Credit: Carmen Huter
You scroll through your feed on Instagram, and after seeing a couple of influencers travelling the world, flying in and out of different cities every single week, the only thing you can think about is: how do they do it? How they can afford it? Well, the truth is: most of the time they don’t actually pay for it. There are many little hacks that can add trips to your calendar, so it’s time to investigate your opportunities.
First of all: it’s not about numbers. Many bloggers with less than 20k followers receive complimentary press trips and are invited to various countries by tourism boards. I’ve just met someone who organized travel sponsorship deals, before even setting up the platform from which he shares his journey. This influencer is called Andres Pineiro and now lives in Panama.
1. You don’t even need followers
He told me about the time he created a mission to explore a waterfall in Panama. His passion for Panama created a mission and he sold that mission to companies, who supported his trip with about 30 other people. He didn’t know most of them and simply approached random people on the streets and told them about the amazing waterfall.
Of course, you can create a follow around your passion, but Andres’ story shows you don’t need to earn money for that but can travel for free.
Credit: Andrés Pineiroc
Credit: Andrés Pineiroc
2. Sell your travel vision to various companies!
Let’s say you have about 20k followers who are extremely active and focused on a unique experience. Get inspired by Andres! Even you can create your mission (again) and a presentation/media kit for it. Explain why it’s important to you, why it’s complicated to realize, why it’s good for a particular company to work with you, and so on. Once you’re clear about the mission () and have something to offer, it’s easy to collect the various travel brands who might be able to support your vision.
3. Fake it till you make it
Start creating travel content on your blog, so companies can see the kind of content you provide. You have to present what you can do. It doesn’t matter if that restaurant from last tonight didn’t commission you to write about them, just do it. Tag them. They will probably offer you a complimentary dinner next time. This is how it starts. You can even offer the restaurant your collected content and images – most companies still struggle to find good social media content. So make it your priority to help them. It will pay off sooner than you think.
4. Be creative! Offer discounts to your followers
Start creating lists of your favourite places. You can even reach out directly to your favourite hotels and restaurants, which you plan to talk about on your blog anyway. Perhaps suggest they offer a 10% discount for everyone who has been referred from your platform? How can you measure it? Use myLike to create that list and include a specific code for each spot.
If you go through the process of adding a myLike, you will see that you can add text for every spot. This way you can create a promo code for people who not just saw the spot but saved it too.
Due to word of mouth, this approach can be effective for smaller influencers too, so providing this tool for long term collaborations is the way to go. If it works well, they will most likely, not just give you free food or accommodation, but even pay for your time and network.
Credit: Carmen Huter
5. Collaborate with hotels
More and more influencers and brand matchmakers pop up every single day on the market. Buzzandgo is the oldest version of that. After registering and verifying your platform/channels , you can go through the world map to search for your next destination. Based on your number of followers the system narrows down all the hotels you can work with. After that, you just need to check their company brief regarding what they need from you and e-mail them accordingly. Once they accept you, you will receive your 1-2 free nights in exchange for posts on your platforms.
6. Press trip
Niche influencers can have smaller number of followers and still receive invitations for press trips. If you want to receive more invitations, send your media kit to creative and social media agencies representing brands from the industry whom you would like to work with. In today’s competitive market, it’s another great avenue for further connections and potential work opportunities.
7. Tourism board
You can spend hours searching for various countries and cities who work with influencers and invite them to experience their amazing world. Such collaboration often comes about faster if you reach out to them directly; if you have a large enough number of followers, they will reply to you for sure. Commonly they subsidize flights, accommodation and programs that help you discover their destination.
“I truly believe that the unique voice and tone of a travel blogger / photographer makes a big difference when it comes to working with tourism boards and other tourism providers.” – says Carmen Huter, Instagram photographer. “Does your voice, your style, your audience match or add to that of the location or brand? In that case, it’s a win-win. Other than this idea of adding value, I also find that timing is crucial. If I email a hotel two weeks out and it’s high season, I almost never have a chance. Whereas when I travel during off or shoulder season and get in touch a couple of months beforehand, my chances at scoring work are a lot higher. I hope that helps. Have fun, go out there and explore; not for the photos, but for the memories and experiences.”
Once you start travelling for free, don’t forget to track where you’ve been, so you don’t lose your amazing experiences and impressions. myLike is perfect for not just saving but sharing your memories with your followers and allows them to be part of them and potentially relive them. If you want to know how you can use myLike to get more sponsors, reach, followers and stand out, feel free to reach out to me.