Most bloggers and influencers dream about working with hotels and staying in luxury hotels for free. Many assume they need a huge following for that, but I am here to prove your wrong. In this post, I will explain 6 great ways to How to pitch hotels and easily start working with hotels, even if you are brand new to blogging.
HOW TO PITCH HOTELS AND GET COLLABORATIONS AND FREE STAYS AS A BLOGGER
Wanna start working with hotels and no idea how to even start?
You’re probably thinking ”How will a hotel ever take me seriously considering my social media following is not big enough?’’.
THE GOOD NEWS IS that you don’t need to have a huge follower count to get the game going. In fact, there are certain creative ways of influencer marketing best pratices to start working with hotels that are probably much easier than you ever thought.
Keep on reading this article to discover 6 amazing ways to easily start working with hotels as a social media influencer.
HOW TO PITCH HOTELS: 6 EASY WAYS TO GET COLLABORATIONS FROM HOTELS
It’s been said around that to get free stays you should at least have 50-70k followers, plus a website, plus a YouTube, plus be good friends with Kim Kardashian….
The benchmark was seemingly unachievable for newcomers, and big enough to kill anyone’s confidence to ever want to approach a hotel.
But as I aforementioned at the beginning of this post, you don’t necessarily need a massive following to get compt stays (I am living proof of this). However, don’t expect to pitch the Sheraton or the Mandarin Oriental and get a free stay that easily.
(I am not saying that it is not possible to get collabs with these big players, but you have to work your way up. Every influencer has started with zero followers and zero social proof, so don’t despair, you will get there too!).
I am here to give you some great hacks to start working with hotels and as well to gain confidence for future collabs (so that slowly you can make your way up to one day collaborating with your favorite hotel chain – To me, my dream is to collaborate with the Four Seasons one day. I’m a huge a fan of the brand!).
However, you can’t risk one day working with your dream hotel and making silly mistakes due to lack of experience, or even worse: to not deliver what they expected after staying for free at their property.
PS – Do you know that many hotels ask for influencers credit cards upon arrival as a safety guarantee? This means that if the influencer doesn’t deliver what was agreed, they can actually CHARGE you for staying with them.
But don’t be scared, dear friend, because you are much more prepared than those influencers.
You’ve been coming back to La Belle Society to educate yourself on being a professional influencer and you’ve even signed up to my newsletter to be up-to-date with best practice to deliver excellent service…
Jokes aside (even though I’d love to have you part of my community), I am here today to share with you 6 great ways to start working with hotels to jump-start your portfolio.
WHY CREATE A PORTFOLIO?
A portfolio is, by definition, a set of pieces of creative work intended to demonstrate a person’s ability to a potential employer.
In my case, I decided to create a portfolio of luxury hotels because I aim to work with diverse sectors within the hospitality industry in the future. So if I ever want to make some money from this idea, I need to have a portfolio to give credibility to my services (while on the side, I work on growing my social media numbers).
As I am trying to learn how to create content for luxury hotels, it took me a while to figure out how would they ever take me seriously when one day it finally hit me: my pitch to them would revolve around me offering to create high-quality content for their property in exchange for 1-2 days stay with them.
(yes, and this also means that I don’t get paid to create their content –yet- which is fine because it puts less pressure on me to deliver exceptional content, considering I am still learning myself how to take quality photography).
Like everything else in life, before being able to reach your desired goals there will be a learning curve you have to go through. But if you are strategic about how you start, you can have a good jumpstart.
Wanna have another way to jumpstart your success? >> Feel free to download my exact email pitch template here. <<
HOW TO PITCH HOTELS THE RIGHT WAY TO GET A COLLABORATION
1. START FREE
Don’t go asking for money in exchange for creating high-quality content if you don’t have experience working with hotels.
Starting by delivering content for free is a great learning process because, as I just said, you don’t feel pressured in case you ‘fail to meet expectations’. The brand is not paying you anything for the content, so you have more freedom to experiment (and to mess up, for that matter).
Whenever you close a deal with your first property, you need to treat your brain like a sponge to learn as much as you can about things such as:
- Customer Service
- Photography/Video skills
- Type of content you can create
And if you’re worried about not giving them deliverables as good as you’d have hoped when you agreed on the collab, it is all good, because they knew from your pitch that this collab was for you to learn and to create a portfolio.
Furthermore, if they see that you genuinely cared and tried your best to deliver it, they will understand.
Cris and I had promised to deliver IGTV videos for a High Tea event, but we didn’t anticipate the number of people and bad lighting, and in the end, we could not deliver what we had promised.
I was sure to inform them right away, and we compensated as well by delivering more pictures than initially agreed.
The result? Read what The Radh has to say here.
Read about our stay at The Radh here.
2. START SMALL
The secret to success in working with hotels is to take baby steps before getting to the big guys.
Starting small is about reaching to small properties.
Properties that don’t have a big budget, or that don’t have a lot of experience or exposure in the digital marketing world. These are also properties that don’t have amazing pictures in their social media and that could desperately need some creators to stop by to take some pictures for them to post online.
I’d advise searching for small, family-owned properties, or boutique hotels that don’t have great social media pictures.
TIP: Be mindful because even though boutique hotels are small, some are more luxurious than big chain hotels. Do your research before pitching to a boutique hotel.
3. GO LOCAL
Pitching to local hotels can be a great way to get your foot through the door because it conveys that you are not another influencer trying to stay for free in a nice hotel during their trip.
You start your pitch by saying you live in the same city and that you’ve always admired this property. Continue by saying you are currently trying to create a portfolio and would like to stop by to create some beautiful pictures of their hotel, (which you would be happy to give it to them for free).
What’s important is to be crystal clear that you are not just interested in a free stay.
And you know what?
This strategy works! I just got a collab with Iberostar in Barcelona (and they even offered Cris and me a dinner as a thank you).
Iberostar is my first brand/hotel chain that I work with and I couldn’t be more excited. You see, my baby steps are taking me where I wanna go (Four Seasons, I am coming for you!).
YOU CAN DO THIS TOO!
4. NEW HOTELS
Another great way to start working with hotels to create a portfolio is by keeping an eye for new hotels. Even though they most probably hired a marketing team to create some content for their launch, soon enough they will need a fresh pair of eyes to help them be consistent on social media.
Furthermore, if they are not part of a chain, they don’t have a lot of experience working with influencers yet.
Additional they will most-probably appreciate a learning curve working with creators, considering they also won’t have a cost
(since you are working for free, wink wink).
TIP: Eastern Asia is a GREAT place to create a beautiful luxurious portfolio. Some countries have privately owned properties popping up every day like daisies.
5. NOT SO POPULAR DESTINATIONS
Unfortunately, this means kissing places such as Rome and Maldives goodbye.
Disclaimer – I am not saying it is impossible to collab with these popular vacation choices, but you will probably have a harder time when you are just starting.
Be strategic and don’t waste your time pitching to these destinations when you are new to the game. The lack of responses (or the hard flat NO) will quickly demotivate you.
That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t ever want to work you. They are probably not interested yet.
Choose less popular destinations.
Instead of pitching to Rome, why not try a smaller Italian village? As opposed to trying Bali (the mother ship of travel creators), why not try Sri Lanka, a country that is quickly developing its tourism sector?
When experimenting with how to pitch hotels, be creative and start pitching to the right places.
6. OFFER A LOT, AND ASK FOR ‘’A LITTLE’’
If you’re not new to the La Belle Society, you know by now just how important it is to act as a consultant when doing a pitch. When understanding how to pitch a hotel, know that your objective is to make the client feel comfortable around you and gain their trust.
The moment they trust you and your motives, the more you will get from them.
You gain their trust if you show you care about their goals, about how they will succeed, about how good the content will be.
On the other hand, you quickly lose their trust if you act self-entitled if you don’t listen to them, and if for them it seems you just want a free stay…
Use this small exercise as an example: Who would you like and trust more in a group work?
Friend 1: That friend who helps you organize the group work schedule? The friend who gives ideas for the project? The friend who listens when someone else is talking?
Friend 2: Or would you prefer the guy who is always late and disorganized? Who doesn’t contribute to the team? Who talks when others are still talking?
Well, hoteliers pay attention to all these details and trust me that they will not be happy if you are ‘’Friend 2’’.
Be that first friend!!!!
RELATED POST ON HOW TO PITCH HOTELS:
- How I Manage to Stay in Luxury Hotels for Free as a Small Blogger
- Brand Collaborations Best Practices (Before, During and After)
- How to Reach out To Brands and Get a Yes
- Top Criteria Brands Look For When Selecting an Influencer
- How to Pitch Hotels and Easily Get a Collab
Are you struggling on understanding how to pitch hotels? Let me know below and maybe I can help you out!
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