Just because you have 2000 followers on Instagram does not automatically land you a 5-star resort in the Maldives.
Getting a complimentary hotel stay is no easy feat.
To put it simply, it’s business.
You’re partnering with businesses so that they can invest money in the short-term and earn that money back later on.
It’s not just a matter of getting free hotel stays because you have 20,000 followers.
There’s a lot that goes into it. Hotels are already being bombarded with emails from other influencers, so you’re not anyone special.
But don’t worry, I’ll explain everything in detail so that you can stand out and start landing free hotel after free hotel.
Understand That Everyone’s Trying to Get Free Hotel Stays
Most hotels get upwards of 5 – 20 applications per day, especially the touristy places.
Now this was back when the travel industry was booming, but there was less influencers then, so it could be more or less since the pandemic.
Furthermore, a lot of the emails are incredibly bad.
Some influencers give them one-liners like:
- “I’m an influencer and I want to partner with you”
- “I want to collaborate with you”
- “Hey I’m an influencer with 2000 Instagram followers and I want to partner with you”
- “Just reaching out to see if you want to partner with me”
As you can see, if you send anything along these lines, you are not going to get a response.
Treat it like a job request. You’re not going to approach a job position with a one-liner, so don’t do it to hotels.
Be professional in all areas and you will stand out.
500 Friends on Facebook or 2000 Instagram Followers Does Not Make you an Influencer
The term “influencer” is used by everyone these days.
I know some people that think they’re an influencer with 500 Instagram followers.
To put it simply:
You’re an influencer when you can influence the buying decisions of your audience.
If you can’t sway your audience to buy something, you are not an influencer, you have an Instagram account with a following.
Seriously, some people reach out to hotels saying they will shout them out for a free overnight stay, and they try to flex their 500 Facebook friends.
It’s laughable but this is what hotels have to deal with.
When you know what hotels are already dealing with, you can adapt and become better than everyone else.
Working With Influencers is a Challenge
Hotels have to put up with a lot of BS.
From the one-liners, to bots spamming them, checking different accounts everyday, etc.
It’s a challenge trying to sift through the fakes from the legit people because they get so many requests per day.
Once they’ve found a viable influencer, they still have to do research on them, who is their audience, what their engagements like, their demographics, and more.
However, you can use this knowledge to your advantage by doing the groundwork for them.
Basically explain everything they need in your email, but more on that soon.
Hotels Look at Your Engagement More Than Anything Else
Hotels will look at many things, but the most important things are your follower count and engagement.
They do this by comparing the amount of likes, comments and shares to the number of followers.
The higher the percentage, the more engagement you have.
This shows that your audience really enjoys your content and knows what you’re all about.
This is so important when it comes to business.
Someone can have 10,000 followers and have more likes, comments and shares than someone with 100,000 followers.
Realize That This is A New Concept and Most Hotels Haven’t Adapted Yet
Most hotels are open to the idea of partnering with influencers, but this concept is so new that everyone’s just making it up as they go.
The influencer term really only came out when Instagram became popular.
It’s no older than 5 – 10 years old at the time of writing this article.
Most hotels are trying to juggle the demands of influencers trying to get free stays because it’s a new concept.
So just know that most hotels have not adapted yet and they’re struggling just as much as the “influencers” contacting them everyday.
Some hotels are adapting by creating influencer application pages on their website, but others still use email.
So How Do You Reach Out to Hotels for For a Free Stay?
#1 Craft an email with the homework already completed
Do not use a template, it’s very unprofessional and makes you look like a robot.
Who would want to invest in someone that can’t even take 20 minutes out of their day to craft an email that might benefit them in every possible way?
In your email you want to do the groundwork for them.
- Introduce yourself
- Tell them what you post on your Instagram account (or Facebook, Twitter, etc)
- Your niche
- Your demographics
- How many followers you have
- Your engagement (how much likes, comments and shares you get on average)
- Even add other social media links
Of course they will still check out your account to make sure everything’s correct, and if it is, you’re 1000% more likely to land a collaboration.
Every person will vet you heavily so you need to have your ducks in a row.
However, doing most of the homework for them will make you look like an A-grade influencer and increase your chances of getting a free stay.
#2 Have a clear pitch
Be straight to the point but meaningful. A couple of sentences won’t be enough, but a page full of information is good.
Explain what value you will bring to them.
Remember that you’re partnering with a business and they’re investing in you, hoping to make that money back later on.
What do you bring to the table?
Are you going to give them a few social media posts?
How about some new videos for their website, or updated pictures so they don’t have to hire a photographer?
A few social media posts isn’t really going to do much, especially if your follower count is low.
Bring something more to the table to help them bring in more money.
They’re literally giving you thousands of dollars worth of free stuff, so do the best you can to make them as much money in return.
#3 Create a contract
Create a legal contract so that everyone is protected in the event something goes wrong.
You can ask if they have one for you, and if not, you can create one.
The contract should include:
- How many nights you’ll be staying
- What you’re offering for the free stay
- Dos and don’ts
- Perks included
Offering to sign a contract or to provide one is going to make you look more professioanl.
Business don’t want to work with entitled brats who think the world owes them everything.
#4 Don’t ask for much
Don’t ask for 5 nights at the best hotels in the city.
Simply put your information in the email and and ask for a free 2-3 nights in exchange for a social media post everyday, new pictures to their website, or whatever your offer is.
And if you want to stay an extra couple of nights, offer to pay for the rest of your stay.
This shows that you’re not just in it for free stuff and that you really care about the hotel.
#5 Deliver on the things you promised
I can’t tell you how many times influencers have been given free stays and they didn’t even deliver on half of the things they promised.
A picture inside a luxury hotel does wonders for your own Instagram account with all the new likes and shares, but does nothing for the hotel if you’re not even mentioning it in your description.
Recently a brand new hotel flew out a plane full of influencers to stay their for free in exchange for promotions.
Lets just say three-quarters of the influencers didn’t even mention the hotel
It just shows you how entitled some of these people are.
The Entitlement is Real
Influencers have a huge sense of entitlement, thinking that people should give them free stuff just because they have hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions of followers.
Be humble in the best way possible even if you have more followers than most people.
If they sense any sort of entitlement they will simply trash your email right away.
Yes they have to deal with people demanding free stays just because they’re an “influencer”.
Respect the hotels, respect the staff, respect the room, respect everyone involved in the operation.
If you can do that, you will be held to a higher standard and have a business partner for years to come.
When they have a new product, facility, service, etc, the first people they’ll contact is their business partners, and they’ll pay you handsomely for a shout out.
In Conclusion – Walk them Through It
99% of hotels are new to this whole concept and don’t know what to expect or what they’re getting.
The best thing you can do is to walk them through the process.
That’s why it’s so important to explain why you’re reaching out to them, why their hotel interests you so much (it could be a new facility, a new restaurant, a beach nearby, etc).
Tell them what you’re bringing to the table, how long you want to stay there for, all about your brand and why they should partner with you.
Hotels understand that it’s cheap advertising and are open to the idea of giving you a free stay in exchange for some shout out posts, but don’t just stop there.
It’s better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver.
When you finish your stay, thank them for their generous hospitality and tell them all the things you done, how much views they got, some of the best comments, what the feedback was, etc.
As long as you follow all the tips in this article, you will be building partner after partner and almost living in free hotels for the majority of the year.
That’s the end goal anyway.
It’s not easy and not all hotels will accept you
However, after a while you will learn your style and know how to better your chances of getting free hotels while building up relationships that’ll last a lifetime.
Well I hope you learned a lot on this article.
If you have anything else you would like to add, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you asap.
PS: Want to build a 4-figure per month online business? Then you need this in your life.