A lot of beginner travel bloggers and influencers dream of travelling for free. A part of this is collaborating with hotels in exchange for free stays. This might seem like a far away dream, but with this post I hope to share all the secrets with you on how to get free hotel stays, so you can start reaching out to hotels and combine work with leisure!
I have worked with many hotels and resorts and have had good success with it. However I constantly hear about other bloggers and influencers failing to score free accommodation, and I’m not surprised as there definitely is an art to it.
This strategy can be applied to ANY collaboration you’d like to do as a blogger or influencer! I use a combination of my instagram and blog influence, coupled with my photography skills, to work with brands. Learn more about how to grow and monetize your instagram.
Before contacting hotels you should consider creating a media kit, this is a document where you can showcase all of your information and stats.
How to Get FREE Hotel Stays – download the email template
Step 1: Reflect upon why hotels should work with you
Before reaching out to any hotels you should first consider WHY hotels should work with you. What do you have to offer? A relevant, engaged audience? Modelling skills? Photography skills? This is what you’ll need to highlight when reaching out.
Step 2: Choose the right hotel for your audience
Once you have thought about why hotels should work with you, it will be easier to know which hotels to reach out to for a potential collaboration.
In order to successfully collaborate with hotels you also need to pick resorts that you know will interest your audience. There’s no point promoting luxury hotels if your followers are primarily teenagers, in this case hostels or campsites might be more relevant.
A hotel is more likely to work with you if they believe that the audience or services you provide are of value to them.
So think about the value you can provide when choosing a hotel to work with:
- Are you a couple? Can you provide romantic photos for a hotel?
- Or maybe you’re a family? Perfect for taking photos to promote a family resort
- Do you have a niche? Maybe in Boutique hotels? or food photography?
- Are you able to promote them on multiple platforms?
Step 3: Consider why hotels reject collaborations
In order to successfully work with hotels you need to consider all of the reasons why they might reject a collaboration with you.
Your audience isn’t suited to them
If you haven’t spent the time researching a hotel to see if it’s the right fit for you you might end up being rejected. However sometimes even after researching them and highlighting all your strengths they still might not work with you as they only collaborate with influencers who have over 100k followers for example. If you have an exceptionally high reach or engagement rate make sure you highlight this in your email.
They’re fully booked
Try to sort out collaborations 2-3 months in advance. You also need to consider the dates of your proposed stay. Hotels are more likely to say no if the collaboration is during their high season. Flights will also be cheaper off season.
They don’t work with influencers
Not every hotel will work with influencers. They might have their own marketing strategy or not know much about the power of social media. There isn’t much you can do in this case other than initially show them how much you could benefit them.
Step 4: How to approach hotels for a collaboration
When you’re starting out the best way to receive complimentary products or hotel stays, is to reach out to them. A lot of brands and hotels will have a certain budget each year set aside for influencer marketing. You might get plenty of rejections, but it will be worth it for that one successful collaboration!
I first started reaching out and getting complimentary hotel stays when I had around 12k followers on Instagram (but I know influencers who only had 6k when they had their first free hotel stay).
Once you know who you are approaching you should contact them by email, make sure you include:
- Introduction to yourself and your blog/social media
- Something personalised about their hotel
- How your audience is applicable to them
- What the collaboration will be
I usually include my media kit to give them more information on my stats and past collaborations, as well as making me seem more professional.
Check out my email template to see exactly what to put in your email.
Step 5: Don’t forget to follow up
If you don’t have a response after a week, send them a follow up email to ensure they received your email and to put yourself at their disposal to answer any of their questions.
Collaborations take a lot of planning, and you will usually need to contact a few before one says yes (kind of like applying for a job!). Although with my tips and email template, you should be able to ensure a higher rate of success by honing in your specific skills and learning what kind of hotels interest your community.
Remember that when you work with a hotel you are not only representing yourself but the blogging community as a whole. Please make sure you remain professional, and that you only work with hotels when you have an authentic audience and are able to produce quality content.
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