Looking for a travel sponsorship? Wondering how bloggers travel the world so much? Want to know how I have travelled to over 25 countries without any permanent source of income? If yes, then this blog is for you!
But first things first… if you are new to this blog let me introduce myself. I am Dev, a full-time travel blogger from New Delhi, India. In 2016, I quit my corporate career in England, moved to India and became a nomad. I’ve been travelling and writing on this blog ever since.
Newspapers like TOI and ET and many others have moreover written about me, featuring my journey as a blogger. Read this page for more. I have travelled to 25+ countries in the last 4 years, with almost all my journeys being sponsored.
If you are wondering who are travel sponsors. They can be anyone in the travel industry: a country tourism board, an airline, a hotel chain, or a tour company.
If you’re looking for more tips on why they provide travel sponsorship, I have written another blog post on how to find travel blogging sponsorships that will set you going on why they sponsor travel bloggers in the first place. This blog will also help you understand a few basics that we are going to skip in this blog.
Here’s another useful resource if you want to know specifically about tourism boards and how to contact them.
Please note that if you are looking for travel sponsorships as a travel writer, especially a blogger, then only this article is going to make sense. If you had another definition in mind, then a few things may sound irrelevant. But nevertheless, there’s no harm in reading.
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Now, coming back to the topic at hand…
When I became a blogger in 2016, all my trips were self-sponsored.
Later, as I became a travel influencer, brands started reaching out to me for promoting them on my channels. And this is how it all began!
I have even earned a Scuba diving certification, learned snowboarding, and tried sky-diving, all without spending a dime.
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Getting Travel Sponsorships Takes More Than Just Impressive Numbers On Your Blog!
As I started blogging, (in January 2016) I thought, “if I will keep writing great content, increase my blog readership and gain an impressive number of followers on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram, I’m going to succeed. People will notice me, and travel companies will run after me asking if I can promote their brand”. Though I am not claiming that it was an incorrect way of becoming a successful blogger. But it was not entirely correct, either.
In the last few months (precisely speaking, after July 2016) I’ve realised that there’s more to blogging than just getting impressive traffic, or writing great content. I mean you sure want good numbers to for getting travel sponsors (or paid gigs) but if you’re investing all your time in improving the figures, and are not approaching the sponsors on your own — writing at least 10 emails per day — you’re not doing yourself any favour. You’re only losing hope, slowly, every day.
This particularly applies to new bloggers — those who are still taking baby steps in establishing their identity.
If you haven’t started a blog yet and are thinking to start one, here’s a detailed travel blog I have written on How To Start A Travel Blog In India.
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How Much Traction Is The ‘Minimum Required Traction’ Before You Can Start Contacting Brands?
Though there is no ideal number, I believe that once you start getting a couple of hundred page views per day on your blog, and have at least over 5 thousand likes on your different social media networks like Facebook and Twitter – you’re ready to approach travel sponsors.
Start Writing To Travel Companies And PR Agencies!
Understand what kind of travelling you’re into. Search for the companies working in your niche (for example motorbiking, adventure travel, backpacking, luxury getaways etc) and start pitching them.
Send them an email introducing yourself and your blog, and how you can help redirect your readers to their website. Be very precise with numbers.
Speaking of how to contact travel sponsors and make sure you get travel sponsorship, here are a few practices…
1. Crafting The Right Email
When I had initially started approaching companies for travel sponsorships, my email often sounded more like a request — having no authority at all. Following a little introduction, I would use sentences like “Since I am travelling in your city next, I was thinking if you’d be interested in working with Footloosedev. Any help (regarding accommodation/activities etc) would be greatly appreciated”. And the template worked just well. I got around 30 per cent replies to my emails – this makes 3 replies for every 10 emails. Not a bad figure at all.
I think it was because the term “any help” gave the other party the upper hand, from small startups to big companies, and they at least replied. Often, it wasn’t a very beneficial deal, but it didn’t matter. Because initially, it was all about scoring more and more sponsors and building my portfolio.
- Keep your email short and crisp, and include all additional information.
- Read: How To Create A Media Kit For A Travel Blog
2. Write More Emails. Contact More Travel Sponsors
Since July, the time I realised I should start pitching sponsors, I have been writing about at least 10 emails per day, when I’m not travelling. Some days I even write over 20 or 30. The point here is, when you’re new in the business, you got to reach out to people, and tell them who you are, and how you can bring value to their business.
I wrote about 50 emails for my Goa and South India trip – I found 5 sponsors (in 2016).
I wrote about 50 emails for my Gujarat trip – I found 3 sponsors (in 2017).
I’ve written about 50 emails for my upcoming Europe trip – have found 4 sponsors (in 2017).
If it wasn’t for the first email from my side, I would still be travelling without and travel sponsorship. During my 58 days Europe trip, I spent only 70,000 Rupees including my flight and visa costs). How did it happen? Because of travel sponsorships and free travel. Read more about it here: 2 months Europe travel in less than 70,000 Rupees.
3. Contact Tourism Boards
When I had initially started blogging, and found other bloggers working with Tourism Board, I always thought that it will take at least two to three years to persuade a Tourism Board to sponsor my trip. But I was wrong!
It’s true that top travel bloggers always have better prospects than you but working with tourism boards isn’t a tough deal to crack.
The first-ever Tourism board I worked with was Goa Tourism Board, and it was when they were organising an annual blogging event, inviting a group of bloggers from across the world. At the time they were hosting the bloggers’ trip, I luckily ended up writing them an email. And I happened to be lucky. One blogger had to cancel her trip because of some reason and I got a chance.
So yea, keep contacting tourism boards, and you never know if they invite you on a FAM trip as a travel blogger. I have shared a link to my other blog on how to contact tourism boards for travel sponsorships.
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Give Blogging Some Time
Last but not least, blogging tests your patience like a slow, uphill journey. So be prepared for it!
Before I started blogging, I found almost 90% of (travel) bloggers claiming that it took them at least ten months before they started getting sponsored trips – while many lost the fight before they even turned 10 months old.
If you look at the industry at the moment, most of the successful travel bloggers out there have been doing it for the past few years – some for as many as 5 or 7 years, or even more.
Travel blogging requires a tremendous amount of work, as well as a tremendous investment of time and effort before you begin to see any benefits.
But on the bright side, remember that the travel industry is the fastest-growing industry in the world. No automobile, no banking, no retail industry is growing as faster. There are hundreds and thousands of travel startups entering every day – looking for new and cheaper means of marketing. And what could be better than promoting their brand on a website which is delivering its posts to a few thousand people, every month – almost 90% of whom are only interested to know about travel, right? And that’s when travel bloggers come into the picture. We Are Needed! And There’s No Denial To This Fact!
Further Reading: How I Make Money Travel Blogging