Did you know that travel bloggers get tons of cool perks? I mean, you can actually get paid to travel, it’s pretty incredible. Read on to learn how I’ve booked 5-star hotel properties as a new blogger in big cities. Take notes, you’ll get excited over this!
Getting Comped As A Blogger
Ok, so getting comped means, you get a service or product complimentary, or for free. Getting a free hotel or resort stay is not as hard as you think.
All you have to do is ask!
Now, big bloggers have hotels come to them! They get their email inbox flooded with invitations to stay at amazing properties and they have the luxury of picking and choosing their favorites. It’s a little different as an up and coming blogger but not by much.
You can still get those amazing stays but you’ll have to put forth a little more work to get there.
Getting comped means more than just a free room. The amenities can outrank the actual room in many cases. A recent Houston Galleria property I stayed at had a rooftop pool, sauna, fitness center, multiple restaurants, full coffee shop, lounge, bar, spa, and the list goes on and on!
My comp included a weekend stay, free parking, and vouchers to experience the gorgeous amenities including free cocktails and meals! This has happened about a half dozen times on my brand new (less than 6 months old) blog and I’ll tell you exactly how I did it!
All You Have To Do Is Ask
So it all starts with the research. First, you have to research hotels in the area that you want to stay. Narrow it by side of town. Then, target specific properties of interest.
It’s pretty easy to find a contact email. They are usually under the Contact Us, Media, or PR links at the bottom of the website. If you can’t find one, as a last resort you can fill out the Contact Us form that many of these hotels have but let me tell you, I get the most replies from actual email addresses and not those forms.
You can also reach out on social media.
Surprisingly, this is pretty effective. Hit up Facebook or Twitter and send a message. The social media person for the property, who is likely who you’d be talking to if you contacted via property email, is who you will be chatting with.
What To Ask For
You want to think about your entire stay. My first few times I forgot to ask for certain things and learned my lesson when I had to foot the bill for $20/day valet.
Here are some staples to get you started:
- Hotel stay
- Vouchers to experience amenities
- Passes to local attractions
The main ones are hotel stay and parking. The others are extras and may not be available at every property.
Your pitch will go like this…
First, introduce yourself briefly. Talk about your blog and what you talk about, who your audience is, etc. Next, state your intentions. Share you want to stay for free and if they support bloggers. Say that, “support bloggers.” You can also use terms like:
- Media trip
- PR trip
- Media stay
- Media rate
Tell them what you can offer in exchange (like video walkthrough, blog post, feature, social media post, etc.) Share your dates of travel and ask for a reply back either way. That’s it!
Now you want to be a bit more smooth than how I explained above. Like, don’t say stay for free, ask for a complimentary stay or blogger support. It sounds way better.
You’ll either hear back or not hear back. If you do not hear back within 7 days, send a friendly reminder email. If no reply after that, you can either let it go or reply again. After that 3rd attempt, just let it go if you don’t hear back. You don’t want to bug them. They could be busy or choose to decline without contact. No big deal. Move onto the next.
You Booked It
If you are successful, you’ll get confirmation of your stay and perhaps even an email confirmation. Then, pack, get ready and travel! Arrive at the hotel during business hours and close to check in time.
Bring your ID and bring a credit card or debit card.
This is my experience and I haven’t been told this every time. Even if you are staying for free, you still have to have a card on file for incidentals, like if you wreck the room, eat from the minibar, etc. So, bring that card with you. It’s not uncommon for the hotel to forget to share this with you, but take it from me, they will ask for it. Who doesn’t travel with a credit card or debit card anyway, right?
You’re working, right?
Don’t forget, this is work! It can feel like a free trip, but it really isn’t. You are offering the hotel something of value, a feature or post on your blog, in exchange for a free stay.
Take tons of photos. Try to experience as much of the property as you can. When you’re all done, try to start your writing while everything is still fresh. This helps out a lot, trust me.
And there you go. Not so bad, right? Rinse and repeat to stay at an endless number of gorgeous luxury properties around the world. Yes, around the world! You can even use this strategy for free flights, free cruises, resorts like Disney and more!