The world of travel planning is rapidly embracing social media and the presence of websites like Trevolta (which I wrote an earlier blog post about) and Airbnb are proof that travelers are increasingly turning to their online peers for support, advice and accommodation. Gone are the days when websites like Expedia and Hotwire ruled the online travel agent world. Today it’s all about user-generated content.
While Pinterest is already known for its collection of creative recipes, DIY projects and impeccably styled outfits, on November 20th they added a new service to their deck: travel planner. Pinterest’s new “place pins” now allow users to tag pictures they post by location. For example, if I’m drinking a coffee at my favorite local coffee shop, Verve, and I upload a picture of my beautiful latte to Pinterest, I now have the ability to tag Verve onto a map. The new map is similar to the current boards; continuing on with this same example, I could create a map titled “Santa Cruz Local Favorites” and pin locations like Verve that I enjoy. The hope is that other users can then use these curated maps to plan their travels, based off of others experiences.
To test out the new feature, I searched “Santa Cruz, California.” Sure enough, a curated map came up that highlighted the must-see spots for any visitor.
The map didn’t just include restaurants and shops, it also compiled a list of great beaches and hikes that shouldn’t be missed.
This map is just one example of how the new “place pins” are being used. When I searched for place boards there were hundreds to choose from, ranging from the very general “Italy” to the targeted “Vibrant Street Markets.” There were also specific maps for family travel and honeymooners and for the foodies out there, plenty of restaurant recommendations.
The new “place pins” are a great opportunity for businesses to take advantage of Pinterest. Not only will they get recognition when a “user” pins an item from their store or restaurant, they also have the ability to curate their own maps, focusing on a specific theme that would best highlight their business. One of the most ingenuous uses of the new feature that I saw while perusing the website was by the University of Michigan. They created a map that was an online tour of campus, providing pictures of buildings, landmarks and student hangouts. Universities aren’t always as present on social media as they should be, so it’s great to see one utilizing Pinterest in such an effective manner. Keep up the good work, Pinterest!