-promoted Pinterest on Facebook, asking its likers to follow on Pinterest to win prizes. “Pin it to win it,” was the clever call to action. “Pinterest is my obsession!! love it :)” commented a Facebook liker.

Buffalo Niagara spends around 40 to 50 percent of its ad budget online, with the remainder going towards print, said Fashana.

pinterest-homeawayOf course, marketers of warmer destinations are on Pinterest in droves, too. “Happy Travel Tuesday! Cancun welcomes every traveler with arms open… :)” wrote The Royal Sands, Cancun on a photo of the Mexican resort posted to Pinterest today. The image links to more information, photos, and a reservations form on

Other travel marketers on Pinterest include Explore St. Louis, the New Mexico Tourism Department, and Holiday Inn. Travel guide publisher Fodor’s is driving traffic to its Travel Blog through photos such as one labeled “Top 10 Places to Travel this Spring: Saint Lucia.” The image links to a February blog post listing all 10 suggested destinations.

HomeAway is already using a sophisticated approach to image placement on its homepage on Pinterest. Using the nine puzzle pieces that comprise a Board featured on its main page, HomeAway created some that read as a single image.

Related reading