You can find photos of places from all around the world on Pinterest that are often pinned to boards titled something like “Places to Visit”. So wouldn’t you think Pinterest is the perfect place for travel companies? Well, it is and Viator knows it!
Viator not only pins great photos of places around the world, but they have several dedicated boards for what to do in popular cities like Barcelona, New York City, and Sydney. Viator strives to offer users the resources for planning a trip through their efforts on Pinterest, and often look to their followers for inspiration and travel trends. Viator recently ran a “Win Your Dream Travel Job” contest that they promoted through Pinterest, as well as other social media sites. We got the chance to talk to Laura Knight, Viator’s Social Media Coordinator, and she shared some great insight about how Viator uses Pinterest.
Viator has an impressive group of followers on nearly every social network. Can you tell us a little bit about your overall social media strategy and how you keep your social media fresh, exciting, and engaging?
Laura Knight: Thank you! We’ve grown our followers by posting high quality content frequently and making sure to engage with our fans. We also run contests and promotions often, which is a great way to keep our followers active and build our community.
Has your experience with Pinterest, or any social media for that matter, changed the way that you look at your business or how you do your marketing?
LK: Pinterest has been interesting since we are able to see who is pinning photos from our Viator.com product pages and from our blogs. This gives us insight into how people are using social media to plan trips and get inspired for future travels. We’ve always valued our great customer-submitted photos, and now high quality images are also becoming increasingly necessary, with Pinterest and the new image-friendly Facebook Timeline.
What drove you to Pinterest?
LK: Cute puppies! Just kidding… A few of us had been using it a bit already, and then it suddenly blew up and we saw more and more companies doing interesting things with it. Travel has also been an extremely popular category on Pinterest, so it was easy for us to get started.
We see Pinterest as a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their culture and lifestyle. Can you share with us how Viator uses Pinterest to do this?
LK: Because we sell activities and experiences, I’ve tried to make our Pinterest reflect that. Instead of only pinning beautiful photos, most of the boards focus on things to do in a certain location, just like our destination-specific blog network. Some examples: “see street art” in San Francisco, “learn about Japanese food” in Tokyo, and “take jumping pics” in Rome.
Since Pinterest is the new kid on the block, is there anything you’ve done or anyone you’ve looked to for help getting started?
LK: We recently ran our first Pinterest contest, so I turned to Google and Mashable for tips on how to create a successful contest, and looked at examples of other “Pin to Win” giveaways.
Pinterest is a place full of great inspiration. Does Viator use Pinterest for inspiration for any business ventures? Do you look to your followers for inspiration?
LK: Yes, of course. It’s a great way to find out about travel trends, popular destinations and attractions, and what kinds of activities our followers and customers are looking at right now.
We loved your Dream Travel Job Pinterest Contest; can you tell us your strategy and thought process behind this contest?
LK: We wanted to increase exposure of our Win Your Dream Travel Job contest, grow our Pinterest following, and just test it and see what kind of response it would get. I found that devising the actual contest part was more difficult than I thought it’d be – we had to keep it simple enough for people to participate, it had to be relevant to the Dream Travel Job contest, and, of course we wanted it to be fun.
We decided to give away five $100 gift certificates for Viator.com – we would pick the best board for each of these travel categories: adventure, food, funny, luxurious, and unique. Participants had to keep in mind what they thought the winning teams in our Dream Travel Job contest should do while traveling: funny things that could happen on their trips, food they should eat, etc.
Now that the contest is over, what results did you see? Were they what you were hoping for? And how do you define success in general when it comes to Pinterest?
LK: I was really happy with the results! We really had no idea what to expect since it was our first, but our following has grown significantly and we found that mentioning “Pinterest” on Twitter and elsewhere gets people pretty excited. The contest entries we received also showed a lot of thought, and I could tell that the participants had fun with it.
Pinterest success is similar to success anywhere else – it’s great to have followers that engage with our content, it’s a bonus if they click through to our website or blog, and it’s an awesome surprise to see sales! What I also love about Pinterest is seeing that customers from our site and readers of our blog pin products, photos, and articles – and it has all shown a positive sentiment regarding our brand, products, and destinations.
Pinterest is all about visually appealing content. Do you feel you have an advantage because your content is so visual already? What do you do to make Viator’s content stand out from the rest on Pinterest?
LK: Absolutely, I imagine it might be difficult to use Pinterest as a company if its industry didn’t offer much in terms of visually appealing content.
With so many beautiful travel photos, it can be hard to stand out as a travel company. I like pinning fun photos that combine popular Pinterest categories, such as food + travel or cute animals + travel.
What kind of tourism content do you think users are looking for on Pinterest?
LK: Our followers, customers, and even the Viator staff use Pinterest mainly for travel inspiration and finding out about places they’ve never seen or heard about before. It’s also a great tool for saving tours, activities, and attractions for an upcoming trip, and then you’ll have them all in one place once you actually start planning your itinerary.
We would like to thank Laura Knight for taking the time to talk with us and will definitely be heading over to Viator’s Pinterest page to check out where to travel next!