In late 2013, Pinterest made it easier for travelers to plan — and dream about — their trips by introducing Place Pins. However, this new feature isn’t just for travelers planning their next vacation getaway or reminding themselves where they had the best sushi ever in New York. Hotels and destinations alike can use Place Pins to entice people to their locales.

Previously, a hotel could only pin images of their hotels and destinations. With Place Pins, those photos are now assigned pin points on a map that features detailed information about the location, including the exact address and contact location.

Creating Place Pins

Creating a Place board is quite simple. If you already have a board that you’d like to add a map to, you’ll just need to edit the board to turn the map feature “on.” This will create a map in the background with images overlaid on the left. Then, you can add a location to each pin by using the Foursquare powered search tool.

If you want to create a new board to host your place pins, just choose to add a map to the board when you’re filling out the initial information for the new board. Like all pins on Pinterest, you can pin images already on the web, or upload your own. You can also repin other users pins to your place board. You can choose to repin both place pins and normal pins to your place board – just remember to go into your board and assign a location to each pin.

If you’re a hotel or resort, it’s important that you have your Foursquare profile set up properly so that Pinterest can pull as much information from Foursquare as possible. For example, if you have your website linked to your Foursquare account, your website URL will appear in the information bubble on Pinterest. The more information you have on your Foursquare account, the more information that will appear on your Place Pin. Yelp and TripAdvisor are also partnering with Pinterest to pull in information.

Why Use Place Pins?

First and foremost, travelers are using Pinterest to plot and plan their trips now more than ever. Pinterest reports that 1.5 million places are pinned every day, and there are now over 750 million pins of destinations. Before Place Pins, most users weren’t actively planning to travel to the places that the pinned, it was more of a fantasy list. The introduction of Place Pins has transformed those thoughts from fantasy to reality.

Think about the role of Place Pins from a Pinterest users perspective. If you see a pin of a gorgeous beach but no information, you’re probably going to add it to your dream travel board, and move on. However, if you see a pin of a gorgeous beach with the name of the hotel where the photo was taken, see on the map exactly where the beach is located, read TripAdvisor reviews of that hotel, and see the contact information, you’re much more likely to at least inquire about really visiting that location.

You may still be wondering if your Pinterest account really needs to utilize Place pins. Configuring Foursquare to make sure all of the necessary information appears on your pins can be very time consuming. However, it is worth it. Take other web development costs into consideration. How much time and money did you spend on your website? How much time and money would it take to build an interactive map on your website? And then make sure it’s tablet and mobile friendly? Pinterest is offering you this service for free. It’s an opportunity to expand your business online, and it’s the very first time a service like this is being offered on a social media platform.

Get Creative With Place Pins

Make your boards more valuable by thinking outside the box. Pinterest is different from all other social media platforms because it’s interest-based. People pin things that interest them, that appeal to them, and that connect with them in some way. Remember not to get too sales-y either. People enjoy using Pinterest because of its lack of obnoxious promotional content. Make your brand more personable and find a way to connect to the emotions and interests of users. The Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is an excellent example of how creative you can be with your Place Pins. They even have a board titled “Travel by Chocolate”!

No one will be intrigued by numerous pictures of your hotel rooms and amenities. A few pictures per board is fine, but your boards shouldn’t be focused solely on your business. Include pins of the best restaurants in the area, as well as local attractions, things to do, and places to see. You want to convince people to stay at your hotel – but you have to convince them to visit the location first. It will also show users how close your hotel is to everything they’d want to do on their trip.

If you take the time to be creative and really make your Place boards and Place Pins the best they can be, you will almost certainly see an increase in site traffic – if not more conversions, and eventually sales!

This post was contributed by Michelle Rebecca. Michelle is a blogger and freelancer with a passion for social media and blogging. She loves how social media connects people across the globe, and appreciates that blogging gives her the opportunity to voice her thoughts and share advice with an unlimited audience. Follow her on Twitter and Google+.