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How to Pitch to Hotels as an Influencer to get a FREE Stay

So, you’ve started your Instagram page and you’re starting to gain some traction. You might be on 10k, 20k or 40k followers (or more) – you think that the hotel and brand deals will start rolling in but that’s not necessarily the case.

 

How likely hotels would want to work with you will depend on other factors too:

  • Do you run a blog and how much traffic do you get?

  • Do you have other social media channels you are active on? How many followers do you have on them?

  • Are you into photography or videography?

  • What is your niche? 

 

It can be difficult to secure hotel collaborations, and we want to make it as simple as possible for you. This article will walk you through how to work with your favourite hotels, and get a “free” stay in return. We’ll start with the exact steps you need to take to collaborate with hotels.  

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Step-by-step guide to getting 'free' hotel stays 

1. Realise that it is actually work

There is no such thing as a free meal in the world, and while it is tempting to think you are getting a “free stay”, you are offering something in return for the stay. This might be a blog post, an Instagram post or stories in return. Don’t promise the world and deliver nothing – this is the worst thing you can do, and will put the hotel off from wanting to work with you or anyone else again.

2. Do your market research

The next thing to do is to collate a list of hotels who are most likely going to say yes to working with you. Start off by checking out other travel accounts to see who they have worked with in the past. Scroll through their feed to get your inspiration! If they have worked with others in the past, it's likely that they already see the value of influencer marketing which will make it easier for you. 

 

Alternatively, If you do have hotels in mind, go to their Instagram page to see previous photos they have posted – if they have worked with people before, they will most likely be tagged.

 

Otherwise, go on any hotel booking website such as booking.com, and search for the hotels in a particular area you’re interested in! Just because a hotel has never worked with someone in the past, it doesn’t mean they aren’t open to collaborations.

3. Send your requests out in advance (at least a month) 

The more emails you send out, the more likely you’ll get a positive response. The important point here is that you need to find the right contact to send your email to.

 

Check the ‘contact us’ page of the hotel you’re interested in working with. They may have a generic email address, but try not to use this. Find a specific contact (if you have a name, that’s even better) - their social media manager/PR/marketing team. 

 

If you can’t find the contact on their website, look on Linkedin.

Next, Instagram message them. They will usually respond in a day or 2, linking you up with the right person.

If you still have no luck, email the generic address, asking for your email to be forwarded to their marketing team/social media manager - we have had luck doing this before. 

 

This is the most time consuming stage, but be patient! It will pay off.

 

↠ Top tip: Get a specific email contact so your pitch doesn’t get lost and forgotten  in their general inbox. This helps to ensure your pitch gets to the right person which increases the chances of someone getting back to you. Give yourself enough time before your trip (at least a month). You need to be flexible with dates depending on hotel availability, and give them time to reply. Don’t be afraid to follow up with a 2nd email in a week if you still haven’t heard back. Your email can very easily get lost in their inbox.

4. Take the time to plan what you’re going to write in your email

This is very important. It’s not just about what you say, it’s how you say it. It is worth taking the time to pen out the perfect email pitch. It’s a learning process and you’ll perfect your pitch as you go along!

 

Here’s how to structure your email pitch:

  • Make your email title clear

    • For example: Travelthough x HOTEL NAME

  • Introduce yourself and explain what you do

    • For example: “We are Evey and Bret, full time media creators and blogging couple. We own and manage www.travelthough.com and Instagram page @travelthough…”

  • Include some statistics

    • (e.g. follower count, post reach, blog traffic)

  • Specify what dates you are interested in

    • This can be specific or within a period of a few days which gives the hotel greater option to suit availability​

  • Specify what you are willing to offer in exchange for a stay (Instagram posts/stories/blog post etc)

    • Be very clear from the start about what media you’re going to provide. Otherwise both of you will end up unhappy.

  • Add links to your social media page

    • The more the better, but always lead with your most prominent social account and include all others​

5. Put together a media kit

A media kit goes a long way in making your pitch more professional. It is a nice neat way of summarising all the key points you want to put across:

  • Who you are

    • include a quick introduction

  • Page/post reach 

    • include a screenshot of this ​

  • Follower demographics

  • Previous brands/hotels you’ve worked with previously

  • Showcase your past work/photos/videos 

It is good to include a price list (how much you would normally charge for an instagram post/blog post) as well, so hotels know what value you are providing them and would be more willing to work with you. 

6. Don’t be discouraged by rejections

You will get plenty of rejections or just get ignored, but that’s why you’ve sent so many out in the first place!

 

Here are some reasons you might get a no:

  • Full hotel occupancy

  • They only work with a set number of influencers/year and have used up their budget

  • They are just not interested in collaborating and don’t see the value of it

  • They may think your media reach isn’t wide enough (don’t worry, there will be other hotels who see your value)

  • Your page may not align with theirs

  • Your pitch may not be detailed or convincing enough (We are very happy to give you advice on this, feel free to drop us a message!

7. Don’t get bullied

It is very exciting when you start to get positive replies, but know your worth, and don’t be bullied into delivering an unreasonable amount of work in exchange for a stay. It does take time to curate well thought-out content and if you’ll just spend your entire trip worrying about how to deliver what you’ve promised, it may not be worth it. Generally what is reasonable is a single Instagram post for 1 or 2 nights stay (this also depends on your reach).

8. Go the extra mile

It's always better to over deliver on the content promised. This will go a long way as everyone in the industry talks to each other. You want to maintain a good relationship with the people you’ve worked with in the past. It is also a good idea to ask for a testimonial from people you’ve worked with before and include that in your media kit, which makes you more credible.

 

These are the exact steps we’ve taken to work with hotels we love, and hope it has helped. Let us know if you have any questions!

 

ORDER & DOWNLOAD

 

Get paid to work with your favourite brands by creating a professional Media Kit today!

This template matches the one we have been using for the last 2 years to get work with awesome brands and hotels.

Included in this download:

  • 4 page Media Kit Template with tips & examples of what to include

 

If you need any further help, message us @travelthough!

MAKE YOUR OWN MEDIA KIT

 

FAQs

How many followers do I need in order to work with a hotel?

There isn’t a magic number but in general, the more followers you have on your social media platforms or the more reach you get on your websites, the greater your chances. Just because you may not have a 100,000 follower count, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pitch yourself. We started working with hotels when we reached >20k followers, but we have seen accounts with <20 working with many.

What do I have to offer in return?

There is no such thing as a free meal in the world, and while it is tempting to think you are getting a “free stay”, you are offering something in return for the stay. This might be a blog post, an Instagram post or stories in return. Don’t promise the world and deliver nothing – this is the worst thing you can do, and will put the hotel off from wanting to work with you or other people again.

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