Want to Be a Travel Blogger? Tips on Working With A Visitor’s Bureau

Aug 7 2017

by Emily Laborde Hines

The Southern Coterie blog: "Want to Be a Travel Blogger? Tips on Working with a Visitor's Bureau" by Emily Hines (photo: Kelli Boyd Photography for The Southern C and Visit Savannah)
photo: Kelli Boyd Photography for The Southern C and Visit Savannah

As influencer marketing grows and traditional media slows, travel organizations are looking to work with influencers to help create unique and authentic content to support their destination’s message across a variety of outlets. I am currently in a unique situation. I’m both a travel blogger and work full time as a digital media manager for a destination marketing organization, Visit Bloomington. Being able to see both sides has been so interesting and has enabled me to better my pitches to brands and help my employer learn about a brand new (to them) user group that can help create incredible content and spread the word about our destination. When I started working there a year ago, they pretty much only worked with traditional writers on assignment. Slowly but surely the team is understanding the need to work with influencers and bloggers. Since many of the readers here are bloggers and influencers, I wanted to share some tips on how to successfully work with a Visitor’s Bureau.

Perfect Your Pitch

We talk about pitching throughout The Southern C Summit but it couldn’t be more crucial to begin a relationship with a travel organization or any client. When you contact a Convention and Visitor’s Bureau (CVB) we need you to be explicit in your needs and what value you can provide. Every pitch should include an intro to your brand and stats and why your brand/blog is a good fit.

A lot of times members of the organization are old school so a media kit is very helpful when discussing potential influencer partnerships. Include stats for social media profiles, audience metrics, and a snapshot of your google analytics (6 months is pretty standard).

Know the Destination’s Brand

Do your research about the destination and please scope out their digital presence to make sure you’d be a good fit. Each destination is incredibly different so know who you’re talking to, their style (images and voice), and for goodness sake, know the organization’s hashtags.

Keep an open mind

Your reach and brand fit will ultimately dictate how much of your trip will be hosted. When in negotiations, keep an open mind. Even if they can’t provide everything you ask for, they may be able to offer passes to attractions, event tickets and restaurant gift certificates to help with your trip. Adjusting your timeline can help secure comps, too. For example, in Bloomington hotels are at 100% capacity just about every weekend so if you’re pitching an all expenses paid trip during Indiana University basketball season, it is likely that we won’t be able to help you with a hotel. But change up your ask to mid-week and you may be able to get a lot more.

Follow Up

It’s important to hold up your end of the bargain. This may seem obvious but I’m amazed when we have to follow up with a writer for something that had a deadline that they set. When you leave a destination, they’ve completed their portion of the agreement so it is on you the influencer to complete the assignment in a timely fashion. Something else we hear often at the Summit that rings true here too: Under-promise and over-deliver every time.


Emily Laborde Hines View More Blog Posts from this Author

Emily Hines is a Georgia girl now living in Bloomington, Indiana with her husband and two black labs. She is a freelance writer and digital media manager hooked on cruising back roads, craft beer, and snapping photos of old buidings. Follow along with my United States travels at Em's on the Road.

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