The Point: People are back to traveling. But that doesn’t mean they’re back to old habits. In fact, people are more open to new travel brands and destinations than ever before. And they’re finding those ideas on Pinterest.
Months at home have left people itching to travel. But they don’t know where to go. Just as the pandemic disrupted everyone’s plans, it also left people thinking differently about a lot of things—including travel. That’s great news for the travel industry. Because without firm plans on their mind, people are more open to hearing your ideas.
There's been a clear shift in behavior that’s showing up in our latest data. Compared to the years before COVID, today’s travelers start their travel searches with a more open mind.
Total travel searches on Pinterest are up 19% in 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019. But searches for specific destinations are down 14% over the same period.1 That gives you the opportunity to reach people earlier in their planning process, and help them design the perfect trip.
Travel searches are up 19%—but searches for specific destinations are down 14% vs. 20191
As we noticed with the new travel audiences we identified earlier this year, today’s travelers are increasingly guided by passions (like hiking, food or museums) or goals (like escaping the city or chasing summer), rather than specific destinations. For example, searches for “dream vacations destinations” are up 482% year over year.2 People are ready to make plans—they just need some helping filling in the details.
Open minds, open wallets
It’s not just destination unknown. Most people also don’t have a specific brand in mind when they start planning a trip on Pinterest. Only 27% of people on Pinterest have a go-to travel brand they use most of the time for things like hotels, airfare or tour operators.3 So, they’re interested in hearing about a range of options—like yours.
We’re also finding that loyalty to specific brands is down, with 40% of travelers saying they’d be open to switching, even if they have status with a loyalty program.4 A recent study showed that 1 in 3 have tried a brand other than the one where they have the highest loyalty status.4
Travel decisions happen here
Pinterest is where travelers head early in their trip-planning process to sort out the details for destinations, brands and more. In fact, 72% of people using Pinterest to plan travel have used the platform to decide on their destination for a trip.5 You can get your brand in the mix by meeting people when and where they’re searching.
We took a look at our latest search data to see what kinds of decisions travelers are making right now. Since so many US travelers are staying domestic these days, we specifically looked at the most popular destinations within the US. As people narrow in on a destination, these are the spots coming out ahead:6
Top trending US destinations6
2. Seattle, WA
3. Whitefish, MT
4. Steamboat Springs, CO
5. San Francisco, CA
6. Anaheim, CA
7. San Diego, CA
9. Milwaukee, WI
10. Chicago, IL
11. Western Michigan
12. Niagara Falls, NY
14. Boston, MA
15. Nantucket, MA
16. New York City, NY
17. Washington, DC
18. Charleston, SC
19. Miami, FL
20. Puerto Rico
People may still be undecided about their trips, but not for long. You can reach them on Pinterest, and help them make the right choice.
Act on the insights
Get them dreaming.
People come to Pinterest for inspiration and fresh ideas. They want to see what’s out there—and you can show them. Make sure you're present when people are making travel decisions such as where to go, and which travel brands to use.
Think about trends
Use the Pinterest trends tool to learn more about what’s popular on Pinterest, and make sure you’re creating content about relevant topics.
Provide practical tips.
Once people book a trip, follow up with tips for safety, activities and more. Create handy guides for different kinds of destinations or help people make the perfect packing list.