Travel blogs can be a great way to get some free publicity about your hotel. Bloggers are experts at taking readers on a journey. Their followers tend to be savvy travellers who are looking for inspiration, and their recommendations are taken as gospel.
Get your hotel name-checked in an article and you could be reaping the benefits for months.
However, if a blogger does approach you, there are a few things you need to consider first, especially if they promise to cover your hotel in exchange for a free stay.
- Is their blog well established? Are its readers people you want to target?
- Is the writing up to scratch? Are the photos?
- Can the blogger clearly articulate what they want to write about?
- Have they worked with hotels or travel brands in the past (demonstrating a familiarity with that style of writing)?
- Does the writer have an active social media following? (If they provide these stats without needing to be asked, all the better)
- Is the writer open about their blog’s traffic (namely unique page views and unique visitors per month)?
- Have they included examples of any previously published work?
- Can they tell you roughly when the article will be released? If they intend to write about your hotel for a magazine or online publication, do they have the editor’s go-ahead?
While it can sound like a good deal in theory, don't accept free publicity from every writer you come across. Having a poor quality blog associated with your site can actually affect your SEO ranking.
If you want to be proactive about your hotel’s coverage, consider contacting a travel writer yourself. Bloggers are always looking for new material to add to their portfolio, and if you can throw in a free night’s accommodation, it’s going to be hard for them to refuse.
How to contact a travel blogger via email
If you come across a travel blogger who seems to focus on properties similar to yours, send them an email to see if they might be interested in a visit. Here’s a basic email script you can use to get started:
My name is John Smith. I run a small boutique hotel in the Dandenong Ranges and I recently came across your blog on Facebook. [TELL THEM HOW YOU CAME ACROSS THEIR BLOG SO YOU DON'T SOUND LIKE A STALKER] I really liked your piece about travelling to the Sunshine Coast. I thought you painted a great picture of the area and where to stay. [COMPLIMENT THEIR WRITING. LET THEM KNOW WHAT YOU LIKED ABOUT IT – BUT KEEP IT RELATED TO THE TOPIC AT HAND]
I was wondering if you would be interested in writing a review about our hotel. I noticed that you’re a Melbourne-based writer, and the Dandenong Ranges are absolutely beautiful for a weekend visit. I can definitely recommend our hiking trails, wineries and coffee shops. [TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION WHERE THEY COME FROM AND HOW FAR THEY WOULD HAVE TO TRAVEL. INVITE THEM TO VISIT THE AREA IN GENERAL – AND HIGHLIGHT ITS QUALITIES - SO THEY KNOW HOW MUCH YOU HAVE TO OFFER].
I would be happy to offer you a night of free accommodation in exchange for your time, whenever would be convenient. It would be fantastic to draw some extra attention to our area and I think your readers would get a lot out of it. [FOCUS ON HOW IT CAN BENEFIT THEM AND THEIR READERS].
Please find more information about our hotel on our website and on TripAdvisor. If you’d like to chat further, you can feel free to call me on 0400 000 000. [DON’T MAKE THEM DO EXTRA RESEARCH. PROVIDE A LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE. PROVIDING A LINK TO YOUR TRIPADVISOR PROFILE ALSO MAKES YOU SEEM MORE UPFRONT AND TRUSTWORTHY].
Thanks for your time! I look forward to hearing from you.
Where to find travel bloggers
- Travel Blog
- Blog Chicks
- Weekend Notes
- Everywhere Everywhere
- Twitter lists:
If you’re uncomfortable about approaching a writer yourself, enquire with your local tourism board. They liaise with writers all the time, so they should be able to put you in touch with someone appropriate.
How to make the most of the relationship
Once the travel writer arrives at your property, you'll want to make yourself accommodating but not overly pushy.
- Take them on a tour of the property. Give them your recommendations for activities in the area, as you would with any guest. But know when to give them the space to explore on their own.
- When they check out, offer them the opportunity to raise any issues – it’s better to resolve any problems before they write their review.
- When the article goes up, spruik it far and wide. Post links on your social media pages and let the local tourism board know so they can include it in their newsletter.
- Keep in touch with the writer. You never know when you might be able to use their services again, and many bloggers do copywriting on the side. They will also have their own network of writer and photographer friends who might consider approaching you when they hear about the writer’s positive experience.