As amazing and cool as a complimentary hotel stay sounds, it’s mostly hard work to get one. The travel blogger market is very saturated nowadays and it’s no easy way to become successful in that business.
Even though I’m still a small blogger myself, I managed to get two FREE hotel stays & a 50% discount on another stay during my trip to Morocco.
So what did I do?
In this blog post, I want to reveal the secret and help you to get a free hotel stay for your next trip!
First, I want to mention it’s not as difficult as you may think. You just need to have the right technique for your approach.
Of course, with a simple “Hey, I love your hotel so much can I stay there for free – I’m a travel blogger” you won’t make it very far! Thus I decided to write this blog post to – hopefully – help you save a bit of money on your next accommodation.
(This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a certain percentage of a sale if you purchase after clicking.)
1. Find The Right Type of Hotel
Of course, we all want to stay in those super chic and fancy 5-star hotels, but let’s be real. The Shangri-La’s and Four Seasons in this world won’t work with small travel bloggers like you and me.
I don’t mean to say you shouldn’t try but don’t be disappointed if you receive a rejection or no answer at all.
Trust me, I tried it too – and failed badly. So if you’re hoping to find the answer to how to chill at the most luxurious hotels, I’m sorry to disappoint you but you won’t find it in this article.
Think About Your Niche
As a small travel blogger, it’s important to find the right type of accommodation. This has also something to do with the niche your blog focuses on.
For example, if you’re writing about outdoor adventures, try to find a hotel that offers outdoor activities. Or if you’re an environmentally conscious traveler, maybe you can find eco-friendly hotels too.
However, don’t worry if your blog doesn’t have such a specific niche. I mainly share destination guides but try to write more about vegan travel and environmentally-friendly travel too.
That’s why I chose to contact Tiziri Camp, which is an eco-friendly desert camp in Morocco as I thought it would be perfect for the niche that I try to focus on a bit more in the future!
Go For Less Expensive Options
Especially in big cities, it’s easy to find suitable accommodation. Since we’re still at the beginning of our blogging journey, I advise you to look for 2-4 star accommodations to get a free hotel stay.
Those are mostly less expensive and thus it’s more likely they’ll work with you.
Nevertheless, as already mentioned above: If you find a bit more expensive hotel that fits perfectly with your niche tho, don’t hesitate to contact them too!
If you’re 100% certain you can offer them perfect value in return then it doesn’t cost anything to try, right?
Look For Them on Social Media
What I always like to do is to find out if the hotel has an Instagram or Facebook page. If so, they’re more likely to collaborate with you since they know the importance of online presence on these platforms.
2. Know Your Value
Why should hotels work with you? What is your value?
Have you ever thought about the answers to those questions? If not, it’s time to find them now.
Many hotels get a lot of blogger requests these days. Of course, they neither have the budget nor the capacity to sponsor all those free stays.
However, if you give them proper reasons why you’re the perfect collaboration partner, you can easily secure a free hotel stay!
Before you sit down and begin to write the perfect pitching mail, stop for a second and think about your value. What exactly can you offer the hotel so they would happily work with you?
Either you’re a master in writing detailed 3000-word blog posts, you’re unbeatable in finding the perfect photo angle or you have a huge Social Media following.
No matter what great skills you have, it’s important to clearly mention them. It makes it easier for people to know exactly what they can expect from you.
The simplest way to do so is to create a Media-Kit. It’s a perfect opportunity to provide people with more information about your blog niche, audience, and stats. No worries, I will talk about that later in this article.
Moreover, you can also download a simple, yet informative Media-Kit Template completely FOR FREE at the end of this blog post!
3. The Right Approach to Getting a Free Hotel Stay
Let’s pretend you found a few hotels you’d like to work with AND you know exactly what you can offer them in return for a sponsored stay at their place.
Now it’s time to talk about the right approach.
Use a Professional E-Mail
Needless to say, you shouldn’t contact them with your private mail. Even as a small travel blogger, it’s important to appear as professional as possible.
Having a suitable mail address, for example, info@(your domain) or contact@(your domain), looks always good.
At the beginning of your pitching mail, you should put a short and sweet introduction of yourself. Your name, where you come from, maybe your profession and of course that you’re a travel blogger.
Don’t write half a novel, anyone’s interested in that.
Always think about the following: KISS – Keep it short & simple! They will receive more information from your Media Kit anyway.
Give Them Details About Your Stay
The following crucial point is to give them details about your planned stay.
If you know the exact date already, it’s important to let them know so they can check their occupancy. Don’t worry if you’re still not certain about that, giving them a date range is fine in the beginning.
Tell Them WHY Exactly You Chose Their Place
In my opinion, this is the absolute key part of the entire mail. Even though it’s way more work, I recommend you do a bit more research about the hotel. Let them know the exact reason why you chose them and not the other ones.
Find something unique that makes it stand out from all other places. For example, it can be spacious rooms, a perfect location near a certain attraction or simply a rich breakfast buffet.
Just go to TripAdvisor or a similar platform and read some reviews. I guarantee you, you’ll find all the information you need there.
Another good way is to show them how perfectly they fit in your niche.
As I already mentioned above, this is YOUR best benefit to score a free hotel stay because it shows how conscientious you did your research.
Moreover, let them know your readers would enjoy staying there as much as you do since they share the same interests.
No matter what you decide to write, simply give them one significant and detailed reason! It shows how much you’re truly interested in working with them.
Let Them Know Their Benefits
Alright so you probably get a complimentary stay, but what does the hotel get from you in return?
Here’s the part where you should show your value as I already mentioned further up. Think about what exactly you can offer them and also how much work the stay is worth to you!
As much as you want that sponsored stay, don’t exaggerate.
Although a free hotel stay sounds very attractive, don’t forget you still have work that needs to be done at the place itself and afterward.
Don’t promise a 5000-word blog post AND 10 posts on your Social Media accounts (I really overstated here but I think you get what I mean) if the ultimate stay isn’t worth that much.
Try to be as realistic as possible so you both have something of it!
Attach Your Media-Kit
Last but not least, don’t forget to attach your Media Kit. The mail should be short and brief yet include all necessary points. Everything else I recommend you write in your own, personal Media Kit.
4. Use a Media Kit to get a Free Hotel Stay
I mentioned it so many times and now we’re finally at the point where I tell you what a Media Kit exactly is!
Well, it’s a document containing all essential details about your blog – basically a blogging CV. It’s mostly 1-3 pages long and you can fill it with all relevant things about your blog.
As a small travel blogger, it’s completely fine to have only the most essential points at the beginning:
- Information about your blog (stats, launch date, niche,…)
- Contact details
- Information about yourself
- Social Media accounts
The more experience and collaborations you gain the more you can add to your Media Kit, of course.
If you take all these points into account while writing your next hotel pitch, you won’t wait too long for a positive response. I’m convinced of that!
Good luck! 🙂
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Do you want to travel like me?
Here are some of my favorite travel tips and resources:
Flights: I prefer using CheapOair or Skyscanner to book flights. The destination everywhere feature is perfect for finding some cheap deals!
Accommodation: Booking.com is my favorite site to find some great hotel deals. I do love staying at a local place as well, thus I book an Airbnb every now and then.
Travel Insurance: There are many reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having one. I use the simple and flexible one from World Nomads to be protected against unforeseen events.
Tours: I love taking tours to explore destinations like a local. My favorite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.
Camera Gear: I use a Nikon D5300 camera with an 18-105 mm and a 10-20 mm wide-angle lens to take my photos.