How to get a complimentary hotel stay as a Travel Blogger

See also: How to get a complimentary hotel stay as a travel blogger – 2017 Edition

Blogging can be a really good tool in traveling for free. I’ve been here in Latin America for two years now and partnerships with hotels/hostels have helped me a lot. The first time I did this was three years ago, in Africa, where Megan, a good friend from the travel blogging community taught me how to.

I didn’t realize that this could really work because of my lack of experience. I sent a message to almost 10 hostels in Marrakech, Morocco and surprisingly, I received remarkable responses! And today, I am going to teach you how you can do it too! Whether you’re a newbie or a professional blogger, this sample letter will help!

E-mail Subject

… should be direct to the point. What is your goal in working with the company you are tapping for partnership? What is this e-mail message all about? The key: think of a strong subject that will make a Marketing Manager read your message.

Ex. Media Inquiry: Interested To Feature (Hotel Name) In A Digital Travel Magazine

By the way, the example above is what I frequently use. The strong points of this subject are the words ‘feature’ and ‘digital travel magazine’. Why would you want to say “digital travel magazine” if you think you are just an ordinary blogger? Well, my friend, if you are new to this, in the professional world, we are considered travel writers. The way you present your blog to potential companies should be in a very professional way.

In the subject, make sure to include the hostel name so they will know that the message is really meant for them. This will also give them the impression that somehow, you’ve read about what their company is all about.


Simple and easy: address the Marketing Manager with their first name. How will you know their names? Research. More often than not, company websites include the names of the point person. If in any case it’s nowhere to be found, use this as a salutation:

To The Marketing Manager: (Hotel Name).


What could be a good way to start your message? Present yourself, of course! When sending e-mails to people you’ve never worked with (or met) before, saying something about yourself will make them comfortable. Do it brief and after that, you can include the reason why you are writing to them. Here’s an example:

I am Trisha Velarmino, a travel journalist and I run the popular travel blog P.S. I’m On My Way. I am writing to you today in the hopes of securing a sponsored stay at your hotel in return for extra online exposure. I am looking to secure 3 nights and 4 days in your hotel from (date) to (date) and I would like to talk to you about featuring your hotel at my website.

We say, “popular travel blog” to give them an impression that you are one of the best that is currently within their proximity and that, it’s the best chance to grab the opportunity for collaboration. Please be honest and precise about the dates you are arriving so it will be easy for them to check availability. If you are a flexible traveler, it’s best if you adjust to their calendar.

Paragraph 1

Talk about your blog. I know it’s hard to compare but what makes you different? What makes you special? Educate the company about what types of articles do you write and what they can pick up from your content. I am not an adventure traveller, to be honest. However, I still write this:

My Website

P.S. I’m On My Way is a rapidly growing travel blog focused on empowering women to travel the world, providing useful travel tips, inspiration and advice to my specific demographic. As a Filipina journalist, my professional expertise sets me apart from other travel blogs. This blog is a trusted resource for travel tips and destination guides, and is interesting in presenting the best locations, attractions and accommodations in each area I visit. I have reviewed a lot of hotels/b&bs in South America and it helped them with their online presence. If you want to see samples, click (insert link). My website has a loyal following and a very engaged audience which can be attributed to my expertise in social media.

I wrote “My Website” on top of the second paragraph to make sure the Marketing Manager will have a clear idea of what I am doing. In this case, it is advisable to give links to the previous reviews you made for other hostels.

Paragraph 2

You cut off your first paragraph with the phrase “my expertise in social media.” Not discussing or articulating this on that paragraph will make them read more and more — because maybe, just maybe, they are really interested and are desperate for online exposure.

In the second paragraph, a continuity of the first, talk about your social media experience. How many followers do you have? Is your audience interactive? Let them know that you can really offer them something in terms of this field. See example below:

What I Can Offer You:

In exchanged for a sponsored stay, I can offer you the best advertising money can buy — word of mouth. You will receive:

A professionally written blog post featuring high quality photos dedicated my time with you, including a permanent link to your website and social media pages;

  • Facebook photos, videos and status updates during my visit (8,000 + fans);
  • Tweets during my visit (10,000+ followers);
  • Instagram photos/videos during the visit; and
  • TripAdvisor Review (I am a Senior Reviewer)

Additionally, I can also utilize my social media presence on YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon.

Closing Paragraph

Well. Close. Briefly please, as they might be tired of reading your e-mail. If they finished reading until the bottom, then you’re lucky! This is a good closing paragraph:
Thank you for taking time to read my proposal. I know your time is valuable and I greatly appreciate you considering my inquiry. I look forward to hearing from you and further discussing how we can work together. Have a fantastic day!
Important things to remember:
  • Always provide a link to your website. I am pretty sure you know how to link your blog name to it’s URL. Remember that this is very important! Every time your blog name is mentioned, it should be anchored. Ex: “P.S. I’m On My Way is a rapidly growing travel blog focused on empowering women to travel the world, providing useful travel tips……………”
  • Be mindful about copying/pasting. I remember sending this to 10 hotels in Cartagena, Colombia not minding about changing the subject and the salutation. Yes, I use the same e-mail format to all complimentary hotel stay transactions and I’ve learned my lesson about putting “Hi Karla!” to my salutation but the name of the person is Marina. I was sending it really fast so I didn’t have the chance to change some important information. I’ve learned my lesson and I am passing it to you as early as now — PROPER NOUNS are really important.
Ready to send your first complimentary hotel stay e-mail? Good luck and if you have any questions, you can leave it on the comment box below or e-mail me at trishavelarmino[at]gmail[dot]com and I will try my best to help!

Trisha is one of those people who left their comfortable life to travel the world and learn about life. Her style is to stay in one place she likes for 3 months (or more) to know what it feels like to eat, cook, speak, and sleep in another culture that isn’t hers. She'd like to believe she's not traditionally traveling but she just chooses to be somewhere else all the time. In no particular order, her favorite cities in the world are Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Hong Kong, Mexico City, and Tel Aviv.


  • August 15, 2015

    What a great and informative post! It´s made me wonder of the kinds of emails I can write to get some sponsored things. Thank you for the inspiration!

  • August 15, 2015

    Great suggestions! Just looking to amp up our game in this area and you’ve offered some great tips to get us changing things up a bit!! We’re going to revamp our typical email and cross our fingers!!

  • August 16, 2015

    And that is how you do it. Great tips for even the professional travel writer with a website. Particularly better for the writer with a new blog or website.

  • August 16, 2015

    Wow! Totally bookmarking this post! I’m new to this – and I think your post is going to help me a lot to get in touch!

  • Laura Lynch
    August 16, 2015

    I would also add to make sure that the hostel or hotel fits your brand before querying them, which also shows you’ve done your research. And make sure you proofread your letter for grammar mistakes

  • zof
    August 16, 2015

    Thank you Trisha! I’ve cooperated with several hotels and hostels, but my letters were usually a bit different. Your post made me realize what I should change.

  • August 17, 2015

    Hi Trisha,
    Great info !
    Our approach is quite similar 🙂 We also add a link to our Media Kit.

  • August 17, 2015

    That is very concise and to the point Trisha, which is the way it should be. You don’t want to be wasting anyone’s time.

    I’ve had quite a bit of success pitching to brands over the last few months with a similar email. I never really thought of using the term “digital travel magazine” before which I suppose would be suitable for some bloggers but I don’t really see that for myself.

  • August 18, 2015

    This was perfect timing! I’m working at getting better at reaching out to brands and hotels that I would be interested in presenting to my readers and experiencing. Thank you! Professionalism and attention to detail (not copy and pasting) is really crucial as you’ve said!

  • August 22, 2015

    Thanks for this post. It is informative and very useful. We are getting to the point of begiing to approach some folks so this will come in handy.

  • November 12, 2015

    Very useful tips. I like your smart technique on the email subject. Will try your technique out when we ask for hotel/tour sponsorship. I can’t stop giggling over your template/copy-paste mistake; I was also a victim of that practice.

  • December 2, 2015

    Hey Trisha,

    Found your blog through the workaway blog. My boyfriend and I are avid workawayers!! We set up our blog to update our family and friends but it’s great getting into the travel blogging community!
    How much traffic would we’d need for hostels/hotels for them to consider us do you think??

    Thanks 🙂

  • January 6, 2016

    Hi Trisha thank you for sharing this post, very informative. I will definitely use some of your tips when contacting hotels/hostels.

  • February 10, 2016

    Thank you so much! I found this really informative so hopefully I’ll start getting some responses now!

  • somesh
    March 5, 2016

    sounds like a good approach. thanks a lot for sharing your insights Trisha.

  • March 29, 2016

    Love it! I am actually starting to ask for sponsored stays and hopefully my website will grow! Thanks for the tips! xx

  • darren
    July 25, 2016

    Even if you went to a non-sponsored hotel, do you write a review for them on ur website?

  • Eve
    August 26, 2016

    Isn’t this way too long for them to read? My pitch is 500-600 words, quite similar to yours but more straight to the point just detailing what I offer and my stats, I get no responses (hit rate 20%) which made me think that my email is far too long.

    How long should a pitch be?

  • August 30, 2016

    Amazing! Thank you for this. Very helpful tips!

  • October 18, 2016

    Very informative and inspiring writing, Trisha. Thank you.

  • October 22, 2016

    Thank you Trisha, am glad I found this post, very helpful tips and oo let me add that you’re a good writer.

  • DarrenW
    February 14, 2017

    Do you send out to all your stay-list hotels at once? Or do you try the 2nd hotel after the first one rejected you and so on?

    If you send out all at once, what if a few hotels agree to your complimentary stays?

  • Andi Comia
    April 14, 2017

    Gonna try this out now na! thank you so much Trish for the detailed post!

  • April 25, 2017

    Hello Trish! This really made my day. As a travel blogger who wanted to make a mark in the travel industry, this article is an eye opener for me. I will pencil this down and take note of this. This is a savior for me. 🙂 I will improve my pitches from now on. 🙂

    Im working at Waterfront Cebu City Hotel. You might wanna stay here 🙂

  • June 30, 2017

    Hi Trisha, Thank you so much for writing this post. It is so helpful to us travel bloggers, and also, provides us useful reminders of what to do and not to do.

  • July 10, 2017

    Trisha this is so very helpful. I appreciate you sharing your experience and resources with us! Reading this post has given me the confidence to craft my own pitch letter. Thanks again!

  • July 17, 2017

    Hey girl, I just want to thank you for this piece of essential information. I loved this post. I have a travel blog, written in Portuguese though and honestly, I have never had the courage to ask for a partnership. I just felt that since my blog isn´t that big yet (it´s growing though), I thought that hotels would be interested in. But after reading that, I´ve changed my mind and next trip will give a try following your tips 🙂

  • Emi
    January 2, 2018

    Thanks a lot, very useful post!
    I’m about to send my first inquiry to a hotel in Indonesia, wish me good luck 😉

  • April 20, 2018

    Thanks! This was helpful. Will work with this Info now. I love your writing style by the way: straight up to the point! Made me enjoy reading it!

  • July 22, 2018

    Thanks for sharing! I just started my travel blogging as a hobby because I have a permanent job. Reading your article made me realize that I should take writing seriously.

  • September 28, 2018

    #OMG!!! Thanks Trisha. Recently started travel blogging and this was exactly what I needed. Sent it off to my first hotel and got a yes. (Happy Dance!!!)

  • Elen Mai
    February 18, 2019

    This is such an insightful walkthrough to approaching brands and businesses! I used this as a rough guide to writing emails I send to hotels and it actually landed me a complimentary one night stay on the very first try. So thank you so so so much Trisha – I owe it all to you! x
    El | Welsh Wanderer

  • Gary
    July 20, 2019

    Why does Trisha not respond to these many comments? What a shame.


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P.S. I'm On My Way is a blog by Trisha Velarmino. She didn't
quit her job to travel the world. She made a job out of traveling and you can do it, too.

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