Comment: Travel is now a content art form

Pinterest UK’s head of travel Ash Rajawat says helping consumers find inspiration should be the ultimate goal for travel brands

Travel is now more than just a means to reach a destination. It’s evolved into a content art form, an experience to be savoured and, importantly, shared. More widely, this has allowed for more destinations to be opened up to the traveller’s eye than ever before.

This opens up the opportunity for travel brands to not only shape the way people explore the world but also how they curate their own unique adventures. Searches for the likes of “family holiday” or “backpacking destinations” have increased on Pinterest as people look for travel that’s tailored to their circumstances, before they search for a destination. Rather than viewing inspiration solely as the first step, travel brands need to recognise that their goal should be to help consumers find it. From this point, the customer journey is set to be decisive, ending in a clear action – a booking.

Travel has never been bigger on Pinterest, with millions of travel lovers coming to the platform each month. And they’re not just coming to browse or look at beautiful photos. They’re coming with intent, and to take action. Of course, they’re using Pinterest for that initial inspiration, to research and discover their next destination, but over two-thirds (66%) are also making the final decision in their travel purchase journey on the platform too.

With the help of the right tools, travel brands can show up and make a lasting impact, empowering people searching for everything from ‘solo travel’ and ‘group trip ideas’ to discover their dream destination and be a crucial part of making lifelong memories.

Unlocking the power of inspiration

Travel is a deeply human and personal experience, we have an innate desire to see, explore and discover new things, and in the modern world it’s also driven by a desire to break away from routines. That said, the overwhelming abundance of information and options on the internet can end up making people find themselves lost at sea.

This is where a strong tone of voice can be an invaluable guiding light, helping people navigate this vast landscape by providing genuine inspiration. Rather than just packages or destinations, strive to evoke emotions and spark wanderlust with the target audience.

During a tempestuous time for travel where cancelled flights and changing regulations dominate headlines, single images are not enough. Unique stories, breathtaking visuals and immersive content can help consumers overcome any dampened thoughts of travel and venture beyond their comfort zones.

We know that the disappointment of clicking through to a fully booked hotel shouldn’t happen, especially after raising hopes with creative inspiration. So our Travel Catalog tool allows brands to bridge the consumer’s aspiration to the reality of their dream destination, being able to see the most accurate and up-to-date information about flight prices and hotel availability at the touch of a button.

Tailoring through technology

While motivation is the source to fuel the final booking decision-making, personalisation and specificity are added-value tools to help move people to this point of purchase. Specificity alongside inspiration can enhance a traveller’s purchasing experience but also deepen the connection and loyalty to the brand.

We see more than three million Pinterest users engage with travel content on the platform every month, as they search and save ideas to personal boards they’ve created, based on where they’re planning to go next – a mix between a white Christmas and winter sun, Lapland, Melbourne and the Maldives are trending as the destinations to visit in the latter months of 2023.

Knowing where people are planning to go next gives us a window into the future (a bit like having a very accurate crystal ball!) and with many people also using Pinterest to plan big life moments such as birthdays and weddings we can also potentially tell where they’ll be spending their honeymoons. Brands can leverage these insights to get ahead of the competition and reach travellers with the very ideas they’re already looking for.

Responsible inspiration

In an era where the importance of sustainable and responsible travel practices cannot be overstated, the role of travel brands extends beyond merely inspiring wanderlust, as exploration must be mindful of the planet too.

One key trend we’ve seen emerge on Pinterest in 2023 is the return of train travel. Consumers are increasingly looking for inspiration and ideas around European interrailing, rail station photography and even how to best achieve the aesthetic side of train trips.

By highlighting sustainable travel options to reach their hotel, resort or destination, not only are brands aligning with a common attitude that modern travellers want to see, but they can even inspire other consumers to embrace a more conscientious approach to travel.

On a larger scale, by aligning messaging, and more importantly actions, with sustainability, travel brands can become catalysts for positive change, both for the individuals they inspire and the destinations they promote.

As travel continues to evolve, it is important for travel brands to recognise that their ultimate purpose should not be limited to selling trips and accommodation. The goal for travel brands should be to inspire consumers, helping them discover new possibilities, unleash their wanderlust, and create lifelong memories – with the final goal of bookings set to follow.

Through emerging trends and a focus on consumer passions, brands can not only help consumers take the jump from inspiration to making concrete travel plans, but they can also establish greater customer loyalty and business success.

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