It’s one of the perks of being a writer – the free accommodation travel bloggers! But, I prefer to refer to it as a ‘Press Trip’. That’s because getting sponsored by a hotel or company does not mean you go, enjoy and do nothing. It means that you will stay at their accommodation in return for social media and blog posting.
Many travel writers, therefore, don’t refer to it as ‘free accommodation’ because almost undermines travel writing or blogging as a profession. That’s why, if I do talk about ‘free accommodation’, it’s in inverted commas! Call it what you want – Press trip, blogger program, sponsored trip, AKA ‘Free accommodation!’ Whatever you want to call it, travel writers and bloggers, I can tell you how to get it!
I Secured my First Press Trips within my Third month of Blogging!
Yes – I don’t do it often, but it is time for me to brag!
I read that it can take a good 6-12 months for travel writers and travel bloggers to start to get offered free accommodation or ‘Press Trips’.
That’s simply not true! I managed to secure two ‘blogger programs’ in my third month of travel blogging – one in Ouarzazate (Dar Rita) and one in Barcelona (Sweet Home Abroad), both including three days of accommodation in exchange for a blog and social media coverage. My Morocco trip ended up also including sponsored coverage of Dar Zaman in Marrakech.
Don’t get me wrong, they didn’t just land in front of me. I worked hard to achieve this. I also owe a lot to Travel Blog Success, because the exposure and profile of my travel blog increased dramatically once I registered on this course.
Although I am not securing all expenses paid trips or paid roles, I feel that I am well on the way. Securing your first press trip is a great milestone for wannabe travel writers.
Free Accommodation Travel Bloggers – How to get Press Trips
Although travel blogging is becoming a more widely recognized way to fund your travel, it is still a relatively new way to promote travel in the world of business and marketing.
Only in the last 5 years have we seen the emergence of Travel Blogger courses such as Travel Blog Success and the professional regulating body The Professional Travel Bloggers Association.
So, what does this mean? It means that travel blogging is on the increase, but as it is the marketing of the future, Press Trips are achievable and can be easy to come by. Or at least easier than you might think.
When I started Globetrotter Guru, I didn’t really intend for the blog to be a massively profitable business. But, I found that when I invested time into my blog and money in a redesign, people started to take me more seriously as a travel writer. It was just a case of emailing hotels and asking if they did a media rate or blogger program before I started to secure sponsorship.
Steps new Travel Writers should take to Secure Press Trips
Here are several things that I would recommend online travel bloggers to do if they want to secure Press trips and ‘free accommodation’.
1. Register your domain and self host your Blog on a platform such as GoDaddy.
Blogs hosted on free platforms such as Blogger and WordPress.com will work as a hobby, but will not look professional and will not secure you free accommodation. Register your hosting on a reputable platform such as GoDaddy or Bluehost.
2. Blog Regularly (daily in your First Month)
Blog at least once a week. I try to blog every other day, and sometimes on a daily basis when I am on a Press Trip.
3. Review a Hotel or Hostel you Love and Share it!
Show what you can do! If you have never been on a press trip before, but want to secure one, review your favorite accommodation for free, send the link to the hotel owner and they will be delighted to hear from you. This can be used as an example of a Hotel Review to share with potential sponsors.
4. Email Hotels and Hostels
Emailing hotels and hostels directly is an excellent way to secure sponsored accommodation as a travel writer. Just ask if they run a blogger program or have a media rate. Don’t take a ‘no’ badly. As a general rule of thumb, you will get a ‘no’ nine times out of ten. But, worth it for the one, ‘yes’, don’t you think?
6. Search for Blogger Programmes on Twitter and Google
I actually found my first two Sponsored Trips through Twitter! Just enter keywords like ‘media trip’ or ‘blogger programmer’ in the Twitter search bar and see what you find! You can also follow other travel writers and bloggers because if they can’t attend a sponsored trip, they might tweet it to share with their followers.
I also found out about several other blogger programs on Google! If you search for ‘Hilton Media Rates’, you will find exciting opportunities!
7. Create a Blog Post or Page on Sponsorship
If you want to secure media trips like a professional, you need to be professional. That means declaring your mission and conditions of your press coverage to your potential sponsors. If you create a post or page on your website that outlines what you offer, this can help to secure sponsored accommodation as a Travel Blogger.
8. Join Travel Blog Communities and Facebook Groups
I’ve mentioned it before, but it’s well worth joining some forums and travel blogging courses. The money I paid to join a group (Travel Blog Success – it doesn’t exist any longer) was well worth it, and an investment in my future travels and blogging career. The forums and Facebook groups give you access to many opportunities that you may otherwise not have.
9. Join the Professional Travel Bloggers Association
The PTBA is the Professional Travel Bloggers Association and is the only current regulating body for travel bloggers. It costs $75 a year to be a member. In order to join, you have to have a blog that has been running for at least 9 months and that has at least 3000 monthly views.
10. Attend a TBEX Conference!
There’s one thing I have yet to do – attend a TBEX conference. When you go to a big conference, remember to take your business cards and Media Kit.
What do you do as a travel writer to secure press trips and free accommodation? I’d love it if you could share your ideas. Also, feel free to ask any questions and I will answer.