Pinterest Broad-Term Travel Searches Up, Branded Down

Total searches on Pinterest related to travel rose 19% in 2021, compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019, but they are down 14% for specific destinations, meaning they include a state, city or destination. Where are you headed during the holidays? 

“People are back to traveling, but they are not back to the old habits,” said Ashish Arya, global head of strategy and marketing, travel at Pinterest. “They are not tied to a destination, so there is an opportunity for brands to real them in to a specific destination.”

With more than 60 million global travelers on the platform, Pinterest users are on the move, but they have changed their travel plans, ditched old habits and are leaning into new and unfamiliar brands and destinations.

Pinterest data notes a clear shift in behavior.

The phrases in which people use have changed, according to the data. Travelers are getting inspired by their own personal goals and passions, such as hiking, food or museums. Those who live in the city are looking to escape into the country, rather than specific destinations. 



Compared with 2019, today’s travelers start their searches with a more open mind. For example, only 27% have a go-to travel brand they use most of the time for hotels and airfare. 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.

It’s a trend that began during the pandemic in 2020. If consumers couldn’t find the exact brand typically used, they would choose another.

Some 72% of those traveling say they have used Pinterest to decide on their next travel destination, which is surprisingly high, Arya said.

The hottest U.S. destinations for the months ahead include: 

  • Alaska
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Whitefish, MT
  • Steamboat Springs, CO
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Anaheim, CA
  • San Diego, CA
  • Hawaii
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • Chicago, IL
Earlier this year, Pinterest created travel personas to help marketers target users of its site. How people travel can tell marketers a lot about the characteristics of existing and potential customers. The travel personas include Digital Nomads, Bucket Listers, Culture Chasers, Memory Makers, Foodie Traveler, Weekend Traveler, Outdoor Junkies and Rural Tourists.
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