Pinterest spotlight: #Travel

Pinterest is a marketer’s best friend. Yet it very rarely gets the credit or attention it deserves. It has over 459 million monthly active users, and almost 90% of them report using the platform for purchase inspiration.  Pinterest’s impressive referral rates bear this out: the platform drives 33% more referral traffic to shopping websites than Facebook – its largest social media contender. And it’s only expected to grow. The platform has launched a number of new features – including an expanded partnership with the e-commerce tool Shopify, extended advertising options such as retargeting, and in-depth reporting. It’s, in short, a social commerce platform to be reckoned with – and so a great source of consumer insight.

The platform can also predict trends, rather than just see them happening. People use it early on in their inspiration journeys – so the things they’re pinning now are often things they will eventually buy.

Brands who aren’t paying attention to Pinterest are missing out on an opportunity to spot green sprouts, influence their audience and understand their customer journey. To show the sorts of insights that brands can gain from Pinterest, we’ve deep-dived into some of the platform’s most popular search topics.

Travel tops the list. We, therefore, decided to analyse #Travel. And boy, did we find a lot. The three themes that dominated the results were:

Location, location, location

For Pinterest users, travelling is above all about exploring new destinations around the world. #Travel only produced one case of generic travel advice, like that below:

We were surprised to find that a year of national lockdowns and a prolonged pandemic doesn’t seem to have made reconnecting with family and friends a top reason to travel. Based on the #Travel results, most people still associate travel with destination holidays and discovering new and exotic places.

And what’s more, it seems the pandemic has done little to change what’s considered the most popular destinations. Southern Europe, and especially France and Italy, continue to dominate. Here are some examples:


We find one interesting exception to this rule: Iceland. Breathtaking landscapes and the northern lights make the small country a popular destination.

Outside of Europe, it’s Asia, and especially Japan, that are the most hyped. Posts usually rave about the country’s fascinating culture and beautiful architecture.

Across these popular holiday destinations, we find that three types of locations dominate the #Travel research results: beaches, national parks and cities. In fact, we see that most posts feature longer trips (that often involve beaches and hikes) as opposed to shorter weekend getaways in cities. Longer holidays over weekend holidays may be a short-term response to Covid-19 travel restrictions, the economic downturn that the pandemic has brought on or it may be an effort to limit the frequency of travel out of climate concerns. Whichever it is, we see weekend getaways losing favour and longer destination holidays gaining ground.

The media and travel industries rule supreme

Across all posts, it is clear that it is businesses that are closely associated with the travel industry monopolise the research results. Magazines and travel agents; these actors produce and promote most of the content for #Travel.

With results limited to inspirational travel destinations, there are a lot of customer needs that aren’t currently being met and that retail brands can respond to. We only found a handful of companies that currently target travel-interested Pinners:

So, branch out on Pinterest. Fashion brands can share clothes and shoes for different climates, activities and destinations. Retailers can sell chic suitcases and travel bags. Beauty brands can highlight low-key make-up looks that won’t take up much space in the luggage. Financial services brands can help users budget long travels and financial services can advertise what travel insurance they offer in these uncertain times. Use the platform, in short, to be a part of your audience’s holiday planning and you’ll be awarded handsomely by the users.

Travel in all shapes and sizes

#Travel features a diverse range of travel groups. Holidaying with friends, lovers, or alone: all are welcome, lauded and encouraged. Family travel is the only constellation that is absent: Millennials and Gen-Z Pinners may no longer travel with their parents, and they may be too young to have children themselves.

On the opposite end, we have a large number of posts featuring single women travelling.

Posts directed towards single female travellers might reflect Pinterest’s largely young and female demographic. Maybe it’s a move towards breaking gender norms. Or, looking at it more cynically, it may mean that women continue to be most at risk when travelling and therefore are the most likely to read up on precautions to stay safe. Whichever it is, it signals that users are open to travel in a variety of constellations that brands can accommodate and respond to.

So as we can see, it seems that people are increasingly happy to move away from some travel habits of old – and brands should too. Holidays are moving away from short-city-based weekend stints with family. Longer, more immersive holidays with friends, partners or travelling alone is becoming more desirable. With continued uncertainty, economic instability and iffy travel regulations, however, brands can expect #Travel results to change a lot along with the pandemic.

So, keep on checking Pinterest for insights into what your audience is searching for and finding. You’ll have front row seats to how the market is moving.


By Louise Alestam


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