By Darren Griffiths

How to Collaborate With Brands to Fund Your Travels

3rd June 2017

So you love to travel? Maybe you have a great travel blog or a decent following on Instagram? But you see these people promoting their amazing freedom lifestyles where they travel constantly and don’t seem to pay a cent for it, and are you jealous or what?

Finding great businesses to collaborate with is not as hard as you think; follow these simple steps to collaborate with brands and help fund your travels:

1. Research

Often bloggers will credit the businesses that have provided them with something or sponsored them to write a post. This is a great way to find businesses who already are open to collaborating which can make your search for collaborations much easier. Google terms like ‘all opinions are my own’ + ‘blog’ + ‘country’ to find these credits from bloggers. Also approach smaller, newer businesses as these are more likely to be looking for opportunities for exposure and to boost their brand.

2. Seek out the Right Contact

Put in a call or email to find the contact details of the right person in the business to speak with, typically this will be someone in marketing or PR. You don’t want to be sending emails to an info@ address to never reach the correct contact. LinkedIn can be a great resource for finding the right contact within a business, simply search for the business and job title.

In Fiji

In Fiji

3. Network

Network with others in the travel industry. Go to industry events, travel expos and meetups to network with business owners and marketers. Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Approach marketing agencies that specialise in travel and tourism. It’s likely that influencer marketing is something on their to-do list but they just haven’t gotten around to facilitating it or finding the right bloggers to collaborate with.

4. First Impressions are Important

Your first impression could be the difference between success and failure. Be professional and polite. Research their business beforehand; what is important to them? Who is their target audience? What are they already doing in terms of marketing their business? Have they collaborated with bloggers or Instagrammers before?

5. Craft Your Email Pitch

Companies want to know what’s in it for them, after all, you’re wanting them to give away something for free or at least discounted. Tell them straight up the benefits in collaborating with you and what you have to offer. Craft a sales pitch which clearly and concisely explains what you have to offer them, be it a social media campaign, a blog post, photography or other exclusive content. If you can try to pinpoint something unique that will make you stand out from the crowd.

At the grand canyon

At the Grand Canyon

6. Create a media kit

Your sales pitch will be even stronger if you can demonstrate what you have to offer; create a media kit that you can send them which gives some examples or case studies of previous collaborations; if you don’t have any yet you can show them your blog or social media channels and demonstrate the quality of your posts. You should also include links to your website, social channels, follower numbers, engagement rates, website stats such as page views etc.

7. Deal Well With Rejection

In reality, you will receive far more rejections or even no response at all from brands. Your email may have landed in their junk folder, you may have got the wrong contact or maybe their current policies just don’t allow for collaborations. Don’t take this personally, be professional and move onto the next opportunity. Send as many pitches as you can for your desired location as it’s likely many won’t get back to you.

8. Finalise and Confirm

Always confirm and finalise the collaboration agreement in writing. List what each party is providing and any agreed deadlines.

On Route 66

On Route 66

9. Follow Through and Deliver

Remember that amazing sales pitch you sent them, follow through with your promises and then some. Deliver what you promised to the best of your ability, on time and leave them with a great collaboration experience. The world and the travel industry is a very small place; they will know other businesses and recommend you or want to work with you again.

10. Follow-up

After everything has been delivered, follow up with them afterwards. Provide stats to show the success of the work you have done and thank them for their support and for collaborating with you. If you didn’t already include it in your agreement, go and give them nice reviews on Trip Advisor, Google and Facebook and tell them you have done so, online reviews can make a huge difference to travel businesses and they will appreciate the final gesture and remember you for it.

What are your experiences in gaining travel collaborations? Do you have any great tips to help others collaborate with brands for travel funding? Comment below.

Related Post: Travel Blogging for Free Stuff

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So you love to travel? Maybe you have a great travel blog or a decent following on Instagram? Follow these steps and you'll soon be travelling for free!

About The Author

Sarah is a digital marketer specialising in travel and tourism. Her business Deep Blue Digital provides online marketing consulting, training and services to travel businesses worldwide. In her spare time, she loves to scuba dive, travel and blog about gluten free food and destinations.