Note: Travel partnerships and sponsorship are used synonymously in this blog post.
It wasn’t until almost two years into being a travel influencer that I took myself and my brand seriously enough to start pitching brands. Yes, people were reaching out to me, but I was getting tired of spending my resources for travel, especially with a strong brand. #ToBeHonest
When first starting to pitch Brands to land my first sponsorships, it was like shooting blanks in the dark.
Finally, sitting down and putting some strategy together and doing real research, and lots of trial-and-error, I was able to get a one-time partnership with an airline which landed me in Thailand, which then led to a year-long contract!
You’re probably thinking, “Well Rachel. My blog/podcast/ YouTube channel isn’t large enough for anyone to take me seriously.”
Listen.
I thought the same thing.
While vanity numbers are helpful, it’s not necessarily the most important thing. But we will talk about that in the Live Course.
While there are a lot of elements to consider, you must first get in the door.
By this, you must find the right contacts (PR rep, Marketing manager, general manager, etc.) who will give you quick and immediate responses.

Here Are 4 Easy Ways to Find the Right Contacts to Land Your First Travel Partnership:

1) Do Your Due Diligence and Research:

The first thing you want to do is to study the type of brand and organization you are pitching and understand their structure.
Let’s take a hotel as an example:
You have super large chain brands and there are small, boutique and/or mom and pop owned hotels.
a) Large Scale Hotel Chains: For a big-name, chain hotel, there is a 9/10 chance that you’ll have to go through an entire process to work with the said hotel. While there may be a property that you would like to stay in, you would likely have to reach out to Corporate HQ, fill out a form, get approved, etc. etc.
Or, depending on a certain project, you’d have to be connected to a PR agency.
Pro Tip: Large hotels like this typically take a long time to get a response.
My personal advice: When securing your first travel sponsorship, focus on smaller, boutique properties.
b) Smaller, boutique properties: Oh, how I love working with smaller properties. For starters, the service is typically amazing, you have the opportunity to develop real relationships with the management, owners, and staff, and you’re more likely to get a quick response.
These types of properties, you want to search their site to see who are the listed contacts. Start in the “Contact” area or SiteMap.
When you see a Public Relations or Marketing contacts listed, that is who you want to pitch first. If it is a very small property, and only a Manager (or owner) is listed, then contact them directly.
** This is much less work than going through corporate red tape for a three-night stay at a large hotel.
 

2) Ask For the Right Contact:

If you’re serious about landing your first travel sponsorship and partnership, then you cannot be shy and timid about getting what you want. One of the easiest ways to find the right contact is to ask straight out. *whispers*, I only actively use Twitter solely for this reason.
Sticking with the hotel example. Say you’ve researched a ton of properties to work with in Paris and don’t necessarily feel like combing through their website –> tweet or Facebook message their fan page and say,
 
Hello! I am ______. A travel [blogger, podcaster, vlogger, influencer, etc] and I would love to a partner with [insert name of property/tour/restaurant/ tourism board/etc], as I’ve done research and I think we are a great fit for collaboration. Who is the right person to contact for this? Thanks!
 
Listen.
Ask for what you want. If the property is active on social media, you have a 7/10 chance of a response for the RIGHT contact email! That’s pretty impressive!

3) Use Your Bestie Google:

While this strategy takes a bit more work, it’s a great place to start and see who works with travel influencers. By law, travel bloggers have to mention and credit whoever sponsored or compensated them. And we typically always say the same thing.
GOOGLE: “all opinions are my own” “[insert name of city]” (hotel, tour, restaurant, etc)
So it would look something like: ‘all opinions are my own’ ‘Paris’ ‘hotel’
 

4) Leverage LinkedIn:

Surprisingly, a lot of people don’t mention this method to finding the right contacts to securing your first travel sponsorship. I’m unsure why because LinkedIn is lit, lit, lit.
When it comes to finding the right contacts to land your first travel partnership,  LinkedIn is pretty much the working professionals Facebook.
Once you’ve found the Brand, company, hotel, tour, etc. you’d like to work with, simply take some time to search and find the contacts outright.
This is even your opportunity to read up more on the organization, what their mission is, how long they’ve been around, and so on. This is fantastic because you can leverage this information in your pitch to them! Ye!
Using these four methods, you’ll surely be able to find the right contacts to land your first travel partnerships.
However, finding the right contacts is just the very tip of what it takes to pull your first major sponsorship.

FIRST, You need to start with a Media Kit. Here if a FREE template if you’re interested: