Travel Blogging: Sponsored Trips are Business, Not Favours

Leopard in Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India
Leopard in Satpura National Park, Madhya Pradesh, India

Travel bloggers get invited to sponsored trips from time to time. Before you get excited with the hope of receiving such invites, remember everyone is out there to do business. You will get invited only if your sponsors benefit – they are not out there to do you any favours.

Having said that, the travel trade is gradually realizing the significance of bloggers and other online influencers to their business, and do reach out to those they value. Here are six things you could do right to earn paid trips:

  1. Traffic: Of course, this is all important. How many visitors do you get on your blog? Your hosts will want to see the traffic.
  2. Relevance of audience: Sheer numbers are not always the desired metric. Travel companies want to see how relevant your audience is to their offerings. If your audience demographics do not fit their objectives, even millions of followers will not help. Example: If your followers are mostly backpackers, why would a chain like Four Seasons be interested? On the flip side, you could have just a few thousand hits, but if these are a niche like scuba diving, you know who would love to have you review and promote their services.
  3. Quality: Most travel brands would also like to be associated with quality content. You may have decent traffic, but it may put off companies if you write and present your posts badly.
  4. Social Media influence: Over the past few years, there has been a significant shift in consumption of content to social media. This is where people are consuming and sharing posts. If you have relevant following on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram etc. and you influence purchase decisions, travel companies will be interested in you.
  5. Content for the sponsors: You will be surprised how many travel companies have poor quality text, photos and videos on their websites, brochures and other marketing collaterals. You could generate this content for them, in exchange for trips.
  6. Write for others: Your blog may be in its early stages on the popularity curve, but there are publications, websites and even other blogs galore who have substantial readers. Offer to write for them; your pitch could go beyond just your blog making it attractive for sponsors.

You could be travelling the world for free, and even getting paid for it – just deliver what your sponsors need.

‘Travel Blogging’ is a series of posts for those who want to be travel bloggers / online influencers. It is based on my experiences and learnings as a travel blogger since 2007. Follow all posts under the Travel Blogging Category – and feel free to post any further queries to me in comments below or at If you want to join an offline session on travel blogging / photography / filmmaking, check out the Kunzum Media Lab.



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