Influencers share their top tips for nominating hotels for free rooms

“I don’t usually approach smaller hotels – they need revenue. Chains may be a better solution.” — Eric Stoen (332,000 Instagram followers), @travelbabbo


Eric Stoen


Eric Stoen, 50, of @travelbabbo has amassed over 332,000 Instagram followers in the eight years he has been traveling and recording his trips online full time. As his one-page media kit indicates, he traveled to 62 countries on seven continents during this time.

Stoen told Insider that 90% of the time hotels will offer him a free stay first. However, he still flexes his muscles to occasionally suggest hotels where he could stay for a long time to get a better rate.

“I would estimate that a third of the time I’m rejected, a third I get a free stay and a third I’m offered a discounted media rate,” he said.

For those who are still breaking into the industry and could save a lot more money upfront with fee-based hotels, he suggests pitching to chains that can afford to give way to the promotion. And, above all, commit to promoting the hotel in an authentic way.

“Reach out to hotels where you know there’s a fit with your followers and where you’re sure your posts can generate revenue,” Stoen said. “And don’t think of anything as a free stay; it’s a marketing partnership where you’re expected to provide real value in exchange for a stay.”

“Make sure it’s going to be a fair partnership,” he added. “I don’t usually approach smaller hotels – they need revenue. Chains may be a better fit, especially when you’re just starting out.”

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