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Despite the fact that I realize not everyone will be interested in this subject, I still feel like it’s a topic worth addressing. More and more recently, I’ve been fielding questions from bloggers and non-bloggers alike about how I manage to work with tourism boards and companies when I travel.

And though I’m definitely no expert (I have never, for example, been invited on a press trip and have always been the one to pitch to companies), I’ve definitely learned some things over the past year about working with tourism providers.

Using my most recent trip to Ottawa as an example (where I worked with both Ottawa Tourism and the HI Ottawa Jail Hostel), here are some answers to common questions I’ve received lately about working with tourism boards.

Ottawa Tourism

Ottawa Tourism

Common questions about my sponsored travels

(Note: This is not a post about “how to get invited on press trips” or “how to score free stuff when you travel.” I’ve never been on a press trip — and would much rather plan my own anyway — and I don’t reach out to tourism boards or companies just to score freebies. But hopefully this will be helpful anyway!)

 

“How do I know when my blog is “big enough” to pitch to companies/tourism boards?”

The truth is (and I know this isn’t what any blogger wants to hear), there’s no “magic number” when it comes to knowing when it’s the right time to start pitching. If you send the right pitch to the right company/tourism board, things like page views and RSS subscribers and Twitter followers won’t really matter much.

In general, though, you want to be able to show that you have an engaged audience — regardless of how big it is. In my mind, a solid, small engaged audience is much more valuable than a large, indifferent one. My audience is by no means huge, but I’ve been able to encourage a lot of discussion and engagement on both my blog and social networks, proving that I’m not just writing all of this for myself. People actually read what I publish and respond to it, and Ottawa Tourism hinted that this was the main reason they decided to work with me.

But how do I build an engaged audience?, you ask. Well, the key to an engaged audience is content. It really is true that content is king. Before you start thinking about pitching to tourism boards and companies, build up a solid blog with top-notch content. Know what your niche is (if you plan to have one), and what you want the tone of your blog to be. And, above all, let your voice and personality shine through — this is what truly will grab the attention of tourism boards.

Ottawa

“How do I go about pitching?”

So you think you’ve developed your blog and audience enough to where you feel confident pitching to a company or tourism board. What next? Here are my main tips for before you pitch, and for actually drafting the pitch itself.

Before you pitch:

  • Know what you ideally want. You obviously have to first know where you’re going (and when) and then you need to figure out more or less what you’re going to ask for. Do you want all your expenses covered or just one specific part of your trip? Are you hoping for a fully comped tour or would you be happy with a media discount? Figure this out before you even think about pitching.
  • Know what you can offer in return. Almost as important as knowing what you want, you should know what you can offer a company or destination in return. Roughly how many blog posts will you publish? Will you blog during the trip or afterwards? Will you cut together any videos? Will you create a hashtag to use on Twitter? Consider all this before drafting your pitch.
  • Figure out who to pitch to. The next step is figuring out who to pitch to. Do a bit of detective work on the company or destination’s official site. If they have a media contact listed, that’s who you should pitch to. If you can avoid sending your pitch to a generic “info” e-mail address, do.
  • Keep in mind the time of year you’ll be traveling. Will you be traveling to a destination during their high season or in the off-season? If you’re traveling during high season (or around a popular event), send your pitch as early as possible. A tourism board might not be able (or willing) to accomodate you at the last minute. Since I was traveling to Ottawa in the dead of winter, I was fine contacting Ottawa Tourism a mere 3 weeks before my trip. But I wouldn’t recommend waiting so long if you can help it.
Rideau Canal, Ottawa, Canada

Luckily Ottawa is quiet in the winter, so I was able to pitch my last-minute trip.

Drafting your pitch:

  • Introduce yourself completely (including who you are and who your audience is). Don’t be vague. Be confident in yourself and your blog, and give a sense of who reads what you publish.
  • Tell them when you’ll be there (be specific). Especially if you are hoping to get a sponsored tour or have your hotel/hostel stay covered, you will need to know the exact dates you’ll be traveling. If you don’t have your dates chosen yet, you probably aren’t ready to send a pitch.
  • Be clear with your request, but also flexible. Above I mentioned that you should know what you ideally want before drafting your pitch. I still recommend this. But you don’t want to come off as demanding in your pitch. So lay out what you would like to receive, but also be flexible in your request.
  • Provide stats, but expect them to do their own homework, too. I usually include my main stats in a short paragraph to sum up the size of my blog’s audience, whether it’s asked for or not. But I know for a fact Ottawa Tourism checked out all of my social networks on their own, too. So don’t inflate those numbers too much.
  • Make your pitch professional, but still use your voice. When drafting your pitch, you want to make it more formal that something you’d post on your Facebook wall, but not so stuffy that it doesn’t reflect your personality. This is your chance to sell yourself — do yourself justice.
  • Send a media kit. I highly recommend putting together a media kit for yourself that you can send out to potential partners. In this kit, you can go into more depth about your audience, your stats, and what you can offer. I also include testimonials in mine, proving that what I write actually inspires others to travel to certain destinations or spend their money with certain companies.
A Dangerous Business

The cover of my media kit.

And, because I know I’m a very visual person who understands things best after seeing an example, here’s the exact pitch that I sent to Ottawa Tourism back in December for my January trip:

Hi there Jantine,

My name is Amanda, and I run a travel blog by the name of A Dangerous Business. This blog is all about finding fun and quirky travel destinations and activities that people can enjoy on a “normal” person’s budget and schedule. ADB has a loyal following and a very engaged audience who are always interested in reading about travel, whether it’s on the other side of the globe, or just around the corner.

I’m planning a trip to Ottawa in January for a few days, in order to explore Canada in the winter and write about what it has to offer beyond skiing and snowboarding. I was wondering if Ottawa Tourism would be interested in working with A Dangerous Business on this trip, in exchange for some extra online exposure? Any help (including accommodation, activities, etc.) would be greatly appreciated. In exchange, I can offer at least 2 or 3 blog posts, many photos, and perhaps even a video or two. We could also discuss a Twitter hash tag for the trip, and perhaps some targeted Facebook coverage as well.

All of this content would be reaching a large audience of more than 23,000 monthly blog readers, 2,600 Twitter followers, and 600 Facebook fans.

As of right now, I have a flight booked that will have me arriving in Ottawa on the morning of Tuesday, January 3. My outbound flight leaves the morning of Sunday, January 8. I may decide to make a trip to a second nearby city as well for a night or two, but I suppose that decision will depend on your input!

To help you get a better idea of what A Dangerous Business is all about and what we might be able to accomplish by working together, I have attached my media kit.

Thanks, and I look forward to hearing from you soon.

Amanda

“Should I just pitch to everyone?”

The short answer is no. This is not just about “scoring free stuff,” no matter how appealing that idea is. Before you think about sending out a pitch, educate yourself about the destination or company you’re considering. Will it fit in with the rest of your blog’s content? Is it in line with what your audience is interested in?

Not every destination, company, or tourism board will be a good fit for your blog and audience. And that’s okay. The bottom line is, don’t send out pitches just to send them out.

Parliament Hill, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

I pitched to Ottawa because it’s a destination close to home not many people have written about recently, but one I knew my audience would be interested in.

“But what if they say no?”

If you’re afraid of rejection, I have some bad news — you probably will get rejected. Other times you may never get a response to your pitch. But who cares? You shouldn’t be planning your travel counting on free trips anyway.

You’ll learn more with each pitch you write and with each sponsorship you secure. Don’t look at rejection or being ignored as a bad thing — look at it as a learning opportunity.

Here are my tips for dealing with being ignored or rejected:

  • Follow up on your pitch. If you haven’t gotten a response to your pitch within a week, send a follow-up e-mail, or even give the contact a call if you have a phone number for them. It’s very easy for e-mails to slip through the cracks, and many PR reps are extremely busy. A friendly reminder can’t hurt; sometimes you just have to be both patient and persistent.
  • Try again. Got rejected? Don’t sweat it. There could be many reasons for receiving a rejection — maybe you weren’t confident enough in your pitch; maybe they just don’t have the budget to sponsor you; maybe you didn’t get in touch soon enough. Regardless of the reason, just forget about it and try again somewhere else.
  • Get more creative. If you’re consistently getting rejected, maybe it’s time to go back to the drawing board. Maybe your blog needs a makeover. Maybe you need to concentrate on building your audience and polishing your content for a while. Maybe you need a catchier pitch or media kit.
  • Realize it might be them, not you. Sometimes it’s all about the timing — timing you may not even know about. Maybe you sent your pitch when they had just run out of extra funds that month or year, or maybe your pitch got lost during restructuring in the company. Things happen, and you certainly can’t control them all, or even prepare for them.
Ottawa

Don’t be afraid of rejection.

And, at the end of the day, some companies and tourism boards just don’t “get it” yet. This whole blogging thing is fairly new, and not everyone has embraced the idea of treating bloggers like they would traditional media. Ottawa Tourism definitely sees the value in online media, but not all boards and companies I’ve approached do. Sometimes you just have to chalk it up to a loss and hope they’ll come around eventually.

Because, despite the fact that not everyone “gets it” right now, bloggers really can offer companies and destinations a lot if sponsorships/partnerships are approached in the right way.

 

Brands 2

*** If you want to learn about working with brands (including how to create a media kit, how to identify brands that would be a good fit for your blog, and how to follow through and report your results, consider signing up for my Working With Brands 101 mini-course!

——

Was this post helpful to you? Do you have any other tips for working with tourism boards?

 

 

*Speaking of tourism, if you’re into saving up for a vacation or tour around the world, TravelRepublic provides great deals for affordable holidays abroad.

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193 Responses to How to Work with Tourism Boards

  1. Alouise says:

    These are some great tips Amanda. I’ve never tried pitching any tourism boards, because it’s always seemed a little overwhelming to me. But after reading your post it doesn’t seem like it would be as painful as I once thought. By the way I love the cover photo for your media kit.
    Alouise recently posted..I Think I Am Going To Colorado

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Alouise! Everything regarding blogging was overwhelming to me at first — figuring out wordpress, moving to a self-hosted site, dealing with advertisers, crafting sponsorship pitches… But you know what? It’s all been SO worth it to figure out.

      And no, it’s really not very painful at all, once you get one or two under your belt! :)

      • Cat says:

        Do you have a good self-hosting service you recommend? I’ll be using WordPress, but what’s a good hosting site? (godaddy, bluehost, etc.)

        • DangerousBiz says:

          I use Bluehost, though I do have server issues and downtime with them from time to time. If I were to switch, it would probably be to Hostgator or Media Temple. (Though, to be fair, no server will ever have 100% uptime!)

  2. Ryan says:

    Hey Amanda, really quality write-up here. Thanks for the tips and the example pitch. I really like your pitch as it lays everything out really clear for the tourism board (actually, a specific person on the tourism board) so it makes their decision easier. From a business standpoint, they are always looking at their ROI, and so stating what they will get in return was definitely the way to go. If you make it a win-win for both sides, they will be much more likely to accept a proposal. Cheers! :)
    Ryan recently posted..The Initial Shock Never Goes Away (The Results of My 30 Day Cold Shower Experiment)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Ryan! Hopefully it will be helpful to others. I’m glad you liked the addition of the sample pitch! I know it’s something I’ve always wished others would include in these sorts of how-to posts.

      And yes, the key is definitely figuring out how you can make the sponsorship win-win for both parties involved. It should never be one-sided, otherwise it’s not really a partnership at all. I’ve found that laying out pitches like this has gotten me quite a few positive responses lately!

  3. Great stuff Amanda….I’ve had some success in this area for my blog, but it is definitely a learning process. This post certainly helps!
    The World of Deej recently posted..Tag…I’m It – The ABCs of Travel

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Great to hear! Like I said, I’m certainly no authority, but I’m always happy to share the knowledge that I do have.

  4. Jeremy says:

    Great guide, Amanda! The most important bit, in my mind, is making sure that the trip fits in line with your blog! I’ve seen other writers try to score (and succeed) as much free stuff as possible but, really, that’s not the idea. It’s about running a quality blog with relevant content! Some excellent tips here!
    Jeremy recently posted..An interview with Rita Golden Gelman, Female Nomad

    • DangerousBiz says:

      EXACTLY, Jeremy. Sure, as a blogger it’s sometimes relatively easy to score discounts and freebies when you travel. But just because you can get it doesn’t mean you should. I, for example, would not be likely to accept a luxury press trip, because that’s not really what I’m about, and it’s not what my readers would want to read about.

      Also, I don’t think you should accept anything free unless you plan to write about it without making it sound like an advertorial.

  5. Kevin Earnest says:

    Not something that I’m likely to do, but this is interesting stuff. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Erik says:

    I’m bookmarking this article. Someday, if I can improve my content and develop a niche, I hope I can use the tips here.

    Obviously, with a 29 day trip planned to a destination that isn’t cheap, I have thought about this a lot. I’ve decided not to try and pitch myself, because, quite frankly, my numbers are way too low to even think about trying to find sponsored opportunities. Numbers are hard to gage, I have no idea how to find out how many subscribers I have, and for a blog that averages over 100 views a day, I only average a comment every 90 views or so, and that seems low.

    I’ve been offered some opportunities in the past, but I have a feeling that those offers have been from places that offer every blogger they can find the same opportunity.

    But thanks for the road map, maybe sometime in the future, I’ll be able to use it.

    p.s. Smart and concise- I think the TBEX people would be wise to look at this post when picking speakers or small group leaders- you would be excellent.
    Erik recently posted..So, Yeah, I’m Going to New Zealand

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Definitely don’t count yourself out, Erik! You’ll never know the answer if you don’t pitch at all. ;)

      And thanks for the kind words about the article. I’m not sure that I’m TBEX-speaker worthy, but that was nice of you to say anyway.

  7. Leah says:

    Great information, Amanda. Thanks for sharing.
    Leah recently posted..Havelock, NZ: Lips, Shoes, & Views

  8. Geogypsy says:

    Good article and recommendations. I appreciate your willingness to share from your own experiences. I admire your pitch, hook and style.

    After three years of blogging I believe I’m there with a growing influence and next years adventure will produce some pitches while in the planning.

    Thanks.
    Geogypsy recently posted..Elk crossing at Grand Canyon

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I don’t see any point in not sharing what I’ve learned with others. :) Glad to be able to help. Good luck with those pitches!

  9. I have just starting pitching select tourism boards and have been totally surprised at the success I have had so far. Though, I do agree with The World of Deej, it is a learning process. I have changed my pitch letter and approach a dozen times. And now that I’ve seen yours, I might have to alter it a dozen more ;)
    Annette | Bucket List Journey recently posted..6 Amazing Northern Italy Views

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Congrats on your success so far, Annette! I’ve had some luck recently, too, which has been really surprising, yet exciting. And believe me, I’m still learning, too!

  10. Cat says:

    Wow, thanks for posting this! It’s definitely a topic I’ve been very curious to learn more about. Especially loved the actual email you sent as I’m a very visual/hands-on examples person as well.
    Cat recently posted..Autumn at the Beach

  11. Great post! Love the detail– including your pitch email. This is super helpful for bloggers looking to work with tourism boards. I find that some boards and companies are more open than others to working with bloggers. It never hurts to contact them and see if they are interested :)
    Leslie (Downtown Traveler) recently posted..Photos: Hong Kong street art features Obama, Lennon and giant lips

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, you’re definitely right that some boards are far more receptive than others, Leslie. But, like you said, it never hurts to contact them! Because you never know if you don’t ask.

  12. I’ve pitched a ton of companies, with moderate success. My advice is always this… if you never ask, the answer will always be “no”. So go for it!

  13. Fantastic tips. Thanks for sharing!
    Bobbi Lee Hitchon recently posted..Cruising on the Interislander

  14. Great tips Amanda. Thanks for sharing!
    Ryan @ PauseTheMoment.com recently posted..Guerilla Packs Voltij Backpack Giveaway!

  15. This is such an informative post, Amanda! Your tips are just what I needed. Being new to the world of travel blogging I have often wondered about such things. Am definitely gonna give it a try. Thanks for sharing!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I wondered about these things for a long time too, and eventually decided to learn just by trial and error! So I’m happy to be able to pass on what I’ve learned so it’ll hopefully help others like yourself!

  16. Katie says:

    Great tips!! My only complaint is that you didn’t publish this sooner – like before I started reaching out to everyone throughout the Caucasus and Central Asia. :)

    I think it is important to keep in mind that this whole blogging thing and working with bloggers is very new (or even unheard of) in many parts of the world (I am definitely finding that out now). Do you ever find yourself making a plug for blogging/social media in general when you are pitching?
    Katie recently posted..Grodno: The Cutest Town in Belarus

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, sorry I didn’t post it sooner, Katie! I didn’t really think anyone would want any advice from me, though, until I started getting some of these questions recently…

      And yes, I do sometimes find myself making a plug for blogging/social media when I’m pitching. I didn’t feel a need to for Ottawa since their media page was welcoming and they have a good presence on Facebook and Twitter. But in other pitches I have pointed out the benefits of blogging over traditional media — that bloggers provide both immediate coverage while they travel, and then more coverage after the trip. While a print journalist may produce 1 or 2 stories for publications after a 5-day press trip, a blogger might do 5 or 6 and also throw in a video. Blogging is also more flexible, too, in that usually a blogger isn’t “on assignment” from an editor with a story idea already in mind before they arrive at a destination, meaning they have a bit more freedom in the content they ultimately produce.

  17. David says:

    Great actionable advice, Amanda!
    I think the point of the media kit is currently underestimated. Many companies and tourism boards will not be able (or willing) to go look through a blog or website to find out more about a travel blogger that contacts them. Being able to send a concise, yet compelling media kit could definitely make a difference.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I definitely agree about the media kit, David. I just started using one recently, and the response has been great. It makes it so easy for a PR person to get an overview of my blog without them having to lift a finger, which I think they really appreciate.

      Thanks for reading!

  18. John says:

    This is really helpful Amanda! I love step by step guides like this. Pitching these agencies always seemed so intimidating to me. Thanks for breaking it down to an easier, more managable process.
    John recently posted..The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta, Georgia – Bottling Happiness Laced with Corn Syrup

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You are very welcome, John! I know how intimidating pitching can be (from experience!) so I figured there definitely would be an audience for this post.

  19. Andrea says:

    Great tips Amanda! I’ve been doing something similar and have received positive responses from the majority of tourist boards I’ve approached. I have never been invited on a press trip either but doing things on an individual basis works out much better for me and it probably would for most bloggers.
    Andrea recently posted..A Real Egyptian Temple in Madrid

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Great to hear you’ve been getting positive responses, too! I think part of it has to do with tourism boards being more willing to work with bloggers, and the other part just has to do with the professionalization trend in blogging in general. I agree though that, for me, I prefer to work things out on an individual basis as opposed to going on a press trip. Much more freedom that way.

  20. Sabrina says:

    Thanks for this post! I’ve never pitched any of my travels to anyone – mainly because it seems a little intimidating and I wouldn’t even know where to get started. After reading this, I think following your lead here and maybe individually setting up some things is a possibility for the future though. Thanks for the tips!
    Sabrina recently posted..Workout on the Road: Running

    • DangerousBiz says:

      And remember that you don’t have to start out huge, Sabrina! If pitching to an entire tourism board seems too daunting, start smaller. My first real pitch was for a $60 bus tour of the island of Oahu when I went there a year ago. Barely a drop in the bucket for the company, but a huge confidence booster for myself when they said they wanted to work with me!

  21. This is such a great article. I appreciate the letter. I send out a lot myself, but to specify hotels and tours. I have never done to tourism boards.
    Marina K. Villatoro recently posted..Thermal Spa to Sooth Your Sense and De-Stress You!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I have mostly pitched to specific companies, too (for tours, activities, etc.). Ottawa was the first major tourism board that I sent a real pitch to. But I think a tourism board can be a great place to start if you aren’t sure what you want to do in a region/city (as was the case for me in Ottawa). If I’d had very specific things I wanted to do and see, I likely would have contacted companies/attractions individually.

  22. I couldn’t have asked for a better post! It had all the information I have been wondering about. One of the main points I came away with was to just ask. Thanks for the kick in the pants I needed :)
    Debbie Beardsley recently posted..Bucket List – European Style

  23. Rebecca says:

    I love posts like this. You worked hard to get where you are and it’s paying off! Plus, it’s written for newbies like me who haven’t yet dipped their toe in, but hopefully will someday!

    Great post!!
    Rebecca recently posted..Random Weekend: Book: In a Sunburned Country

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks, Rebecca! I HAVE worked very hard to get where I am, and all the work is most definitely beginning to pay off. But, now that it is, I want to share the things I’ve learned with others, to hopefully make the process easier for them. I would have killed for a post like this last year when I was clueless on how to write a pitch!

  24. Thank you so much for the post, it was very well thought out. This is something we may consider in the future, perhaps.
    A King’s Life recently posted..How to bathe in a Mayan Village

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m glad you enjoyed it, and I hope it helps you in the future if ever you decide to seek out some sponsorships!

  25. What an incredibly helpful post! Thank you so much for the tips and insight. This is by far the most straightforward and transparent advice I have seen on how to work with the boards. Much appreciated!
    nod ‘n’ smile recently posted..The Magical Transformation of Jambiani’s Beaches

  26. I had a recent success with a sponsored tour in Patagonia. In the initial response, I was told that the only reason they were willing to look into the partnership further is because my proposal showed an understanding of their business model. I mentioned in the post that I would include descriptions and links to their travel partners. This turned out to be key.
    Stephanie – The Travel Chica recently posted..Tragedy in Torres del Paine: Stories from the Park

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I didn’t go into a whole lot of depth about this because it has more to do with specific companies, but knowing what the company you’re pitching to is “about” is so important. It kind of goes along with knowing whether they’d be a good fit for you to write about on your blog. Doing your homework is SO important before writing a pitch! If you can tie your interests to their business model or their core values, chances are they’ll notice that you put some extra effort in.

      Congrats on the trip!

  27. Ryan Brown says:

    Awesome post Amanda, and thank you for the link love. I had written a post about tips on scoring freebies, but you’re right, it isn’t about that. It wasn’t my intention, thought when I read back I think I may have come off that way, and I’m glad you pointed out some of these important subjects. Each person I have sent out emails to is something that interests me very much, and something that I feel may benefit other people who read my blog, which should be most important when pitching. If I score a free trip to a Mustard factory, and being I am deathly afraid of mustard, that wouldn’t benefit me or the readers at all.

    Also, I emailed a few hostels in Christchurch before I came down, ones that I wanted to include in a backpackers guide, and they all said they would have loved to work with me, but every single hotel and hostel was fully booked. Just like you said, timing is important, and I failed to look far enough ahead!

    My email I send out to hostels and activity companies looks similar to your letter (except without those awesome numbers) but I actually have no idea how to do a media kit so I will be emailing you!

    Amanda, I was starting to go a little overboard with small time “freebies” and looking everywhere for them, it becomes addicting after you get a couple free meals and free movie tickets and others, but that doesn’t benefit anyone much. This really helped me set my head straight again, bloggers like you are always teaching me so much, and when you’re new it’s easy to get lost in the material things, but my goal has always been to write for myself, and the sake of travel and my potential readers. Refocused!

    Stay gnarly!

    (P.s. I have a post on Traveldudes.org “7 Tips for getting sponsored trips” where readers were asking me about a pitch example, can I link your post for them?)
    Ryan Brown recently posted..TAGGED! My ABC’s of Travel!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks for the great comment, Ryan! I’m really glad you found this post helpful, and that it helped you refocus your efforts a bit. It certainly CAN be exciting once you realize that some companies would love to throw all sorts of free stuff at you. But I think there needs to be a point where you know when to say no. Like you said, things like free movie tickets and lots of free meals might be nice, but getting them really isn’t going to benefit anyone but yourself. And while I like doing things for me, I also like to be able to help others out, too, by sharing what I’ve learned!

      And even though it’s too bad you weren’t able to book in at any of the hostels in Christchurch, that is GREAT to hear that they’re all full!!! The city seems to be bouncing back well.

      Feel free to share a link to this in your TravelDudes post. The more the merrier!

  28. Thanks for these Amanda! I’ve tried this a couple of times and have had some great success with it. Some tourism boards are much better at the social media thing and appreciate bloggers. Others don’t get it yet and don’t see the value. I think as long as you make a good presentation to show how you can benefit both of you, you’ve done your part. The rest is up to them. And any rejection from them shouldn’t be taken personally. As you stated, it could be for a number of different reasons – bad timing, not understanding the value of what you can offer, and sometimes stuff falls through the cracks.

    I am by no means an expert on this (I don’t even have a media kit) and have made mistakes. However, just asking questions can be a great way of getting ideas for things to do. I would also encourage people to leave time to explore and let stories and experiences happen all their own. In other words, don’t play too much. Some of the best stories/moments that you experience on a trip were those that weren’t planned.
    Jeremy Branham recently posted..College life at the University of Washington – an interview with tour guides

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Very well said, Jeremy. I couldn’t agree more that you shouldn’t take rejections personally, and that, even if you do get some sponsorships, you should still leave enough time for exploring on your own. This is one reason I actually prefer to organize my own press trip-like trips, so that I have a bit of freedom.

  29. Hey Amanda, this is a very timely post. I’ve been thinking lately about trying to pitch some tourism boards about sponsored trips. I like the idea of putting together a professional looking media kit along with sending a letter that is very specific outlining not only what you want but how you can help them out in return.
    Nomadic Samuel recently posted..Two Khmer Girls Hug | Smiling Faces From Cambodia

    • DangerousBiz says:

      And the part about outlining what you can offer them is so important! You definitely don’t want to present yourself as having a “me me me” attitude. Figure out how to make it a win-win situation!

      Hopefully this helps you out in writing some of your own pitches soon.

  30. Amanda, at the risk of sounding like a broken vinyl-record, I feel your timely post goes very well with C&C yTravelblog’s post about press and blog trips. I’ve been wondering about some of the steps various people undertake to work with tourism boards. Thanks again for your post!
    fotoeins | Henry recently posted..How totem poles (and an owl) put a spell on me

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Ultimately, different people will approach pitching differently. But this is what has worked for me, and I think there are certain practices that will work for everyone!

  31. Fabulous tips!!! I love how you shared your email.
    Andi of My Beautiful Adventures recently posted..Chicago: Day 3 & 4

  32. Bob Fisher says:

    Nice article. Good ideas. I do similar things when I make pitches.

  33. Dayna says:

    I always find your posts later than everyone else! =) This is perfect timing for us as well. We are with you in that we don’t want to just try to get freebies or have all of our content be sponsored…. but sometimes, it would be great to get that extra perspective that a walking tour or a guided tour can give, and I think that’s something that our (granted, small!) audience would enjoy. Maybe I’ll work up the nerve to send one out for Plovdiv, a city here in Bulgaria that interests us quite a bit!
    Dayna recently posted..Our Island Bucket List

    • DangerousBiz says:

      It never hurts to ask! (And I’ve heard great things about Plovdiv!) For me (and especially now that my audience is growing), I want to focus on writing about things that the average traveler would be interested in, and would be able to conceivably afford and do. Sure, I’ll still do crazy/quirky things here and there, but I also want to be realistic about the things I’m writing about. Not everyone is comfortable planning their own journey through Eastern Europe or traveling solo to Iceland. So, while I AM totally fine with doing those things, I also want to try out things that the average traveler would be interested in, too. That way, my blog can kind of represent the best of both worlds!

  34. marla says:

    Thank you for such a wonderful, engaging and helpful post. I have been following many of your suggestions and having great luck as well. Lots of “no’s” along the way, but plenty of “yes’s” as well :) Any tips on how to score a media rate for airfare?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      You are very welcome! I’m so happy to hear that you’re having some success using some of my tips! That’s fantastic to hear.

      No tips on scoring airfare, however. If you figure it out, please let me know! ;)

  35. Jenny says:

    Thanks so much for sharing these tips! One day I hope to have the following and the guts to try these out for myself.
    Jenny recently posted..Paris and Performance Art

  36. Shivya says:

    Excellent post, thanks for sharing how to pitch in such detail. I’m heading back to the drawing board and could really use some tips. Sent you a note to take a look at your media kit too :)
    Shivya recently posted..Afloat in Alleppey.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m glad you found it helpful, Shivya! I’m definitely not an expert or anything, but these tips have helped me work out some deals and partnerships before, so I know that they do work!

  37. Great info in here. Thanks for taking the time to write it, Amanda.
    santafetraveler recently posted..Photo of the week: yellow iris

  38. Jenna says:

    Such a useful post, Amanda. Thank you for sharing your tips and especially the example pitch!

  39. Ele says:

    You have just inspired me to send my first pitch. Even if they say no, I will have tried it.

  40. Thank you so much. This is the article I needed to read to push me over the edge to actually contact tourism boards. We have been lucky enough to score a few complimentary tours in the past but am now ready to hit the higher road. Bookmarked!
    Magic Travel Tanya recently posted..Mae Hong Son Loop Day 7 – Pai to Chiang Mai

  41. Thanks for a great article. One of the first lessons I learned after starting my blog was to stop thinking of “no” as the end. “No” is a great way to get constructive criticism and improve. Practice makes perfect.
    Awe Inclusive recently posted..First Time Cruiser? Read This First!

  42. Thanks for such a super helpful post. It’s not something I’m at the stage of doing but it certainly is interesting to see how people achieve sponsored trips.
    Bethaney – Flashpacker Family recently posted..Exploring Southern Thailand’s Mainland

  43. [...] forward! For a fantastic article about working with tourism boards and your own media kit check out this article from A Dangerous [...]

  44. Todd Berman says:

    Thank you for this. I’m going to see if I can get some free paint markers to blog about on Ephemerratic.com .

  45. Heike says:

    Hi!
    I just read your post – and am curious what Ottawa Tourism did for you? I couldn’t find an info. Did they host you, guided you around or both?

    thanx, Heike

  46. Some good tips! I always approach everyone directly and if it doesn’t work, I try with someone else :D
    crazy sexy fun traveler recently posted..ENJOYING CHARLES RIVERBOAT IN BOSTON

  47. Scarlett says:

    Such a brilliant, helpful post Amanda! Thank you! xx
    Scarlett recently posted..My Puppy Is A Menace…

  48. Love this if I haven’t mentioned already. Just curious, how do you define monthly readers? Is that unique visitors a month or is it page views. Thanks!
    Kieu ~ GQ trippin recently posted..Capture the Colour – In Food!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Thanks! Hopefully you found it hopeful. And, as for monthly visitors, I just go by the number of “Visits” listed on my Google Analytics stats.

  49. Excellent and thorough info! Thanks for sharing!!!
    G

  50. Amanda thanks for taking the time to do this post! Im a rather new blogger, and I don’t really plan on keeping my blog as my full time income, but the more travel blogs I follow, the more curious I am as to how bloggers get in touch with tourism boards. This was very generous of you! BTW your email to Ottawa’s Toursim Board was very concise! If I was a member of a toursim board, I’d gladly work with you! :o)
    Antoinette B. | love.antoinette recently posted..Spread Love it’s the Brooklyn Way

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I’m happy to be able to use what I’ve learned to help others! And who knows – you may be writing pitches before you know it!

  51. Tracy says:

    Just came across your post and found it incredibly informative. As new bloggers we are still in the process of building and engaging with our audience and wondered how bloggers go about working with tourism boards. Loved that you included the actual letter you sent as it makes it so much clearer how to introduce yourself and pitch your idea. We will definitely keep all of your tips in mind if we can grow big enough to have something to offer these tourism boards. Thanks again!
    Tracy recently posted..Taking Flight in Bora Bora

  52. Hey, I just came across your post through Facebook’s Travel Bloggers network. Thanks soo much for sharing this. Not many people would do that. Your tips are really helpful and it is great you shared your actual letter as well. I have never approached tourist boards before, but want to look into it in the near future, so this will really help me.
    TammyOnTheMove recently posted..Finding my inner Indiana Jones

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My pleasure, Tammy. I see nothing wrong with sharing what’s worked for me with others – I wish I’d had a post like this when I was first considering pitching! Hopefully it helps you out in the future. :)

  53. The is great info. I have been blogging for a few months now and am just trying to figure everything out. The hardest part of blogging that I am dealing with is creating enough content since I do not have a lot of time to travel.

    I do not think that I am ready to start pitching yet but hopefully I will soon.
    Jeff @ GoTravelzing recently posted..Has Email Killed the Postcard?

  54. Lisa says:

    Great info! I just came across this and your information is very helpful. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with the rest of us out here trying to figure it all out.

  55. Such a great article, Amanda.
    I’m about to do my first pitch to a tourism board, so this info is invaluable.
    Thanks so much for sharing what you know :)
    Linda McCormick recently posted..The Idyllic Island Getaway: Phu Quoc, Vietnam

  56. 30Traveler says:

    Your sample pitch letter is very useful. Cheers!
    30Traveler recently posted..The Best Vegan Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe

  57. memographer says:

    A little late, but I’ve just found this post. Great tips! Thanks muchly for sharing!
    memographer recently posted..Rome Italy and Vatican City

  58. Sofie says:

    Great, informative post!
    I usually don’t travel solo and I always find it difficult to ‘ask’ for something when I travel with someone. Because I’m the only one with the blog and thus the only one to be able to offer something in return…
    Sofie recently posted..4 Christmas presents FROM a traveler

    • DangerousBiz says:

      That does make it a bit trickier, I’ll admit. Though, it still never hurts to ask! Even if you only got half of your trip/activities covered, it would still be better than nothing!

  59. Leif says:

    Hey Amanda, thanks for sharing this. It is really insightful and easy to read. I am hoping to pitch to some tourism boards in the future but I am worried that my site might be a little too unorthodox ><. I think I need to cut back on all the diarrhea and morally questionable posts :)
    Leif recently posted..A Backpackers Paradise: Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha. Well perhaps your challenge will be seeking out slightly more unconventional companies that would love to work with you and your “unorthodox” blog! You shouldn’t have to change your content if you don’t want to just to woo sponsors!

  60. brandy bell says:

    Amanda, I’ve been meaning to comment on this for some time! I used inspiration from your post here (and about 20 others – I was on a googling rampage!) and had a very smooth interaction with a BOT as a direct result. Count me as a positive case study ;)

    Thank you for taking the time to write this really informative piece and being so cool as to share it with all of us :)
    brandy bell recently posted..Me Travel Pretty One Day

  61. Anita Mac says:

    It has been a while since I first saw this post of yours….and have been slowly working towards pitching my first tourism board. I love that you worked with Ottawa (my home town and great place to boot!!). I have tweeked and tweeked my press kit and am looking to give it a go to a region I have traveled to a number of times in summer – Prince Edward County! Hopefully, the fact that I have written about cycling in the region in the past will be helpful. The fact that we can work together to promote the region in all seasons would be exciting! Thanks for all your help – it was so much less daunting after hearing about your experience.
    Anita Mac recently posted..Dog Sledding – the exhilaration of a day with the dogs

  62. Thanks for the tips! We are new to travel blogging and we leave for our RTW in June. Any tips you have also about our website or how to grow our audience would be great! We have been live for about 3 months! Great post lots of usefull info!
    Hannah @ Getting Stamped recently posted..5 Months Til’ Lift Off!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My biggest tips aren’t really earth-shattering: post great content on your blog and post often. And be as active as you can on social media! All of this will help grow your audience organically. Plus, taking off on that big trip soon will automatically get people interested!

  63. I keep coming back to this blog post whenever I think I should be more proactive about pitching. I did fine with Peru, but also feel like that had a lot to do with luck and timing.

    I also struggle with the idea that I might lose my ability to be a spontaneous, erratic (hello! blog title!) independent traveler. I like having an idea of my options while traveling but also want to be able to shake things up if I’m not feeling a place or activity.

    Hm…now that I write that, it just sounds like an excuse. And a lame one at that!
    Lauren, Ephemerratic recently posted..Haberdashery: Better than head-smashery

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Haha, no, I think it’s definitely a valid concern. If all you do is press trip after sponsored tour after comped activity, you CAN lose some of that spontaneity. Remember to mix it up! :)

      (Glad to hear you keep coming back to this post as a resource, though. Makes me feel good!)

  64. Angela says:

    Fantastic tips Amanda, I need to get started with pitching!
    Angela recently posted..Genoa “The Superb”, exploring Europe’s largest medieval city center

  65. Iain says:

    Great advice Amanda.. thanks for sharing. I really liked you’re idea of sending a media kit with your letter – that’s something we’ll need to get onto – we’ve always just added it in the foot of the actual email like a signature line.
    Cheers.

  66. Love this post. I know it is a year old, but it is timely for me to find now. The goose chase I was just on reading one of my regular blogs that had a guest post that referenced another blog which then referenced this article. LOL I am so thrilled, this is exactly what I was looking for, especially the sample pitch! yippee. We are still small but steadily growing and I wanted to research and get this type of thing going. We went to Porto last week and a couple of weeks prior I sent an email to the tourism board. There was no way that I was as concise as your pitch and now I see how “beginner” I was in my email. Oh this helped so much. I didn’t really ask for anything specific nor did I mention what I would do in return other than write a post. They were very kind and actually gave us Porto cards (free or discounted museums and phone cards). I was thrilled with that, as we had already booked our apartment. Now I know better and with your post have learned loads. Thanks so much and can’t wait to dig around your site more.
    Heidi Wagoner recently posted..A Day Trip To Gibraltar – Part II

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Really glad to hear that this post was so helpful for you, Heidi! Good luck with your pitches in the future! I’m glad you found your way to my blog. :)

  67. Thank you sooo much for posting this! I’m started to get some offers for my blog, and I was wondering how to go about pitching to companies rather than having them contact me. This is so useful, especially your example. Thanks again! :)
    Jessica of HolaYessica recently posted..Good Spanish Movies – Tesis (1996)

    • DangerousBiz says:

      My pleasure, Jessica! I wrote this because I could have used an example like this when I was first starting to pitch to companies.

  68. cassie says:

    Great info! Very helpful.
    May I ask what was the SUBJECT header you used for your email,
    that the person receiving it did not think it was another junk mail.

    • DangerousBiz says:

      I often use some variation of “Possible Blogger Partnership” or even just “Media Inquiry” if it’s going directly to a media contact. I don’t often use the title of my blog in the subject simply because it involves the word “Dangerous,” but that could work, too.

  69. Wow! This post is extremely helpful and I can’t believe I’ve only found it now. I like that you’re not out looking for press trips and this post explains so much more than just “how to pitch”. I like the points Know what you ideally want, and know what you can give in return. I’ve bookmarked this page and I’ll surely be returning to it in the near future to read it again.
    Thanks for this!
    ps. your audience seems pretty big!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Glad you found this helpful, Nick!

      And no, I definitely don’t go out stalking down press trips. I’ve been on a few, but I much prefer to set up my own partnerships by pitching this way!

  70. Alison Abbott says:

    Great post Amanda. I just returned from my first TBEX and founds lots of friendly people, who held their cards very close whenever I tried to talk specifics. Being a visual person myself, the letter was a dream find and made me feel so much more comfortable about what I am doing. so thanks for that. I’d love to see your media kit and will email you a request for it. I really appreciate your sharing this with us , and am sorry our paths didn’t cross at the event.
    Best, Alison

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hopefully you enjoyed TBEX and weren’t too put off by those who do indeed like to keep their secrets to themselves. I’m really glad my sample pitch letter helped you!

  71. Carmen says:

    Loved this post Amanda, it’s very helpful. We’ve been pitching to a lot of tourism boards and although successful with a few, many don’t respond. I’ve improved our email send outs thanks to these tips and hopefully we’ll have some better responses shortly!
    Carmen recently posted..Our travel spending in July

  72. Great post Amanda! I am also late to the party in commenting — just found your blog through NatGeo last week.

    I love that you shared your actual pitch. A great outline that will surely help a lot of travel writers :)
    Michelle @ 3onthego recently posted..A Road Trip Through Puglia

  73. [...] How to Work with Tourism Boards from A Dangerous Business [...]

  74. Ross says:

    Great post. Delighted you included your pitch as I wouldnt have had a clue at what tone to set it at. Its a great idea and I hadnt thought of it at all. As you said the worst they can say is no and then you are in the same position you always were.
    Ross recently posted..Cenotes – What lies beneath

  75. Very helpful tips, Amanda! Thanks for sharing them.
    Michela @ RockyTravel Blog recently posted..Capture the colours of Australia

  76. Amber says:

    I keep coming back to these resources again and again, this time as I prepare a pitch for a tour company for 2014. Thanks again for providing this kind of information, and it was great meeting you at TBEX. Happy travels!
    Amber recently posted..Pico Iyer and Where is Home?

  77. Shweta says:

    Great post and a very helpful one. Thank you so much for sharing your actual pitch. Really appreciate it:) I had googled on some tips on asking for sponsorship etc and I came across your blog. I liked it and I am going to bookmark it so that I can read other posts:) keep travelling and sharing! cheers!

  78. I just started out with blogging about 2 months back and have been eagerly waiting to grow ‘enough’ to be invited on a press trip, or even pitch for one. I know I’m still faaaar from that day, but this is great info!

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Just focus on good content and interacting with others in the travel sphere, and the rest will follow on its own! (Though, of course being proactive and going after what you want is important, too!)

  79. anto says:

    Thanks for this post, I enjoyed reading it a lot and fnd it useful. I haven’t decided yet if I will send out pitches (our blog is just starting) but at least reading this gives me confidence you can at least try :-) happy travels!
    anto recently posted..Our year in selfies!

  80. Karen Warren says:

    Just found this post. Full of useful information, which I will put into practice straight away. Thanks!
    Karen Warren recently posted..2013: A Blogger’s Year in Pictures

  81. Alex Saad says:

    Great post. I am curious to know if there’s a list out there with travel organizations that sponsor these types of trips. I would imagine hardcore travel bloggers have probably done this and could save us some time from just randomly pitching. Any ideas?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Hmm I don’t know if there’s a “master list” out there. Tourism boards can be quite fickle, too. They might agree to work with one blogger but not another, depending on all sorts of factors. I think it’s probably better for us all to just craft really great pitches and target companies and boards that we really want to work with.

  82. Caitlin says:

    I really like this! One day when my blog is big enough I will definitely be using this advice – I feel like travel bloggers are gaining more and more respect in the tourism industry and working with a tourism board is a way to boost your credibility!
    Caitlin recently posted..Discovering Anne of Green Gables in Prince Edward Island

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Yes, things are definitely changing for us bloggers, Caitlin! Hopefully you’ll be able to use this advice yourself soon!

  83. Philipp says:

    Hi Amanda,
    very informative article. Do you mind sending me your media kit? I am curious how you designed it. Thanks a lot, Philipp
    Philipp recently posted..Exploring Vietnam’s final frontier. A roadtrip through Ha Giang Province

  84. jaye says:

    HI Amanda! this is very helpful, Im so happy I found this post. I myself just started a travel blog 6 months ago mainly for my friends and family but lately I’ve been getting readers who are constantly engaged and increasing traffic, to the point some offers from companies. I just don’t know where to start as i don’t earn anything from my blog. anyways, thanks! looking forward to receive a copy of your media kit.

  85. Thanks so much for this info! Question – what do you write as your Subject Line in these emails to the tourism boards?

    • DangerousBiz says:

      Usually I just write something using the words “media inquiry” or “possible blogger partnership” depending on how open they seem to be to bloggers.

      • Thanks!I saw someone else asked this same question after I read throughall the comments. I’ve sent requests to two tourism boards so far, each time I wrote a completely different letter, hoping for a better response. Both times, I never got a reply. Is this typical for you? How far in advance do you usually write to them?

        • DangerousBiz says:

          Unfortunately not getting an answer I would say is a response at least 50% of the time. And as far as how far in advance… it really depends on what/who you’re pitching. If it’s just a day trip, I sometimes don’t pitch until a few days ahead of time (mostly because I don’t tend to plan that sort of stuff out far in advance!). But if it’s a bigger trip or project, weeks or months in advance is always best!

  86. Victoria says:

    Hi Amanda! Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us all. I’m a new blogger of five months and I’m beginning to get some requests about a press kit of which I haven’t a clue, so I’d be delighted if I were still able to get one of yours, if you wouldn’t mind.
    I haven’t pitched anything yet except for a theatre ticket while I was on a weekend break in London, which fitted perfectly well to the post that I had written. However, I’m looking to be a local-regional blogger as I’m getting enquiries about specific places to go to as my location is popular in the summer. Your post has been enormously useful. Thanks very much for the tips. :)
    Victoria recently posted..Going to Poland: 10 reasons not to go!

  87. Vanessa says:

    great article Amanda! I came upon your website because I was looking for info on a Guatemala-Belize tour. I have a lifestyle blog and write the occasional travel post. I was thinking of pitching my next travels so I found your article extremely helpful. Vanessa ;)

  88. Amazing post Amanda. Each and every point is so precious. But most of the tourist boards are still not getting up with how big blogging can be.
    The Traveling Indian recently posted..Top 8 experiences in Hong Kong

  89. […] do I go about pitching? in How to Work with Tourism Boards by Dangerous […]

  90. Great post Amanda! You write really well. I think I need to grow my audience before I start pitching, but I’ve bookmarked your article.

    You’re very brave to travel to Ottawa in the dead of winter. For my part, I prefer warm places like Latin America or Southeast Asia. :) (I had a nice few days in Ottawa in May of 2013 though.)
    Marie-France (a.k.a. BigTravelNut) recently posted..Time or money: what do you need more?

    • Amanda says:

      Hopefully this post will be useful to you once you get to the point where you’re ready to start pitching!

      (And yeah, warm winter travels are nice. But I don’t mind the cold when there are cool travel experiences to be had!)

  91. Nina Travels says:

    Hi Amanda! I love your post – lots of useful information and as well motivation. I have been writing to some of the boards, but never heard from them, but after reading your tips, I know I will not give up. Timing you say – I’ll get it once and than I will say thank you Amanda for giving me the needed motivation, when I almost gave it all up! Keep up the good work and wishing you lots of travel success on your traveling!
    Nina Travels recently posted..Visit the Goriška Brda Wine cellar – Things to do in Slovenia

  92. Tam Gamble says:

    What a great article! I have been blogging for just over a year now although it is only recently that I have really decided upon my niche which I am currently working on updating on my site. You mention that interaction is key to the success of your blog and I agree with this. Numbers are slowly increasing on my blog but I am still struggling with interaction. I post on facebook/twitter regularly and have started a google+ and pinterest account but whilst I can post questions to try and interact with my audience I seem to struggle to gain a response from more than a few people. Do you have any guidance or top tips on how to improve this? I would like to write full-time, which I know is an increasingly difficult world to breakthrough into, and my niche allows for me to cross-over from the world of travel into publishing and books but I need to gain momentum with interaction into order to do this I feel.
    Tam Gamble recently posted..An Evening in Harrogate with… Robert Galbraith

    • Amanda says:

      It’s tough to give advice on social interaction, simply because it works differently for different people. I would suggest that YOU should become as active as possible – respond to other people’s tweets, use your Facebook page to comment on other pages you follow, etc. And use your Facebook Insights to find out when your followers are online, too. That might help you post at times when people are more likely to interact.

  93. Desiree' says:

    These are some really great tips! I think blogging is an uphill struggle – it’s a full time commitment but not considered as a ‘job’ as yet, despite its many responsibilities. Thank you for being you! Des
    Desiree’ recently posted..Boat ride in Bruges

  94. This is a very useful article. I’m just getting started, but I’ll try some of these tips once I start building some readership. It’s a looooong, frustrating process though.
    Terry from TerryTreks recently posted..The Old Faithful geyser basin

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