Social networking : what can Pinterest do for your self-catering business?

What is it?

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard (or boards) – the idea is that you ‘pin’ things you spot on the web to your board(s) for others to see.  It’s growing rapidly and is reckoned to be the fastest site in history to reach the 10-million-visitors-a-month mark.  About 68% of Pinterest’s users are women and lots are using it as a “virtual scrapbook” to plan DIY, decorating, hobbies and – crucially for those of us in the self-catering industry – holidays.


Good bits?

As it’s a really visual interface, it’s easy to use and a quick way to share all kinds of things you’ve found on the Internet.  It’s free. Users tend to spend a lot of time on Pinterest – they are spending an average of 100 MINUTES on the site as opposed to 19 on LinkedIn.

Bad bits?

You need an “invitation” to join, although you’ll get one within around 24 hours of signing up.  So far, major benefits have been seen in the retail sector, but there could be more, softer, benefits for the self-catering industry.

How might it work for you?

So far, it seems to us that the people really turning Pinterest into hard sales are companies using it to find interesting ways to showcase their product range.  But there are some obvious ways it could be used to benefit your holiday rentals business.  How? By highlighting the WHOLE offering.  Here’s an example.

You own some holiday cottages and set up a Pinterest account.  You put up some boards – ‘Great Family Days Out within an hour of our cottages’, ‘Delicious Foodie Places in our region’, ‘The best one day walks near here’
On each board, you ‘pin’ links to different sites offering more information – these include an image.
It’s a great quick and easy way to show off your local area – remember your local knowledge is a big part of what you are selling.  You could have a different board for each interest group, how about one with links to the menus for some of the best local eating places?
The result is a much more compelling reason to visit your holiday accommodation than the usual offer of Egyptian cotton sheets, complimentary toiletries and stock marketing.   People are far more likely to visit your area and you, because you have put it all on a plate for them.

Points to take away:

Try and put a personal spin on all of this.  As a “curator” of the board, it should include lots of your input and comment on the links you add.  What local things would you like to do with your family? Where do YOU like to eat?  Your customers are buying into your local expertise.

Don’t try to be salesy – this is about all the supporting stuff round about your place.  You can, however, use some pictures from your website but make sure the message isn’t a sales one overall.

Make sure it appeals to women – remember they account for the biggest percentage of users!