World traveler, breakdancer, and influencer Zach Benson lives a life most people only dream about. He’s figured out a way to travel the world for free by marketing hotels and resorts to his 56 million follower Instagram travel accounts. But the best part is, he’s sharing his knowledge so you can do the same!
What does it take to get hotels to hook you up? You don’t necessarily need to have a huge following to start, but it doesn’t hurt to grow your audience.
3 Ways to Build Your Following
Repost Account– Start a travel account by simply reposting other people’s good content! This method is great for people who don’t have a lot of experience, interest, or time to generate their own content. You can repost incredible pictures from well-known Instagrammers, credit the original account, and grow your audience fast because you’re posting pictures that already have high virality potential.
Hashtags- A lot of people think that the more hits a hashtag has, the better it is, but that’s not always true. If you use hashtags that have millions of hits, your content is less likely to get seen. Research hashtags that have a smaller number of posts — look for the 10–25k range. Test different hashtag sets throughout the week and see what works for you!
Engagement Groups- From your hashtag research, you can start getting into engagement groups, or circles of people that are in the same niche as you. Exchange likes and comments with the accounts that are doing well. By being generous with your engagement on other profiles, more people will want to engage with you. If you get enough engagement in a short window of time, the likelihood of hitting the Explore Page will increase, and you’re more likely to go viral.
In addition to those 3 key ways to build your following, you want to focus on creating value-driven content and “mastering the mundane”, as Zach calls it. Work with 200–300 micro-influencers to engage, promote, and shout out your page on their Instagram stories. When you hit the 10k follower mark, you gain the swipe-up story feature and can promote links to websites, which will make your travel account more appealing for hotels and resorts to use!
That being said, you don’t have to wait until your account has millions of followers to travel for free. While you’re building up your own account, Zach recommends following these three steps to reap the benefits of free travel…
Find Successful Travel Accounts that are doing what you want to do and offer to do a promotional ad on their account. Ask what their rate would be to post a hotel promo on their account if you provided high-quality photo and video content. Since they are an established account with millions of followers, the hotels are more likely to want to work with them. That way, you’ve built a relationship with the major travel account and the hotel as well!
Hire Locals at your destination to take care of the content. You want to be out enjoying your vacation, not editing photos and video in your hotel room! Hire a local for a couple of hours to create content for the hotel — take the photos, edit the videos, schedule the posts, whatever it is you don’t want to be bothered with. It usually costs around $25–50 an hour.
Offer to do Reviews. TripAdvisor and Facebook can be huge business generators for these hotels. Reviewing on both sites is free, and it’s an added incentive to boost your chance of being offered a complimentary stay at their resort.
Who to Email and What to Say
When you’re targeting hotels, you can usually get bites with a well-pitched email and the right subject line. Simply using the listed informational email (firstname.lastname@example.org) will work.
Zach recommends the following format:
Subject: VIP Reservation
I’m [Your Name]. I’m an Instagram influencer [attach your account, or the account you’re paying to promote on] and would love to come and promote your hotel and showcase your experience to my [number] followers. These are the date nights I’m looking at [dates].
I can offer posts on the following travel accounts [insert accounts] in exchange for your best available suite, breakfast, lunch, dinner, spa treatments, and transportation from the airport to the hotel.
I can do the following [list the breakdown of your offer i.e. 2 Instagram posts, 1 photo, 1 video, 2 stories, etc]
Thank you for your time, and I look forward to hearing from you!
By following Zach’s growth strategies, email targeting, and travel content tips, you’re well on your way to jet-setting around the world in 5-Star style for free.
To learn more about Zach’s Instagram Growth Agency, head to https://www.assistagram.us/
You can find him on Instagram @Zachvacay
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