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‘What do I do if a travel blogger asks me for a free tour?’

This has become a common question more & more tour operators are asking these days.

On the one hand, a great article from the right blogger could be great for your SEO(opens in a new tab) & therefore increase sales.

But what if they never end up writing the blog post?

This has happened to many tour operators, but there’s great news: there’s one simple trick you can use to eliminate this problem!

Whenever they ask you for a free tour, just tell them this:

‘Sure, we’d be happy to. Just pay for the tour upfront and when the blog post goes live we’ll be happy to refund the payment.’

(I learned this from one of our customers, La Bicicleta Verde(opens in a new tab), in Chile.)

One person traces a route on a map while the other watches and holds a cup of coffee

Some quick tips:

1. My advice is: check out their blog first and foremost. Make sure there is plenty of engagement through their social media profiles, too.

2. In general, if you have public tours where the incremental cost of taking bloggers is low, then I would always say yes. The SEO value of the link is quite high and will be worth your while.

At the end of the day, if they have a decently credible blog (which has a different audience than your blog(opens in a new tab)), they can pay up front and receive a refund as soon as their post is up. They need an incentive to actually write the thing.

This advice doesn’t apply to private tours. In that case, you’d hope that the blog is VERY popular and highly read to make it worthwhile.

Woman typing on a laptop while sitting on a rock in the ocean
Simon Lewis from in a new tab) offers tour operators the following response:

‘Please send me your media kit & terms & conditions and if you offer the marketing value I need to my targeted demographic we can talk.

Media kit should include:
Social media numbers
Blog stats
Demographic of readers

Terms & conditions include:
Date of delivery of content.’

The general rule is if a blogger’s pitch is, ‘Can I travel/stay with you for free in exchange for a blog post?’ the answer should be NO!

It is important for the industry to understand the difference between bloggers and blaggers. A blogger offers a marketing service of value, and a blagger is looking for a freebie.

Man wearing a baseball cap crouched down in the middle of a street pointing a camera at the viewer

Links ARE good for SEO, but genuine bloggers & influencers can also offer a lot more through creation of digital content for their social media platforms. If you love their work, ask for a quote to create something for you.

In other words, be prepared to pay the right blogger/influencer/digital content creator to join your tour, as they are professionals and offer a valuable marketing service, producing great visual and media content.

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