These days, everybody wants to be a travel influencer — Travelling the world for free, visiting exotic and luxurious destinations and documenting your experiences for your adoring fans.
Sweet life, right? Of course, when the reward is sweet, competition is high.
How do you stand out?
Free hotel stays are worth hundreds and thousands of dollars.
While it’s technically possible to “growth hack” a social account with purchased engagement and followers, using such an account to gain free hotel stays would essentially be theft.
If you are just beginning without followers or a portfolio, you’ll need to create content to showcase your abilities. Consider paying for a stay at a property of your choosing and capturing flattering images of the property to use for your portfolio.
Understand what hotels want
There are two main reasons why hotels recruit influencers.
The first is reach – gaining exposure to an influencer’s audience in hopes of gaining customers.
The second is content creation – having the influencer use their creative abilities to create valuable marketing collateral for the hotel.
A large hotel chain might prefer reach while small and independent hotels will often prefer content creation. In general, content creation is what we recommend pitching to potential accommodation partners.
Send a real pitch, not just an email or DM
Hotels receive influencer pitches every day and a simple email or DM pitch will rarely get their attention.
When you reach out to the hotel, direct them to a PDF or web-hosted pitch deck with a stylish design, summary of your qualifications and past work, and what you plan to provide for them.
Which leads us to…
Describe exactly what you intend to provide
This is the most important step. Be specific about what you will provide a property in exchange for free room nights.
A property is more likely to enter an agreement with you if the terms of that agreement are well defined. Be specific about what you will create, what you will post, your ideal travel dates and what you expect in return.
Bonus tip: avoid short-notice proposals. For the best chance of working with a property, send your pitch at least three months in advance of your proposed travel dates.
Ask questions and DELIVER!
Now that you’ve sent an awesome pitch and entered a partnership with a property, it’s time to impress them with your amazing work.
Arrange to meet with your contact at the hotel upon arrival and ask them if they have any recommendations or special requests. Complete the work to the best of your ability, send any promised deliverables in a timely fashion, and enjoy your free hotel stay!