How to approach hotels for a complimentary stay as a blogger (with e-mail template!)

So you’re a (travel) blogger, and you’re planning a fancy schmanzy holiday, but it would be pretty nice if you could cut the cost a little by setting up a sweet little arrangement with a local hotel. Right? Maybe a complimentary stay in exchange for a blogpost? Ofcourse it would be. I’ve done it MANY times and have had good success with it. I constantly hear other bloggers failing to score free hotel stays, though, and to be fair I’m not surprised. It’s not hard, but there IS an art to it. So today I lift the veil and share the secret with you! This strategy doesn’t only work for hotels, but for ANY collaboration you’d like to do as a blogger.

This is a very comprehensive 1700-word post (I had a LOT to say on this topic), so get ready!


So who am I to write this post? I run two travel blogs, one in Dutch and one in English. For my travel blogs I’ve stayed in a fair amount of hotels for which I did a barter deal: I got a complimentary stay, if I posted about it on my blog. I also worked on a project for a MAJOR travel brand where I got to send bloggers away on press trips (SUCH fun work, I promise you). So I’ve been both on the blogger and on the brand side, so I feel like I’ve got a pretty good grasp on the art of  successful pitching.

First off: the very first thing to consider is the following. Without this answer, there is absolutely no point in e-mailing. So please read the question carefully, and have a good answer. Ready? Here we go:

Why should hotels work with you? What do you have to offer?

Trust me: ‘I can write a blogpost and have 300 twitter followers’ is not the answer. Anyone can start a free website, and anyone can buy followers. This is not to say you’ll only be successful in scoring collaborations if you have big follower numbers. No, I’ve gotten complimentary hotel stays at 2,000 uniques a month. But you need to have a solid offer. This is a business deal, remember? If you’re not 100% confident your content will get the hotels bookings, don’t even bother emailing. This isn’t about you… this is about how you can help them develop their business.

Secondly: the better match a hotel is for your readers, the better your results will be off the collaboration. So please don’t go pitching a $500 a night-hotel, when your readers are broke college teenagers. There’s no use. Yes, you MIGHT get a fancy free stay, but none of your readers will book the hotel, and so there is no return on investment for the hotel. Not only will this reflect badly on any future collaborations you might do (why should we hire you if you got hotel X no bookings?), it might scare the hotel off of working with bloggers altogether. So if you’re a family blogger, choose a hotel that’s great for families. Budget bloggers, go for budget hotels and hostels. Fitness bloggers, choose a hotel with great wellness or workout facilities. Etc, etc. Again: PLEASE only email if you truly think your blogpost might get the hotel bookings.

Setting up a successful collaboration starts with choosing the right hotel for your blogs audience.

Also, please make sure you have the below, before you even so much consider emailing :).

    1. Your own domain
      Not a cold hard requirement, but I would REALLY recommend this. Why should a brand take your blog seriously if you don’t take your own site seriously? Or at least: not serious enough to own your own domain. If WordPress/Blogger owns your site they can take it down any time. If you have your own domain, it not only looks a lot more professional, but it also shows brands you mean business. And it only costs a few dollars!
    2. A professional looking email-address
      So like #1 this isn’t a cold hard requirement, but I would highly recommend it. Please don’t email with your address. It’s just… how would you feel if YOU hired someone with that email-address? Doesn’t exactly inspire confidence, right?

This guide tells you how you can work with hotels as a blogger. It includes tips and a handy email template so you can send smashing pitches.

How to structure your email:

An email should always answer more questions than it raises. So make sure your email is clear, complete and professional. Don’t write a great big novel, but also make sure you really sell this deal. Make sure they realize what an incredible addition you are to their business. These are the questions you need to answer in your pitch.

1. Who are you?

People want to talk to human beings, so please don’t forget to introduce yourself briefly, it’s the polite thing to do. Keep it short.

2. Why are you emailing?

Explain briefly what the reason is for your email. Most likely this will be because you are visiting a city on a certain date, and wanted to see if they work with bloggers, and would be willing to consider a collaboration with you.

3. What is your blog, what are your stats, and why is it a good match with the hotel?

Mention your blog, your stats & social stats (DO. NOT. LIE.) and explain why your blog is a good match with a hotel. For example: hotel X is a family friendly hotel in location X. Your readers are mostly females with families, and location X is a very popular holiday destination for your audience.

4. What are you asking for?

Are you asking for a discount or a free stay? For how many nights? And for how many rooms? Be clear. If this doesn’t work for the hotel, they will either say no (fair play to them!) or they will get back to you with a counter offer.

5. What can you offer in return?

Under promise, overdeliver. Don’t promise five hundred Instagram updates if you can only do two. Tell them if they are getting a blogpost review, or simply a mention in a destination article. Make sure there is no confusion about the deliverables, and then deliver them. If they held up their part of the arrangement, so should you.

6. Do you have examples of collaborations you’ve done before?

Any links to hotel reviews you have would be good, but please only send ONE link. Either to the most popular hotel reviews you have (the more comments under it from people wanting to book it, the better!) or to a category with your reviews in general. Mention how many hotel bookings you’ve delivered on previous collaborations.

BE AWARE that during the high seasons, many hotels can’t afford to do any complimentary stays with bloggers, as this is the time they have to make up for any losses during the winter season.


What is the best time to email hotels?
The earlier the better, but a year ahead of time is probably a bit much. I would say anywhere from six to two months before your stay. If your stay is coming up faster than that: just give it a shot, you’ve got nothing to lose. But accept they may not be able to arrange something for you. A lot of hotels have a certain amount of rooms they decidate to media stays per month, and if they’re all booked up, that’s it.

Do I need/send my mediakit?

I personally don’t think so. You’re mentioning everything that matters (name, stats, niche, examples of other collaborations) in the email, so there’s no read need for a mediakit that clutters up someones mailbox. You can always mention in your email that if they want your mediakit, to just ask, and you’ll send it.

How do I know who to email?

A lot of times you’ll email the general contact address which you’ll find on the hotel’s website, which is fine. But if you can find the marketing manager’s direct email, that’s even better. Even if you can’t find the direct email, it’s worth looking up the marketing managers name on LinkedIn, so you can at least use a personal ‘Dear X’ at the start of your email. All the little bits help :).

When do I need to follow up?

I would personally follow up two weeks after sending the email. Just casually remind them about your email, and ask if they’ve had a chance to take a look at it yet. If you’re pressed for time, one week is also fine. But please don’t send a follow-up email within a week of sending the initial pitch, that’s just desperate.

Do I need a contract?

I haven’t used contracts for most of my complimentary stays. If you want to though, you can use one that outlines what both parties are responsible for in this collaboration. This post by Alicia can get you started.

What are the minimum visitor numbers you need to get a complimentary stay at a hotel as a blogger?

There really is no set rule for this! So this is my personal preference, but I would wait until you have at least two to five thousand unique monthly readers (UV, not pageviews!), so you’re sure you have something to offer. The more the better obviously. But it’s more important if you have a great niche that’s a perfect fit for the hotel, and how engaged your audience is. If you have either, you have to really stress that. For example: I know a few hotels I’ve reviewed have gotten MULTIPLE bookings from my review, so I mention that :).

Finally: ALWAYS be polite. How you act in your email contact with the hotel  not only reflects upon you,  but upon ALL bloggers in general. Who knows… you might be the first blogger they’ve ever been in touch with, and if you’re rude, that might scare the hotel off of working with bloggers in general. The hotel may have very good reasons to say no to a collaboration, and if they do, please be graceful. You don’t want to be known for being rude (and as someone who works with bloggers at a company, yes, we gossip about you). Always take the high road and stay professional. Also understand that no matter how spectacular your email is, blogger collaborations aren’t the hotels main focus, so you’ll probably only get a small number of replies to your pitch.

If you’d like to see some of my (Dutch, sorry!) reviews of hotels, you can see them here.


I’m sure that with these tips, you’ll absolutely SMASH your first collaboration with a hotel, but to help you even more I’ve put together an easy to fill out e-mail format for you that you can use whenever you approach hotels for collaborations! All you have to do is fill in the blanks, and you’ll be sure to send a hard to resist pitch! Click below to buy it!

Have you ever written a blogpost about a complimentary stay?


This guide tells you how you can work with hotels as a blogger. It includes tips and a handy email template so you can send smashing pitches.



  • LisaLDN
    Posted 16 May, 2016 08:53 0Likes

    This is AWESOME, Milou! Super helpful :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 16 May, 2016 11:53 0Likes

      Thanks so much! Feel free to share if it helped :) I really hope it helps many bloggers!

      • mel
        Posted 16 April, 2017 16:51 0Likes

        Hi! I signed up but I haven’t received the template. Can you please help me?

        • Explorista
          Posted 18 April, 2017 09:34 0Likes

          Hi Mel, please email me! x

          • Ashley
            Posted 20 June, 2017 20:05 0Likes

            I am having the same problem as Mel!

          • Explorista
            Posted 22 June, 2017 15:26 0Likes

            Sent you an email!

        • Ashley
          Posted 6 August, 2017 10:54 0Likes

          same here!

      • tatiana
        Posted 15 August, 2017 17:36 0Likes

        This is great
        how do i get the email?

        • Explorista
          Posted 15 August, 2017 18:08 0Likes

          Sign up to the email list and it will send you a link to the email template. X

      • Ashley Brimer
        Posted 3 May, 2018 20:19 0Likes

        I am trying to get the email template and it’s not allowing me to purchase it. Every time I put in my CC info, it doesn’t allow me to purchase? Can you tell me how I can get this template?

        Thank you!

        • Explorista
          Posted 4 May, 2018 13:53 0Likes

          Hi Ashley!

          I’m not sure why that is happening. Have you tried a different browser? Sadly I don’t sell this template outside of Gumroad at the moment. Let me know if you continue to run into issues!

      • Shakti Rodriguezshakti
        Posted 9 July, 2018 17:43 0Likes

        I did purchase the template, but have yet to receive.

        • Explorista
          Posted 9 July, 2018 17:46 0Likes

          The email address you used for the comment is not in the list of buyers, which means payment has not come through and the sale was not completed. I would try again if I were you. Once payment has come through you will automatically receive it in your email.

          If you used another email to make the purchase, let me know, so I can double check that against the purchasers list.

    • Cornelis
      Posted 23 October, 2016 21:56 0Likes

      Thank you for reassuring me i’ve been doing a good job. I’m only blogging for a few months and always handled my e-mails like this. This method got me 3 hotel stays in Amsterdam and Budapest.

      • Daniella
        Posted 7 May, 2017 12:49 0Likes

        Hi Cornelis,

        I am planning a trip to Amsterdam and would like to pitch some hotels.
        Which hotel did you pitch for a stay?


    • Heather S
      Posted 24 March, 2017 01:27 0Likes

      I’m new to this so thanks for this super helpful post! I looked at some of the pictures from the Dutch hotels…wish I could read them!! The hotels look amazing!!

      • Explorista
        Posted 24 March, 2017 08:40 0Likes

        Thank you! I’m glad you found this article helpful :-)!

    • Hilary
      Posted 10 October, 2017 18:45 0Likes

      Hi! I’d love to check out your email template! Such great advice.

  • Annika
    Posted 16 May, 2016 12:21 0Likes

    From my experience emailing the general email address of the hotel is usually a waste of time unless the hotel is very small. Most places will have a media/press section with a direct contact or I send a tweet first asking for a contact person/email address. Also making good contacts with PR companies always helps as they will usually have multiple clients or hotels with properties in different places – once you can deliver good content for one of them, it is a lot easier to get repeat ‘work’ from that.

    • Explorista
      Posted 16 May, 2016 12:58 0Likes

      Hi Annika! In my experience it isn’t a waste, but then many hotels I’ve approached don’t have a PR section. If they have one though, that’s definitely better than the general email. Your tip about PR agencies is good too, although most of my contacts have been direct :)

    • Annika
      Posted 16 May, 2016 13:17 0Likes

      You stole my name!! This is also a really good tip, thanks so much.

  • Ed Troxell Creative
    Posted 16 May, 2016 14:35 0Likes

    Great post! Well laid out and the email format is ????

  • Helen @ Hel On Heels
    Posted 16 May, 2016 17:49 0Likes

    Wow! This is so helpful! Thanks for the awesome information!

  • Matea
    Posted 16 May, 2016 19:10 0Likes

    This is a perfect and super helpful post, thank you so much for sharing! :)
    Have a great week! xx

  • Ruthie Turner
    Posted 16 May, 2016 19:50 0Likes

    Hi Milou,

    Thank you for sharing your expertise knowledge on how to pitch to brands. As a newbie blogger based in Florida, I know I still have a lot to learn. BUT pitching to tourism boards and companies is on my list of things to do for this year. I’ve never pitched to a company before. Reason being, is I don’t have the numbers on my blog to show for. However, I am working on that.

    I’m looking forward to putting together an email to pitch to companies. Again, thank you for sharing!


  • Katie
    Posted 16 May, 2016 21:20 0Likes

    This is a very helpful posts! I’m interested in building up a section on my blog for travel, but I don’t really have much money to do so. I’ve always wondered how travel bloggers get their complimentary stays when they may be first starting out and now I’ve got great info on how to approach hotels. Thank you so much for putting this together!


  • Zaakirah
    Posted 16 May, 2016 21:46 0Likes

    Thank you!

  • Charlotte
    Posted 16 May, 2016 22:07 0Likes

    Great post as usual Milou! Love how detailed it is :)

  • Cigdem Depeli
    Posted 17 May, 2016 10:16 0Likes

    Ik ga me ook aanmelden! HAHAH! Ik heb zelf een eigen template die ik gebruik maar ben heel nieuwschierig naar hoe jij het aanpakt! Straks als ik thuis ben ook je volle artikeltje lezen! In iedergeval heel trots op je babes, keep up your good and hard work! liefs, cigdem

  • Sarah Barnes
    Posted 17 May, 2016 10:51 0Likes

    This is super helpful, it’s what I’ve been doing (with some success) but it’s great to know that I’m on the right track. I send a link to my Media Pack (uploaded onto Dropbox and the link shortened using that way people have it if they want to see it without clogging up their inbox :)

  • Sheena
    Posted 17 May, 2016 11:20 0Likes

    Thanks so much for such an informative post, Milou! I think new bloggers are generally apprehensive about how much we have to offer to ask for comp stays, but you’ve provided some great advice and that’s really encouraging! Thanks (:

  • Ida Pahus
    Posted 17 May, 2016 15:36 0Likes

    These are greats tips!! I have never worked with a hotel before but I would love to, though I don’t have that many followers. I hope I once will be able to work together with one!! That would be such a dream of mine coming true.

  • Lisa
    Posted 18 May, 2016 13:34 0Likes

    Thanks for posting (& the free download). I’m daydreaming of being able to do this and incorporate it to my blog, and hopefully someday I can make it a reality!

  • carla
    Posted 19 May, 2016 14:07 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing this, I will try with a budget friendly hotel in Cebu Philippines. Wish me luck and all the best to you too!

  • Shirley Hollick
    Posted 19 May, 2016 15:34 0Likes

    Great information. I have sent out a few queries similar to this without success, but I will keep on trying. What is your success rate? Also wondering if you ever ask for and receive complimentary flights or travel within a country?

    • Explorista
      Posted 25 May, 2016 16:26 0Likes

      Hi Shirley,
      I wouldn’t really have a percentage for you, but my success rate is quite high. I always keep an eye on hotels that have worked with bloggers before, as it helps if they’re already open to the idea. I would never ask the hotel to pay for my flights or transport, but in general you could use the pitch for that too, yes, for flight or transport partners! Good luck!

  • Soumya Nambiar
    Posted 19 May, 2016 21:24 0Likes

    Interesting. I had written something on similar lines a few weeks back.

  • Alicia
    Posted 22 May, 2016 17:06 0Likes

    This is such great advice. I can’t wait to use this to help out my viewers!

  • Samantha | There She Goes Again
    Posted 23 May, 2016 07:00 0Likes

    Milou, this post is awesome! I’m currently building up my Unique Visitors and my social media audience, but as I’ve been gradually nearing my goals, I’ve been wondering how exactly to go about contacting hotels or companies for collaborations. Thank you for taking the time to go through all of this!

    • Explorista
      Posted 25 May, 2016 16:27 0Likes

      I’m so glad you found the post helpful. You have a gorgeous blog and I’m sure you’ll be successful with this!

  • Megan
    Posted 25 May, 2016 20:34 0Likes

    Hi Explorista, my sign up hasn’t worked (I tried twice) but I’d love to receive this.


    • Explorista
      Posted 25 May, 2016 20:36 0Likes

      Hey Megan, I’m sorry to hear that. I’ll definitely email you the direct link, but just for my own understanding: are you having issues signing up to the email list, receiving the password or accessing the library :)?

  • Jackie
    Posted 1 June, 2016 02:29 0Likes

    This is such a great post! I’ve considered the idea, but haven’t had any real reason to look into approaching a hotel about a stay. I’m definitely going to keep this in mind for when the time comes.

    Thanks for sharing – seriously, I’ll bet a TON of people will find this super helpful


    • Explorista
      Posted 1 June, 2016 22:13 0Likes

      Thanks for your comments Jackie. Hope it helps you! Loved your blog :)

  • Hannah T.
    Posted 25 June, 2016 14:21 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing this!

    I will definitely be needing my own domain…

  • Riselle
    Posted 25 July, 2016 03:22 0Likes

    Excellent post. Super helpful. However I can’t seem to find the templates, even after I subscribed. Can you please point me in the right direction?

    • Explorista
      Posted 25 July, 2016 17:14 0Likes

      Hi Riselle, Thanks for getting in touch! You will find the template in my free library: The password is in the confirmation email. If you can’t find it: email me, and I’ll shoot it on to ya again! X

  • Cavaforlunch
    Posted 5 August, 2016 23:00 0Likes

    Great article! (Hopefully) very helpful xx

  • Alyson
    Posted 8 August, 2016 07:13 0Likes

    I think I know what I’m doing wrong ( I never even get replies) I’m shooting off emails, pretty much as you advise and with great viewing figures, just a few weeks in advance, we travel full time and never forward plan by months as you advise above. That would be impossible for us to do. Maybe I need to plan each country like a military operation if we want to free stays. Hmmm…something to think about. As I said on your pin, ll the promotions we’ve done, the hotels and villas have contacted us. We have a Google number 1 for SriLanka, so they come knocking.

  • Kendra
    Posted 25 August, 2016 03:25 0Likes

    Thank you so much for the information! I am looking to do the same thing to enhance my blog for my readers. I too am a newbie and I’m looking to grow my blog. I love traveling and I would love to turn it into my career!

  • D. Michael
    Posted 7 September, 2016 10:38 0Likes

    Great post. Thanks for sharing.

  • Dalal
    Posted 18 September, 2016 18:47 0Likes

    Thank you for the blog post, it gives me a boost to try my first pitch. Wish me luck ^^

  • Christina Boyce
    Posted 25 September, 2016 22:15 0Likes

    I can not thank you enough for this post. It was extremely informative and effectively helpful. I appreciate it.

  • Marcie
    Posted 27 September, 2016 00:40 0Likes

    This is very helpful! I’ve had luck pitching to PR firms for stays but I’m going to start approaching individual hotels. Thanks so much for the tips!

  • Stephanie
    Posted 11 October, 2016 15:51 0Likes

    Really nice post! We do it the same way :) We are always a little bit short on timing but hey it works a lot of time and we have good contacts over the world because of it.

    Posted 27 October, 2016 15:16 0Likes

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    by mistake, while I was looking on Bing for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a tremendous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design), I
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  • Maria
    Posted 4 November, 2016 08:48 0Likes

    Hi there! Very helpful post, I was researching how to approach hotels and this looks like a way to go :) I’ve done this in the past, back when I was working in the tourism industry. Kind of wrote to hotels on my own, saying I work for this company, and in order to sell your hotel better, I’d like to see it for myself. Got 3 nights in 3 different 5* hotels in Oslo – not too bad, considering their prices!
    Now, I’ve got a travel blog and slowly building my audience, so it might be time to try it out.
    Thanks again for all the helpful tips!
    Cheers, Maria

  • Christie
    Posted 8 November, 2016 05:48 0Likes

    Thanks for this post! Very helpful. Random question… I know the subject line is very important since it’ll be the reason they do or don’t decide to open it, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a good one. Can you share what email subject you use when you send these pitches? Thanks a million in advance :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 8 November, 2016 08:20 0Likes

      I usually go for something like ‘Blogger partnership (dates)’!

  • Dan
    Posted 11 November, 2016 23:31 0Likes

    Milou, thanks so much for sharing the great ideas outlined in your post. I have a website about Barcelona and I’m planning to pitch some Costa Brava hotels based on your tips!

  • lorena
    Posted 17 November, 2016 08:50 0Likes

    Thank you so much for your tips!!!! that’s what I was looking for! thanks for the templates as well.

  • Chalana
    Posted 22 December, 2016 14:08 0Likes

    Net dit artikel gevonden, bedankt voor de goede info en de template. Het is erg moeilijk als beginnende blogger en veel bloggers doen ook ‘geheimzinnig’ over dit soort dingen. Nogmaals bedankt!

  • Jerry / Escape the Mundane
    Posted 27 January, 2017 07:33 0Likes

    Hahahah! I had bookmarked this page a while ago to revisit later to get some tips. I read it again now and just realized that it was the Dutchess, who wrote this :D! Thank you for the great tips. I’ve done a lot of collaborations with hotels in the past, but getting them from other countries than Finland has proven very difficult. Hopefully this will help me break through the barrier. Thank you, Milou :)!

    • Explorista
      Posted 1 February, 2017 21:29 0Likes

      I’m sure you’ll do amazing my dear friend! Hope to see you soon again, somewhere!

  • Ankita
    Posted 6 February, 2017 12:57 0Likes

    I’ve followed pretty much all these tips in my emails for an upcoming trip. Fingers crossed. Wish me luck!

    • Explorista
      Posted 6 February, 2017 13:10 0Likes

      Good luck Ankita! Hope it works out for you :-) Also: loads of hotels never reply, so please don’t get discouraged!

  • Ella - Matkalla kaiken aikaa
    Posted 16 February, 2017 12:40 0Likes

    Thank you so much for this post! Our blog is still a baby but with these tips I managed to organize our first complimentary stay. Singapore, here we come!

  • Let's go to DR
    Posted 20 February, 2017 05:40 0Likes

    Thank you so much Milou for this post, I’m planning my first complimentary stay, but I didn’t have any idea, how to do it. I think this can help me a lot.

  • Peggy
    Posted 26 February, 2017 23:41 0Likes

    Very helpful, thank you for this!

  • Emily
    Posted 8 March, 2017 13:38 0Likes

    This is really helpful, thank you so much!

  • 纽约家庭旅馆
    Posted 12 March, 2017 06:10 0Likes

    Good post, gotta share!

  • Beach hotel Croatia
    Posted 19 March, 2017 09:29 0Likes

    Very nice and usefull post. Thank you!

  • dawn
    Posted 24 March, 2017 02:46 0Likes

    Just what I was looking for. I really appreciate you taking the time to share your knowledge. My blog has been around for years, but I am just starting to take it more seriously. I had thought I don’t have the numbers to work with hotels, but a blogger friend has encouraged me to give it a try. Hope I am not wasting my time!

    • Explorista
      Posted 24 March, 2017 08:42 0Likes

      You’re very welcome. It’s never a waste of time if you walk away with experience :-) Just remember if you don’t hear from a hotel it’s usually not personal!

  • Jessica
    Posted 31 March, 2017 16:15 0Likes

    Awesome! i need to get my UV rates up! I want to start pitching but I want a solid base… nice post and very helpfull

  • Kat
    Posted 4 April, 2017 14:15 0Likes

    I feel like a technical handicapped person, I cannot find the email template *facepalms*
    Any help? I have signed up to the newsletter, but to no avail!

    • Explorista
      Posted 5 April, 2017 13:27 0Likes

      Hi Kat! You should have received confirmation emails that hold the link to the page where you can find the template. Can you let me know if you did? :-)

  • Twana
    Posted 16 April, 2017 18:14 0Likes

    This is so awesome and so helpful! Im new at this but travel is my passion and this is what I want to do!!!
    I dont have a blog or website yet, but its in the works! How many followers you you suggest I get before I approach hotel?

    • Explorista
      Posted 18 April, 2017 09:39 0Likes

      Hey twana, probably at least 5,000. But it’s all relative. If you have a very strong niche (like safari’s or hiking) it could be less. But he most important thing is: you’re not doing this for yourself. You have to have actual influence to be able to help a hotel. Or else you are basically scamming the hotel if you know no one will be reading the post or booking the hotel :).

  • Caterina
    Posted 19 April, 2017 10:09 0Likes

    That’s great! Thank you! I’m in Miami the next month and trying to get a few hotel collabs, it’s really difficult. But sometimes it works. Thanks for your additional tipps and your nice post.

    • Explorista
      Posted 19 April, 2017 10:12 0Likes

      Hi Caterina, glad to hear you found the article useful. So happy to hear! X

  • Amy
    Posted 24 April, 2017 00:36 0Likes

    Hi There :)
    I signed up but the links just take me to newsletter signup. I was really after the email template?
    Thanks :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 24 April, 2017 12:54 0Likes

      Hi Amy, you have to sign up to the newsletter to access the template. XM

  • Dempsey Cappelle
    Posted 24 April, 2017 18:10 0Likes

    Really informative post!

  • olivier
    Posted 26 April, 2017 19:56 0Likes


    i signed up to your newsletterto get acces of your template but i dont recieve the email…

    • Explorista
      Posted 27 April, 2017 11:45 0Likes

      Hi Olivier! Feel free to email me at info at and I’ll send the link to you! :)

      • Sissy Kiriakou
        Posted 29 May, 2017 18:07 0Likes

        Hi !

        Your article was extremelly helpful. Altought even that I subscribed I didn’t get the free tamplate.

  • Eran
    Posted 28 April, 2017 20:21 0Likes

    Hi Milou,
    Great post!
    I’m traveling in about a month and only now got to read about this “pitching” thing. Do you think it makes sense to contact the hotel when I already booked a night there? Should I mention it in my email?
    I would like to hear from your experience…

    Also, in general, what email address would you use, personal or the blog’s one?

    • Explorista
      Posted 1 May, 2017 11:50 0Likes

      Hi Eran,
      You could certainly do that, you’ve got nothing to lose there :). Always use your blogs email address!

  • Cindy deRosier
    Posted 1 May, 2017 00:29 0Likes

    Thank you! This is so helpful. I’ve signed up for your newsletter.

  • clara
    Posted 16 May, 2017 18:40 0Likes

    Such a helpful post!

  • Leanne Holder
    Posted 19 May, 2017 19:17 0Likes

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been needing help on my emails for ages. I think stating about ‘heading to that location’ is a good idea!

  • Danny
    Posted 23 May, 2017 09:30 0Likes

    Hi all,
    I’m from Hotel NuVe Group, a hotel chain in Singapore. Let me know if anyone of you are visiting Singapore and we can definitely collaborate on something.

    • Explorista
      Posted 23 May, 2017 09:37 0Likes

      Now this is a lovely message. Thank you Danny! Super helpful!

  • Nicola
    Posted 9 June, 2017 11:16 0Likes

    Amazing post! Thank you so much for this!
    xx Nicki

  • Nadia
    Posted 19 June, 2017 19:31 0Likes

    Thank you very much for your post. I am working on expanding my “reviews” niche and was looking for ways to obtain products/services to review on. Your post is very helpful.

  • Michelle
    Posted 22 June, 2017 07:37 0Likes

    Great suggestions. I live in Hawaii and would love to blog about the hotels but staying there is too pricy and it’s hard to get the whole experience without staying – think I’ll try some of these techniques and see how it goes.

  • Kgosi
    Posted 22 June, 2017 14:11 0Likes

    Hi i signed up and i haven’t gotten the template

  • Martin Lois
    Posted 23 June, 2017 11:59 0Likes

    Nice post.

  • the adventurer
    Posted 26 June, 2017 21:51 0Likes

    This post is a life saver!! i had no idea what to write in my email or how to even begin writing! Thank you for sharing this with us =o)

  • The Travel Speak
    Posted 28 June, 2017 19:50 0Likes

    Hey, thank you for this post. I have a quick query, what if this is the first time and I haven’t reviewed any hotel earlier, but my blog/website is doing well ? As in what is I don’t have any previous collaboration, what to do then? Any suggestions would be welcome :)

    The Travel Speak

    • Explorista
      Posted 29 June, 2017 11:22 0Likes

      Hey Amar, that’s fine. There’s two ways to deal with this: the best one is to write a review of a hotel you’ve already stayed in and paid for yourself, so you have an example of your work. The second option is to just send them to an example of your general work, and describe in detail what you would deliver for them!

      Good luck!

  • Hannah withington
    Posted 7 August, 2017 15:14 0Likes

    Hi Milou!

    Great post, thank you for sharing! It’s really helpful.

    I am currently working with my friend Giulio Aprin (@giulioaprin on Instagram), in the hope of starting to progress his blogging into travel as currently it is more photography and lifestyle based. I would love to read your email template but when I try to sign up to the mailing list it keeps telling me I’ve already tried to sign up previously- which I haven’t. Any chance you could email it to me?

    Thanks so much!

  • Renata Alves
    Posted 11 August, 2017 00:07 0Likes

    Hello hello!
    This post helped me so much. I just started reaching out to some places with no results but I’m very confident in my email structure. If you EVER have a moment I would love to discuss it in private with you!
    Big success for the blog!

  • Juli Purcell
    Posted 18 August, 2017 23:08 0Likes

    Hi there! THank you so much for this post!
    I have a question:
    If they offer a reduced rate that is actually only about $10 less than their listed room rates, how would you counter?
    I have a following of 25k+ across my social media channels and average 50000 unique visitors a month on a page. I sent an email to my first collaboration hotel and they countered with a room rate of $135/night, But their online listed rate is $150 with a $10 discout if you are booking more than a month in advance… I don’t know how to respond???

    • Explorista
      Posted 21 August, 2017 10:18 0Likes

      Hi Juli! Thanks for your comment: sorry for the late response, I was spending the weekend offline at my parents house :). I would simply email them back saying: “I’m sorry, but at this moment in time we are only able to consider fully comped stays” or if the rate they offer is simply to high just say “I’m sorry, but the media rate does not work with my budget.”

      • Juli Purcell
        Posted 24 August, 2017 06:40 0Likes

        Thank you so much!!!

  • Christina
    Posted 23 August, 2017 17:06 0Likes

    Hi Milou.
    Such a great post! I am new at this, but I am sure your post can help me.
    I have signed up for your newsletter to get your template to pitching hotels, but I didn´t receive the confirmation email from you ?

    • Explorista
      Posted 23 August, 2017 17:13 0Likes

      Hi Christina, odd that you’re not getting it… can you email me and I will send you the template! :)

  • Mellie Michelle
    Posted 28 August, 2017 02:56 0Likes

    Thanks for this information. I’m in the process of pitching to hotels now. I’ve tried clicking on the image that states to get the PDF of the template. It’s not working. Keeps asking my to sign up. Anyway I can get that template? Thanks in advance!

    Mellie Michelle
    Beauty Blogger

    • Explorista
      Posted 28 August, 2017 08:18 0Likes

      Hi Mellie,

      That’s very odd, it works for me. Have you tried a different browser? If you email me proof of email list sign up I will gladly send you the pdf.

      Best wishes!

  • Anahita
    Posted 5 September, 2017 10:13 0Likes

    Thank you so much for this amazingly helpful post! I just wrote my first media stay email!

    Super grateful :)


  • Damian Philips
    Posted 6 September, 2017 08:31 0Likes

    Hi thank you so so much, this was really helpful and gained lot of information. we at believe in community travel blog . helps as network with bloggers worldwide . new concept from Sri Lanka works well. any travel blogger who is planning a trip to Sri lanka please contact us we will arrange the free stay as mentioned above. once again thank you so much Milou. hope we will work together soon :)

  • Kathy
    Posted 6 September, 2017 23:17 0Likes

    Hi there!

    Thank you SO much for this blog post. I don’t see where I can enter my email to receive the template. Can anyone help me? :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 11 September, 2017 13:26 0Likes

      Hi Kathy! Click the banner and you’ll be asked to fill in your email in exchange for the template :)

    Posted 8 September, 2017 23:19 0Likes

    Great read, I have been doing reviews in Spain but have ventured to the UK and was came across your article. Do you find that the way you approach a hotel varies from country to country or would you stick to the same method, many thanks, Chris @

    • Explorista
      Posted 11 September, 2017 13:27 0Likes

      Hi Chris! No, I actually tend to stick to the same plan of attack for each destination :)

  • Lisa
    Posted 9 September, 2017 14:21 0Likes

    Have clicked on the above link given and included my email. Have not received it yet though. Will it be alright if u can send it to (removed)
    Thanks so much for this very helpful tips. :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 11 September, 2017 13:27 0Likes

      Hi Lisa! If you email us, we will send it to you!

      Best wishes! X

  • Fawn E Rosenbohm
    Posted 17 September, 2017 14:47 0Likes

    Do you still have the free email template?

    • Explorista
      Posted 18 September, 2017 09:16 0Likes

      Yes, you get it once you sign up to the mailing list :)

  • Mary
    Posted 26 September, 2017 20:10 0Likes

    This is fantastic advice! I am a new blogger and this gives me hope that I might can work with hotels even though my numbers are not big right now. Thanks for the great article!

  • Aoiferosie
    Posted 26 September, 2017 22:18 0Likes

    Hi Explorista! Great blog post. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks now and it’s been working out great so far. My problem now is that I’ve have ended up in a small resort that I really don’t want to promote on my blog or social media as it’s awful. The people are nice enough but it’s unhygienic, full of mosquitos etc Have you any advice?

    • Explorista
      Posted 27 September, 2017 09:29 0Likes

      Hi! Is this anything you could have foreseen if you had done better research or just bad luck? It’s a lesson learned for sure! The way I approach it is I write honest reviews. So I write the pros and the cons to a place. If it’s really (almost) all bad, I would generally discuss it with the manager first to see if they’d like me to not post instead. So far, they’ve always appreciated a honest review. I always try and look at it in an honest way: things I’m not liking, may be great for someone else. I’m sure that mosquitos are just part of the area, for example, and you couldn’t really blame the hotel for it? However, hygiene would be.

      Good luck on your post!

      • Michael Taylor
        Posted 25 November, 2017 03:37 0Likes

        I’ve successfully pitched to hotels many times, but whenever it comes time to doing it, I get cold feet, which is how I found your post. A quick google search, and there it was! In my case, it provided confirmation that my approach was right – and a good check list to make sure I had not forgotten anything. But it did answer one nagging question: don’t bother with the press kit (unless asked, of course). The key information should be in the email (which should be short and sweet). And one more thing: provide a link to a previous post (if you have one). It’s all very good advice, especially the point about focus: what’s it in FOR THE HOTEL. One thing people forget is they are so focused on what THEY want to get out of the deal, they forget about looking at it from the hotel’s perspective. Now, if I can add a few points of my own … 1.) Having become friends with PRs at some hotels, I’ve learned that they generally won’t host someone if they are running running at 70% or more occupancy (unless you have a LOT to offer) so try to approach them for stays during the off season or slow periods. 2.) If you are a newbie with a small following, approach properties that have just opened. They are usually hungry for any publicity they can get. When my blog was just three months old and I only had a few hundred page views a month, I was offered an eight-night stay at a wellness resort, which included three meals a day, spa treatments, and classes. I’ve been at it for seven years now, and that STILL remains my most generous and lengthiest stay. I should emphasize that I hadn’t asked for this. They offered it. But I was generous too, doing a blog post each day of my visit, which I turned into a mini-series, linking the posts together. 3.) Cultivate personal relationships with PR agencies and PRs working at hotel groups, and try to get on their mailing lists. If you make yourself valuable to them (sharing their pix and news on Facebook or dropping names in blog posts never hurts), you will have a better chance of being invited on a press trip when they are looking for people to invite. Believe it or not, they can often have a difficult time finding suitable invitees!

  • Feetoutofbed
    Posted 14 October, 2017 16:16 0Likes

    Thank you for such a useful info! I’ve downloaded the template so now work work work to gain those thousands of UV :)

  • Emily
    Posted 18 October, 2017 22:07 0Likes

    So helpful!! Thank you so much! Crossing fingers it will work!

  • Eniola Aina
    Posted 25 October, 2017 11:43 0Likes

    Oh wow. Thank you so much

  • Linh Phan
    Posted 6 November, 2017 05:51 0Likes

    Hi! I am in the process of partnering up with one of my friend who has a blog and seeking for an complimentary stay for my birthday week. I emailed you and hopefully to hear back from you soon. I greatly appreciate it.

  • Matthew
    Posted 12 November, 2017 01:46 0Likes

    Hello Milou

    We are a Thailand based travel company operating under 3 different names. We actively encourage bloggers to contact us and offer free or discounted trips to bloggers. More information can be found on our websites:

    Hope this will be useful to some of your readers!

  • Kanyi
    Posted 13 November, 2017 13:45 0Likes

    Awesome tips. Very helpful

  • Becci Abroad
    Posted 16 November, 2017 06:24 0Likes

    Great and very well-written post! Thank you so much for sharing! Thus, I would like to highly stress the importance of delivering what you promised – and delivering it more or less quickly. I used to work at hotels and hostels, and especially one of my managers were happy to let bloggers stay for free. But unfortunately, he stopped being so pleased about it simply because the bloggers weren’t delivering their part… So please please guys; if you are serious about it! Cool! But if you don’t have time/take the time to do the review, don’t ruin it for the rest of us. Don’t think my former manager is that different from any other hotel manager out there.

    Thanks for a great post! :)

  • tanya selden
    Posted 16 November, 2017 16:08 0Likes

    Hi, thank you very much for this post and all the tips. It is super helpful as I am very new to this.

  • Amy
    Posted 20 December, 2017 00:56 0Likes

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have a question: when you are planning a trip, do you contact multiple hotels for the same set of dates, or contact one and wait for a response? There are several that I’m interested in but I didn’t know if it would be poor form to contact more than one at a time (in separate emails, of course).

    • Explorista
      Posted 20 December, 2017 11:20 0Likes

      Hi Amy! It’s totally fine to email multiple hotels at the same time. You’ll find that many of them won’t reply, so it’s always good to not waste your time in reaching out to multiple properties. Plans change, so it’s no problem to let them know you are not able to stay with a hotel after all if two of them confirm for the same dates (as long as you give them plenty of notice).

      • Amy
        Posted 20 December, 2017 19:29 0Likes

        Thank you!

  • Kennedy
    Posted 9 January, 2018 09:58 0Likes

    Could you be kind enough and Forward me The Email Template Sample on how to approach hotels as a Blogger.


    • Explorista
      Posted 9 January, 2018 20:43 0Likes

      Excuse me? I’m sharing a huuuuge article full of extensive advice available for free for anyone who needs it. Anyone who wishes to get the exact email template I use can download it for an small fee of 99 cents. Why do you think you shouldn’t have to pay for it? I find your request ungrateful. If you wish to get the email template, you can purchase it like anybody else.

    Posted 15 January, 2018 10:21 0Likes

    I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your site.
    It seems like some of the written text within your posts are running
    off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let
    me know if this is happening to them too? This could be a
    issue with my browser because I’ve had this happen before.

    Many thanks

  • Caroline
    Posted 28 January, 2018 16:40 0Likes

    This really helped :) Thank you for sharing your tips!

  • Ana
    Posted 1 February, 2018 02:52 0Likes

    Thanks so much Caroline for such a great post! :) Really helpful now that I am about to ask for my first complimentary stay after 2 years working on my blog! ^^

    All the best!


    • Explorista
      Posted 1 February, 2018 02:54 0Likes

      My name is Milou, lol. I hope you do your research better when you start pitching! ;-) X

  • Jeannette
    Posted 9 March, 2018 16:09 0Likes

    Hello! I am unable to click on anything to get your template. Am I missing it? I am on my mobile viewing your page. Please advise, thank you!

  • Heather
    Posted 19 March, 2018 22:54 0Likes

    Hello! What if you are new at blogging? Is it required to have a website? I know alot of bloggers or influcers just use Instagram or FB as a website. Also do you need to have a huge following in order to be considered for hotels or just content on your page?

    • Explorista
      Posted 21 March, 2018 04:02 0Likes

      If you’re new to blogging you are probably not going to provide much value to the hotel, let alone bookings. Remember: this is not about getting a free tip, this is about collaboration in a valuable exchange of services! If you have a large and engaged IG that’s fine too (at least 50K+ followers, I’d say), but if you know deep down you won’t get any bookings for the hotel, then please don’t reach out to them as it will devalue blogger collaborations as a whole :).

  • Chandler
    Posted 3 April, 2018 19:16 0Likes

    This is extremely helpful thank you! A couple of questions, what do you put in the subject line of the email? And would you recommend asking for a complimentary stay OR a discounted rate in the email? Or is that kind of setting you up for the lesser? I’m still fairly small so I don’t want to be too enthusiastic and defer them away

  • Inna Laurie
    Posted 16 April, 2018 15:29 0Likes

    Great and very well-written post! Thank you so much for sharing! Thus, I would like to highly stress the importance of delivering what you promised – and delivering it more or less quickly.

  • Vanessa
    Posted 1 May, 2018 17:53 0Likes

    What advice would you give to those who are looking to start a travel blog?

  • Marie
    Posted 17 May, 2018 20:41 0Likes

    Thanks for sharing your tips! As you said, the approach is key. However, I think it is ill-advised to not reach out for comped rooms even when you are starting out. I started my blog about 10 days ago. I am planning travel in about 10 days. I reached out to 13 hotels in the area where I am traveling and my third response was a yes! I didn’t mention I am new, or starting out, and I’m not even a travel blogger. I just said what I am doing in town and that I would love to feature a local hotel while I feature their local donut shops. The manager I emailed was more than happy to oblige. I can’t wait!

    • Explorista
      Posted 18 May, 2018 09:40 0Likes

      Congratulations on your new blog! I stick by what I said in the article. For most new bloggers with no following it’s difficult to drive any bookings, and therefor offer ROI. That hurts the industry and is not a win-win collaboration, but usually comes from a selfish act (wanting a free hotel room). That’s not how to do it.

      You do have a very good angle and very tight niche, so things are better in your scenario and I can see why hotels would want to work with you. Good luck on your stay! Your idea of starting local is a GREAT one!

  • Tricia
    Posted 24 May, 2018 15:05 0Likes

    Appreciate all of your tips! I’m considering pitching hotels for a family vacation and wasn’t quite sure where to start. This is extremely helpful and I’m confident I’ll have success following your tips. It’s very generous of you to share this information with the rest of the blogging world, so THANK YOU!


  • Carmen
    Posted 15 June, 2018 00:23 0Likes

    Hi! How can I download the template? I don’t see it!

    • Explorista
      Posted 17 June, 2018 12:40 0Likes

      You can click the links in the article, or the file under it :-)

  • James
    Posted 18 July, 2018 13:31 0Likes

    Such a nice blog, I really appreciate your effort. Thanks for sharing this blog.

  • maria
    Posted 20 July, 2018 18:56 0Likes

    any suggestions on how to reply if a hotel “we will not be moving forward with this opportunity” ?


    • Explorista
      Posted 20 July, 2018 19:20 0Likes

      “Ok, thank you for your time. Please do let me know should things change in the future”.

  • yasmin
    Posted 1 August, 2018 07:58 0Likes

    This was super helpful just bought the template and will be sending it out to a few hotels in dubai thanks for the help :D

  • Kim
    Posted 1 August, 2018 08:12 0Likes

    How do I get the template?

    • Explorista
      Posted 2 August, 2018 18:06 0Likes

      You can buy it on Gumroad via the links in the article!

  • Clare
    Posted 7 August, 2018 07:33 0Likes

    This is great advice. I’m curious, I run 2 Facebook groups & have over 14k members, I am extremely active & people love my advise, do you think that it makes it a more attractive offer? I was comped 7 nights at 2 hotels last month, they came to me. I want to go back later in the year & stay somewhere else do I mention that others have comped me? Thanks

    • Explorista
      Posted 7 August, 2018 07:54 0Likes

      It would make sense to show examples of collaborations you’ve done in the past, and the results that’s gotten, yes!

  • Christina
    Posted 15 August, 2018 01:59 0Likes

    I purchased this but haven’t received anything! Please help :)

    • Explorista
      Posted 15 August, 2018 09:35 0Likes

      Hi Christina! If you used the email address that you put with this comment for the sale too, the sale hasn’t come through! That’s why you haven’t received anything :) i’d try again if I were you!

  • Sarah
    Posted 20 August, 2018 23:58 0Likes

    Thank you for this! I’m working on an internship right now where my boss has recommended that I do this, but hasn’t given me too much info on how to go about it. This was very helpful!

  • Ashok Yadav
    Posted 14 September, 2018 04:13 0Likes

    Can we get complimentary stay against review OR SEO Re-Touch?
    Do you have a email template for the purpose?

    • Explorista
      Posted 14 September, 2018 09:11 0Likes

      Hi Ashok, sure, SEO services, why not? I think you’ll have better luck with smaller hotels though, as big chains will already have digital marketing departments. A free stay against a review if you don’t have a platform, I don’t think will work. Hotels get plenty of reviews as it is, plus it’s technically illegal on Tripadvisor, I believe, to review something you’ve gotten sponsored. I don’t have a template for barter deals with services, but you could probably amend the template to fit your own services!

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