Last summer, I had a major travel bug, which isn't unusual for me. I had a credit from Southwest for $100 so I looked through the list of 'Wanna Get Away' flights out of Indy. Boston was $160 roundtrip and I'd never been there.
My good friend, Halee, was planning to go with me and we had dreams to go to Nantucket. We'd read about it, looked up photos, and made a decision that that's where we wanted to visit. I had around 4,000 followers on Instagram at the time and some travel content from a cruise I'd been on in May.
I found a hotel group that had two properties in Nantucket and decided to reach out. If there's one thing I've learned in the last year, it's that the worst thing they can say is "no."
I sent my initial generic pitch and the hotel replied within a couple of days. I almost couldn't believe my eyes when I looked in my inbox and received a positive reply. It was definitely one of those, 'I shouldn't doubt my abilities, but I totally do right now', scenarios. Although, the reply wasn't a YES, it was a "give us further information."
This group wanted specific content ideas. They wanted to know what I was going to create and write and why I wanted to visit Nantucket. This was the BEST learning scenario for me and this advice has helped me land four other travel collaborations since that time. To read my Nantucket posts, click here and here.
Tips for Travel Influencers to Land your First Travel Collaboration
1. Pitch a specific idea. As I mentioned above, the hotel needs a solid description of what you will provide for them. Why you are visiting the city, what you want to share, and why you want to stay at that hotel are some important details to include. Cover all of that in a concise email that is to the point.
2. Create, create, create. "But Steph, I don't have any travel content." Where have you been recently that you have photos of and could write a post about? DO IT. Even if it's the zoo. Start local and then think big. Staycations are a great way to break into the travelsphere. My first travel post I did was about a cruise and that certainly wasn't a collaboration, but it helped me move forward as a travel influencer.
3. Do your research. In your pitch, it's always nice to let the hotel know you've looked them up. Include details about the lobby, the look and feel and how it meshes with your brand. Show the hotel how the partnership will benefit them.
4. Pitch to a ton of hotels. For Europe, I sent pitches to over 25 hotels and heard back from two. One yes and one no. Hotels are constantly being pitched to and you have to spend some time pitching to as many as you can. Just be careful not to send the wrong pitch to the wrong hotel (yes, I've done that).
5. Be flexible with your travel dates. With my first travel collaboration in Nantucket, the hotel requested that I come during the off-season which wasn't a problem for me. That being said, when you are just starting out, I probably wouldn't pitch the hottest St. Pete Beach hotel for the month of March due to spring break.
Being a travel influencer and landing my first travel collaboration are one of the most exhilarating aspects of my brand. I love working with hotels, building a relationship with the marketing teams, and promoting new places.
One final thing I'll leave you with: don't give up! Pitching and hearing no over and over again can be exhausting and discouraging, but the first travel collaboration you get will make up for it.
Cheers to traveling the world and exploring new places,
PS- Another Indy influencer, Abby Saylor, wrote a similar post last week, but structured hers with more tips on how to set yourself up to be a travel influencer. Check it out here.