Wednesday 8 August 2018

When I first started blogging in 2015 I never thought I'd have the opportunity to experience half of the things I have because of my blog when it comes to travelling. Last year I got to go on a trip of a lifetime to India and stayed across an array of luxury hotels and beautiful accommodations in Kerala, I got to treat my mum to a lovely stay in Copenhagen and gave my friends a nice surprise with the lovely apartment we were hosted in whilst in Oslo. I remember a while back there was some backlash over a Youtuber who had reached out to a hotel asking for a complimentary stay in exchange for exposure to her 500,000 followers or so, and to be honest I didn't really see the problem with what she did. At the end of the day it was a business proposal in the same way magazines, web mags and such do it to. I often get asked how do you get 'free' hotels? and how do they benefit from it? so I'm here to break it down a bit more.

kong arthur

I want to start by saying nothing is ever really free is it? Whenever I receive something complimentary when travelling it usually means writing up a review, creating content for Instagram, tweeting about it and starting a conversation on Facebook. Another point is that the collaboration should be mutually beneficial - so if you only have 100 followers on social media you may want to wait until you build a bit more of a following/community before pitching to brands. This doesn't mean that you need to be in the 10K-20K bracket as often good engagement is worth more than tons of fake followers that don't interact with you. 


1. Bloggers are trusted by their followers. 

How many times have you seen a review in a magazine and thought eh, they've just been paid to say that. The great thing about blogging is you get to see the person behind the article and what they're like and what their interests are. Chances are they're going to keep it real with their audience and let you know when a bed is harder than Fred Flintstones bed or if they slept like they were laying on a soft, white marshmallow. When I write my travel guides I write like I'm giving recommendations to my friends and family, I don't mention places I wouldn't go to or stay at again. 

2. It allows you to tap into a different type of demographic/market. 

Let's say you're a new hippie up and coming hostel in Amsterdam but don't have much exposure yet. Sure you could rely on word of mouth and putting up ads in your local newspaper but how are you going to get young travellers from the rest of Europe or America to find out about your lovely place? Bloggers! By putting out a search for writers from specific areas in the world you're increasing the likelihood that their readers from their area and other countries will check out your website and consider staying there if the person has recommended it and genuinely enjoyed their stay there. 

3. Brand visibility. 

Then comes the business side of things. Exposure means there is a higher chance of people clicking on your website and the more people you have linking to your website/hotel page the better you will rank on search engines like Google, otherwise known as your domain authority. Another great way to help this is by having a blog section on your website to include relevant articles about your hotel or travel in general. 

4. We'll probably save you more money in your marketing budget. 

I can't speak for everyone but a lot of the time bloggers may ask for a complimentary or discounted two night stay and then will give you an agreed amount of content in return. I know other outlets probably get paid on top of that for their time away from work. At the end of the day blogging is seen as a job for a lot of people and will work just as hard on a campaign or collaboration. 

5. They will create content and photography that is specific for you. 

You can help tell the narrative. With other types of media they're going to write things in a very editorial manner and probably include two stock photos from your website and call it a day. Bloggers, Youtubers and Influencers are constantly going the extra mile when it comes to creativity. I have some friends who have created amazing videography when collaboration with travel agencies and photos that are out of this world, and most of the time they'll be happy to let you use them for the brands website too (with credit of course!).



Now that I've gone through the why hotels should be working with bloggers, let's move on to how to approach hotels as a blogger. Gosh I feel like I'm writing a university essay. 

You want to start by making a list of a couple of hotels you want to work with that fit your blog niche - if you're a broke student staying at hostels then you're not really going to want to work the The Ritz because your followers will be like eh. Find out the email address of the person in the marketing department. When writing your email I would set it out as follows. 

1. Start by introducing yourself, who you are, what your blog is about and why you're getting in contact. 

2. Tell them about your idea for a collaboration and what you can offer them - are you writing a guide on the city? talking about the quirkiest hotels in the area and thought they would be a good fit? 

3. Talk about your USP (unique selling point). Do you have a large following? Are you one of the only bloggers in your area? Do you have a loyal devoted following that even have a shrine built for you in the room? This is your chance to sell yourself (not literally). 

4. If you've worked with hotels or other travel companies before, show them examples of your work. 

5. Finish off with something lovely and maybe attach your media kit if you have one! 

That's all folks, 9/10 times you may not even get a response but it will be a great feeling when you get that one that says yes.

pitching to hotels

Do you have any tips for working with hotels or brands? Or if you work in a hotel yourself, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the topic! 




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