How to start getting paid media trips as a travel blogger or travel writer. Learn how to land FAM trips and paid campaigns with tourism boards.
As a travel blogger getting invitations to media trips is an exciting step in a travel writing career. If you do the work and create value for tourism boards, the next step is landing paid media trips.
If you have wondered how to get paid to travel as a blogger, there are several ways including affiliate marketing, ad networks, freelance writing and the holy grail of paid fam trips. This podcast and blog post focuses on the best way to land media trips (also known as FAM trips or press trips) with tourism boards, hotels, tour companies, airlines, and more.
About this Podcast & Show Sponsor
This episode is part of the “Travel Blogging Quick Tips Podcast Series“. Starting a travel blog isn’t easy and this is podcast series is here to help you navigate the way easier and faster! This episode will help you understand why you need a travel blogger media kit and what needs to be included.
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Break Into Travel Writing: A podcast and website designed to help you build a travel blog your readers love as well as help you achieve your goals as a travel writer or blogger. If you are new to this podcast, my goal with this podcast and website is to help travel bloggers write better, land more media trips, and learn how to monetize their websites with affiliate marketing.
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How & When to Set Pricing for Paid Campaigns with Tourism Boards
How to Get Paid to Travel with FAM Trips (Also known as media trips or press trips)
Today’s show focuses on how & when to set pricing for paid campaigns with tourism boards also known as CVBs & DMOs. This crosses over into paid campaigns with not only destinations but cruises, tour companies, hotels, airlines, and more.
It’s never too late to implement good travel blogging techniques and tactics.
What are FAM Trips?
A press trip is a way for a location (city, state or country) or tour company, hotel, or airline to get positive publicity. The location or business invests time and money to arrange for journalists, influencers and/or photographers to visit and help promote a destination, or event.
Definition & Description of a FAM Trip
A FAM tour stands for “familiarization” tour. A press trip or media trip are other names used for this. The destination, brand or business bring in travel media, social media influencers, tour operators and/or travel agents to a location to experience what it has to offer first-hand. The media would then share their experience through freelance articles, blog posts, social media posts, video or podcasts.
How to Get Paid to Travel with FAM Trip Tips
So, it turns out not too many bloggers, travel writers or destinations wanted to share tips on today’s topic. This is part of the Quick Tips series, where I take topic suggestions from bloggers and travel writers. I then reach out to my friends in the travel writing world, previous guests on this podcast, and this podcast audience to share one practical tip for the topic.
Today’s topic was about setting pricing with DMOs for paid (not bartered campaigns) and Susan from Genxtraveler.com requested the topic.
For this show, I not only asked my email list 2 or 3 times for tips, but I also reached out to my list of previous guests and previous travel writers and bloggers who had provided a tip for a previous show. I also shared the info and request on this podcast. I got a big goose egg. This is obviously a topic not many want to talk about or share tips about.
So, I did something different and reached out to about 50 or 60 tourism boards and asked if they had any tips or suggestions on the topic. I got nothing. Not one response.
I then reached out to about 20 bloggers and travel writers I consider more in the friend category than the acquaintance category and who I know regularly get paid media trips and got one brave travel writer who stepped forward to share a tip.
I’ve got to give Jon Bailey from 2DadsWithBaggage a huge thank you for stepping forward and sharing a tip. It doesn’t surprise me that Jon shared a tip though, as he was also my guest on episode 142 which was How to Pitch Brands, Destinations & PR.
Jon is one of the travel writers out there that I would say is truly an expert in the area of pitching and working with brands.
Jon’s Tip: Know Your Deliverables & Negotiate
Jon’s tip for getting paid campaigns with tourism boards is to list out your suggested deliverables in your pitch (x number of blog posts, x social shares broken down by platform, how many live social shares you would do onsite, etc.). Then give a package price for all of it, rather than a day rate and prices for each post, etc. Plus the hosted trip including airfare, of course! If they want to negotiate or come back with a lower number, start removing deliverables until you are comfortable with the deal.
Tip From Travel Writer, Jon Bailey of 2DadsWithBaggage
Blog Niche: Family and LGBTQ travel
Bio: 2DadsWithBaggage is the family lifestyle and travel platform from dads Jon and Triton and daughters Sophia and Ava. As a family, we love to share stories, tips, information and deals about people, places and things that we love. Jon is also a contributing writer for The Points Guy, San Diego Magazine and several others.
Follow Jon on Facebook
Jon was also one of my guests from episode 147 which was entitled Loreto, Mexico Media Trip with Volaris Airlines
I’ve been lucky enough to go on three media trips with him; in addition to Loreto, Mexico, I also did a media trip to Cancun, Mexico, and a 3rd media trip to Croatia for the Christmas Markets and Chocolate festivals.
Additional FAM Trip Tips
Since this topic didn’t get a lot of submissions, I thought I’d share a few tips of my own.
A few disclaimers
- Always remember that a press trip of any kind is not a free vacation.
- Press trips, media trips, FAMs — all synonyms are a trade for content. Most of the time a destination or hotel or airline is covering the expenses of a trip in trade for coverage which could be an article in a publication you write for, an article on your personal website, a video, social media posting or a combination of several of these.
- Media trips come in all sizes. Some are a few days and some last a few weeks. Some media trips cover it all — meaning airfare, hotels, restaurants, excursions.
Types of Media Trips and What is Covered
- Some media trips don’t cover air, but 100% of everything once you hit the ground.
- Some media trips cover bits and pieces. Possibly, some of the meals aren’t covered.
- And then there are media trips where 100% of the trip is covered and you also get paid a day rate or fee to take the trip.
Do You Have What They Want?
The biggest thing to know is you need to have what they want. Or you have to be able to show them what you have will benefit their destination. This goes for both paid and non-paid press trips.
Research the Destination Before You Apply or Pitch for a Media Trip
Regardless of what trip you apply for, get invited to or pitch, do your homework on the location. Based on your audience, your niche, what makes your website unique, or what freelance stories you can place, make sure it aligns with the destination.
Many media trips have themes. Some of the themed ones I have been include:
- a girlfriends getaway in Kauai
- an adventure seeker media trip in Fort Lauderdale
- a Christmas Market Viking Cruise and
- a women’s walking adventure in Nova Scotia.
Some stories from these trips went to freelance outlets, while others were a better fit for my own 52 Perfect Days travel website.
It’s important to have integrity and to know you can write a story for the angle the destination or business wants coverage on. If the angle doesn’t fit, negotiate a new story idea or pass on the trip.
Research Before Pitching for a Media Trip
This brings me to your homework. You must research before pitching. Before you pitch a cruise line, a hotel, an airline, a destination or hotel do the following.
- check to see what social platforms they post most on.
- Check what they are sharing.
- Look at the photos to get a clue if they are targeting boomers, gen Xers or millennials, or gen z.
- If they have a blog on their website, check out the most recent posts. What are they promoting?
- Look at their specials or deals pages to see what they are pushing and highlighting.
If a destination you want to work with isn’t posting on social more than once a week or two, don’t pitch a IG takeover.
You are a Journalist, Right?
With a little sleuthing, you can figure out what they find important. You are a journalist, right? This is part of our job to dig deep and uncover the story!
Look at their blog, checked their social media channels, and get a sense of what types of stories they are trying to push.
What Do You Bring to the Table?
Understand and know your value. What can you bring to the table?
- Know your niche and audience.
- Get clear on who you are as a storyteller.
- Are you focused on adventure or family travel? Or are you focused on historic travel?
- Maybe you focus on a particular part of the world for your website.
Yes, this might mean you aren’t right for every media trip, but it will mean you are perfect for some. And there are a lot of trips and there is no way you could go on every media trip, even if you wanted to.
- Know your website traffic.
- Understand your social numbers and engagement.
- Where do you shine?
- Sell the pieces of your blogging biz or freelancer connections by pitching a combo of what you can offer and what you think the destination would value.
Is this video? Photography? Social media? Blog posts? Freelance articles? A combo of some or all?
Think about the destination or hotel or cruise who will be flying you in, putting you up in hotels, paying for your food, creating an itinerary for you as well as your transportation. Travel is an expensive investment for any company, brand or tourism board, so it’s extremely important that when you’re accepting fam trips you’re clear on the value you can bring to the table.
3 Point for Overview for Paid Media Trips
My original question for this topic was three parts:
1) What is 1 practical tip for setting pricing with DMOs for paid (not bartered campaigns) and I think Jon’s tip was perfect.
When can you start pitching for paid campaigns?
2) When in a blogging career it is appropriate to ask for paid campaigns?
My answer is when you have an engaged audience that will truly be interested in the location, trip, cruise, or hotel. This means a portion of your audience will be willing to read, share and potentially book based on your suggestions, your story, your posts or videos.
Ultimately, value for that brand is your endorsement. But endorsement goes much further when you have an audience that listens to your suggestions and Trusts your suggestions, which ultimately translates into that follower taking the next step.
How to Get Paid to Travel with FAM Trips
3) The 3rd part of this topic was for tips about what types of services can be “paid for”.
You can charge a day rate. You can also charge for extras. For example, for a media trip you can offer certain deliverables as part of a trip that covers expenses and charge for additional items.
For example, for a regular media trip you could include a certain number of blog posts and social.
You could charge for extra social, videos, takeovers, etc.
I know several bloggers who are really good photographers that sell photographs back to the location that they can’t use in their own content.
All of this should, of course, be clear upfront. The last thing you want to do is create an awkward situation or distrust with the PR person or tourism rep.
Travel Blogger Media Kit is a Must to Apply for Fam Trips
To make this leap, you need a great media kit and price sheet. So, if you didn’t catch the last episode, I’d pop back to episode 190 which is How to Create a travel Blogger Media Kit.
So, no magic bullet. Build your blog. Know your niche. Grow your audience. Engage with your audience on the platforms of your choice. With each of these steps you are building your value.
This isn’t just about a huge audience. If you have an audience, no matter what size, that is engaged and trusts you, it will be of value to a brand or destination.
Learn More about Sponsored Post Collaborations & Paid Media Trips with Jordan Campbell on episode 186.
This episode is all about Shifting from in-kind collaborations to sponsored post collaborations with brands & paid media trips. This podcast episode focuses on what to include in a travel blogger media kit, how to know if you are ready to pitch brands, advice for bloggers who think they are ready to pitch collaborations, what to provide when pitching a brand, getting past no and so much more!
Thank you to Susan for requesting today’s topic and Jon for being brave enough to step forward with some advice and tips on landing paid media trips.
And thank you for tuning in! I hope you have gained some real insight to set some goals for booking media trips and landing some paid media trips.
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