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What I'd Do
Pinterest for Ski Resorts: Don’t Create an Account, Seriously

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I sometimes feel I do too much critiquing and too little suggesting. Like, somehow, I’m the 400 pound, mullet-sporting guy on his 3rd beer at the baseball game yelling at the 2nd baseman to hustle. So, every once in a while on a Wednesday I’ll try to balance the scales a bit and put my own ideas up for display, analysis, and critique. (view all ‘WID’ posts).

If every mention of Pinterest on the web over the last few weeks were a snowflake, I’d be making a sweet powder turn right now instead of nerdily typing at my computer. Pinterest is big. It’s growing like a digital weed and is one I hardly approach lightly. In the wake of the their sudden popularity, some resorts have started to create accounts and started to pin photos. Here are a few accounts I know of:

Close to 300 items pinned between the five resorts. Those five resorts only have a combined total of 135 followers (27 per resort). The vast majority of photos (I’d put it at about 90%) are 0-for and go un-liked, un-commented on, and un-repinned. So, those are the stats for resorts with accounts using Pinterest.

Search Your Source
But what about resorts that don’t have a Pinterest page? One thing you can do with Pinterest is search for things that were pinned from your site by adding your URL to “”, like I’ve done below for

This is what I get:

Over 250 pins have been shared from alone (not to mention other sites where Vail photos exist).

Three Strikes
Okay, so that’s what a few numbers look like for resorts that are(n’t) using Pinterest. Not a lot of followers, but a lot of natural sharing going on. With that in mind, I see three strikes against Pinterest as a feasible marketing platform for resorts:

Strike 1: Highly Visual
This seems like it wouldn’t be a big deal, but much of the pinning on the site is about fashion, crafts, food, design, etc. In other words, great skiing photos could only take your efforts so far. Instead, I see higher-end destination resorts getting the most exposure. The resorts with upscale restaurants, fancy lodges, etc. that have lots of compelling visuals both on and off the mountain.

Strike 2: Low Income
Now, Strike 1 could actual be a positive if it weren’t for some recent data that was released. The figures claim that only 9% of Pinterest users have household income of more than $100,000. That number drops to 3% above $150,000. So, the format fits the classier destination mountains but the users on the site simply don’t have the income to afford a visit to this type of resort.

Strike 3: Window Shopping…but Not Buying
Additionally, there are worries that Pinterest has become a form of window shopping. That “pinning” something is starting to give the same satisfaction that buying (or cooking or buildiing or visiting) the “item” would have. While the media talks of huge traffic to retailers’ sites coming from Pinterest, I’ve seen many claims that the traffic is simply not converting. When I mentioned this to my wife, she wasn’t surprised because she sees Pinterest as all about DIY, not buying.

In other words, instead of pinner coming to Whistler to stay in your well decorated hotel, they might try to use fabric store supplies to recreate the look in their own home – inspiration to create not motivation to buy.

BONUS – Strike 4: The Legal Stuff
I know I said 3, but this is important too. In the Pinterst TOS, they make two, clear statements: when you post images you give them full rights to that content (see Member Content in the TOS) and, if that wasn’t enough, it also prohibits using the site for commercial purposes or to benefit 3rd party sites.

But what about all the articles on Mashable about making money from Pinterest? Remember, they make money by getting your attention with headlines, not necessarily giving you honest opinions or perspectives.

What I Would Do
This is a big question. Without a doubt Pinterest is hot and getting hotter. Millions of links are shared each day, hundreds of which are for ski resorts. So, if I were you, I’d do four things:

  1. Do a source search for your website to find what is being pinned
  2. Decide which ones you are willing/want to actively have shared
  3. For the pics you want to promote, add a “Pin It” button by the images on those pages of your site
  4. Optimize those pages to get them started down a sales funnel and convert as many of those pinners into guests as possible

The Last Word
So, if I were you, I wouldn’t create a Pinterest page for my resort. Aside from the other reasons, I think there is a lot of benefit to be had from staying out of the conversation. Once the brand gets involved, the content becomes less genuine. It goes from a friend’s recommendation to an advertisement the second your logo shows up as the source.

Instead, I’d simply make sure that all the images I want to have shared can be shared as easily as possible. One benefit is that instead of monitoring a whole new site, you can reap plenty of benefit with just an hour of work. This may change and I could certainly be wrong, but right now, I just don’t see the time spent on Pinterest as a brand paying off for resorts.

About Gregg & SlopeFillers
I've had more first-time visitors lately, so adding a quick "about" section. I started SlopeFillers in 2010 with the simple goal of sharing great resort marketing strategies. Today I run marketing for resort ecommerce and CRM provider Inntopia, my home mountain is the lovely Nordic Valley, and my favorite marketing campaign remains the Ski Utah TV show that sold me on skiing as a kid in the 90s.

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