Pinterest is a social network where users curate virtual pinboards of images that inspire them. People use Pinterest as a digital scrapbook, to help them organize and plan their goals and dreams. It has essentially become a search engine where people go to find things that elevate them to better versions of themselves.

 

Pinterest users, aka ‘pinners,’ usually have multiple boards, featuring pinned pictures from all over the Internet. The subjects are limitless, but lifestyle topics like cooking, crafts and clothing dominate.

It’s no wonder that travel has also become a hot topic on Pinterest. Travelers create Pinterest boards to plan new trips, explore future destinations, and earmark places where they would like to stay. Each photo links back to its original source so the more users that pin and repin your images, the more visibility your vacation rental will enjoy.

How many “dream vacation” boards might your property appear on? And how much traffic could this activity direct to your website? Pinterest is a prime marketing opportunity for property managers looking for additional exposure for their short-term rentals.

As of September 2018, 250 million people use Pinterest every month. And according to a study commissioned by Pinterest to better understand their users, 50% of American women who use Pinterest use it to help plan their vacations.

When users pin your rental’s photos, this can drive high intent travelers to your direct channel, convert prospects without costly channel fees and turn a ‘pinner’ into a loyal, repeat guest. Pinterest is a great marketing tool, particularly if you have eye-catching photos, to earn direct bookings. But if you don’t see a jump in your website’s traffic immediately, don’t be discouraged. Users pin ideas even if they aren’t ready to commit, but revisit their boards later when planning their next vacation.

Not only can Pinterest lead to more direct bookings, but it can also create excitement around the overall guest experience. Your boards can persuade travelers to visit your location and give them inspiration for when they arrive. For instance, you could have one board for restaurants in your area, one for things to see and do, one featuring scenery in your city, and that’s just the beginning.

How can you take advantage of Pinterest?

Although people may already be pinning photos of your properties to their travel boards, you should think about making a more deliberate effort to be active on this popular platform.

Here are the steps to take and some things to consider when marketing your vacation rental on Pinterest:

1. Create an account.
Sign up is easy. Just go to Pinterest and create your account. Pinterest offers a business account option that allows you to study your page’s analytics; choose this option. At some point, be sure to familiarize yourself with the ‘Settings’ section of Pinterest. This is where you can customize your account, switch on your visibility to search engines and connect to your other social media accounts.

2. Consider ‘Pinterest Etiquette’
The best Pinterest-for-business users are participants rather than marketers. They follow other users and comment on pins. Their beautiful, well-organized boards tap into the lifestyle of their brand rather than just promote products. Check out Chobani yogurt’s creatively named board ‘Cho the Places We’ll Go.’

3. Get Creative but Keep It Topical
Keeping the above example in mind, think about what relates to your vacation rental. You’ll of course have one or more boards of beautiful pictures of your rental and the surroundings, but what else?

If your rental is a ski cabin, maybe create a board of Après-ski Warm Drinks. Source images from sites like Bon Appétit that have detailed recipes and professional photography. Make another board of Knitted Favorites featuring hand-knit scarves & hats. The possibilities are endless.

4. Add ‘Pin it’ and ‘Follow me on Pinterest’ buttons
To promote your boards and to make it easy for others to pin images from your website, download Pinterest buttons from the 'Goodies' page.

5. Build a Following
According to Pamela Vaughan at HubSpot, a good way to build a following is to engage with others’ pins. “Start following users you think would want to follow you back. Like and comment on their pins. When someone sees you interacting with his or her content, they might check out your account and choose to follow you.” You can also use hashtags in your captions to enhance searchability—same as on Twitter and Google+.

Pinterest is free, and the investment is worth it. Users on Pinterest are engaged by fresh content and new ideas so remember to stay active and organize your boards!