Friday, February 10, 2012

Your Customers Are Pinning, Are You?

Who knew Pinterest was going to blow up like this? I suppose you did... if you've been pinning since the beginning days and knew how easily you could be sucked into the website for hours upon hours.  I think Pinterest is a great idea, especially for us Type A's who love organizing our thoughts, ideas, recipes, etc in a manageable fashion. Pinterest is such a great idea for so many types of businesses, both large and small and it's going to be interesting to see who realizes that their target audience is waiting for them here, and how they're going to interact with them in a positive way instead of driving them away. 

Since I work in the hospitality industry, I've been keeping a close eye on Pinterest and what it can do for hotels and have realized there are so many options if you're willing to put the time into it. There's something here for everyone, whether your customers are foodies, adventure junkies, newlyweds or family focused! Yes, there are a TON more women than men pinning away, but that's not a bad thing, is it? You customers are pinning at least a few times a week, for an average of 15 MINUTES.... but honestly, you know it's much longer than that. It's easy to break up what customers are interested in and the specific audiences that can be found here, and there are a few that just pop out to me as the most relevant audiences for the hospitality industry. 

1. Foodies
Spend 10 minutes on Pinterest and you'll notice that all your foodie friends are pinning recipes, favorite foods, favorite restaurants along with some incredibly appetizing photos! So give them what they want, you have at least 5-10 chefs staffed at the hotel each day, ask them to share some showstopper recipes and take a few great photos and throw them up there. If you already have fans of your hotel's restaurant, it won't be hard to get customers to pass those photos around and click through to your hotel's website/blog/Facebook/anything related to you. 

2. The Travel Obsessed
Ask your Concierge Team to list their favorite recommendations and create a board listing top 10 or 20 destinations in your area, both well known and off the beaten path. It's not hard to find other pinner's recommendations to share as well (Millennium Park, Central Park, Top Art Museum links, etc) so that you can not only feed customers what they want, but interact by repinning and making them feel special. 

3. The Wedding Planners
Most women dream about their weddings from the time they're just a little girl, so Pinterest is perfect for searching for EVERY aspect of their wedding and organizing it into simple boards instead of having to save each photo or link, bookmark them for later, print them out and add into a bulky binder and research intensely. Participate in their conversation and recommend your own venues, cakes, catering and who knows what you'll end up with. 

4. Family Focused 
Many mothers also find time to browse Pinterest searching for family friendly brands, activities, recipes and tips. Show off your hotel's family friendly side to them and you could find yourself booking reservations for them in no time! 

Yes, Pinterest could be labor-intensive for an employee and take up tons of time, but it's still so young that you don't really know where it could go, and you don't know how much it may potentially help your big or small business. Give it a try, see what happens and if it's not worth it you can always walk away.