How to Work with Hotels and Aligned Brands- EP. 47

What does it mean to collaborate and work with hotels and aligned brands as a business? In this episode, we go behind the scenes as an influencer/content creator and share what it takes to do this for a living. Learn about the business side of creativity, self-audit your own value proposal, and hear the difference between my first ever hotel collaboration vs. my most recent one. P.S. Enrollment for Momentum Mastermind is now open!

This week we talk about aligning brand content with your audience (7:50) and understanding business money flow (14:00) in order to optimise your pitch to brands and hotels (18:30).

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Audio Transcript

The Wanderlover podcast was created with a mission to enable travel and freedom through entrepreneurship. I’m your host, Danielle Hu – business mentor, content creator and founder of The Wanderlover. Tune in every week for episodes about travel, online business, social media and mindset that will inspire you to take massive action towards living the life of your dreams. Hi, everyone. Welcome back to The Wanderlover Podcast. I’m your host, Danielle. Last week was the launch week of momentum mastermind and it was the perfect week. We have the most amazing aligned group of people coming together and I’m just so, so grateful.

Last week was also when I managed to hang five on my surfboard. So you guys know just how much I’ve been trying, investing. You know, I have a surf instructor really teaching me how to cross step and make my way to the nose and everything just came together. You know, like I got signups while I was in the water and it was just so flowy and it made me realize like, this is what business is all about. You spend all this time creating and sharing. And so when it’s time to launch your offer, there will be people who notice. And even when you’re in the water and not really working, there will be people who sign up.

(1m 33s):
So if you are interested in joining this cohort, we start in September and there is still time to register. I’ve been getting a few questions, asking what exactly is included and what’s covered in momentum. So I kind of just listed it all out and I’m going to share it with you. I custom designed the curriculum to be the most supportive and beneficial to everyone involved. So once we get our final cohort and after I have one on one goal mapping and strategy sessions with everyone, I’m really going to define what we focus on each week. But top level, we’re really going to focus on building your authority online, as well as the business side of creativity.

(2m 17s):
So this looks like nailing down your online brand and who you show up as marketing and lead generation, what to focus on and prioritize at each stage of your business. Everyone in this round of momentum will either be a new entrepreneur or an early stage entrepreneurs. So making less than around 5,000 USD a month, we’re going to create or going to build, and we are going to scale. So it also looks like pricing and selling with soul. I’m going to share my launch strategies. We’re going to do a lot of money mindset work, because that is also just so important.

(2m 56s):
It’s less technical, but the mindset is something that I obviously focus on a lot. We’ll also cover outsourcing and align content creation, social media strategy, ultimately just structuring your business. So you’re set up for time, freedom, location, freedom and financial freedom. And of course, all of the personal development work that I’ll be recommending and sharing with you guys. So that looks like books, podcasts, journal prompts, meditations, affirmations, videos. Like my intention with this mastermind is just to have the supportive, inspiring community that you are surrounding yourself with for the rest of 2021, because what you focus on grows, right?

(3m 43s):
And if everyone around you is really focusing on their business, then you literally have no choice, but to Excel, you’ll also get the constant feedback and support of the group for a second opinion whenever you need. It’s literally just, decision-making made easy. If you’re really indecisive, we’re going to be the perfect group to throw your ideas at. And we’ll tell you exactly what to execute. So you’re less like in your head and you’re more focused on execution last but not least. You have constant access to me. We start off with your own customized 90 minute goal mapping strategy call, and we’ll map out a game plan for the rest of the year and the rest of your business trajectory.

(4m 28s):
Even if you don’t have any tangible assets in front of you right now, we’ll also be in the Voxer group. So it’s like voice messaging, walkie talkie, and you can voice note us whenever you want. It’s going to be so great. It’s going to be so supportive. And if this is speaking to you, you can sign up in the episode description, or if you have any questions, just feel free to DM me at The Wanderlover. So this week’s episode is how to work with hotels and aligned brands. I’m so excited because this week we are checking out magic Hills, which is a bamboo house in east Bali. I’ve worked with the owners before. They also own another bamboo house that I stayed at a few years ago when I was in Bali.

(5m 12s):
But I really want to explain what goes on behind the scenes of working with hotels. And also, I know I’ll be getting questions like, how do you make this happen? How do I even start? And so with this episode, I hope that it’s really valuable and you can have actionable steps that you can take in order to also be working with hotels. And if you’re not in travel with aligned brands that share the same values, I want to give a shout out to Alicia. She is one of my sincere followers who had this episode requests. So here you go, Alicia, I hope this answers all of your questions. She also had a few questions that you DMD me with about the travel influencer handbook and what was included.

(5m 55s):
Guys, if you have any questions at all, I say this all the time, my DMS are always open and I mean, it, my goal is to help you. So if you have any questions, CME, and maybe I’ll create a podcast episode out of it. So in the travel influencer handbook, I focus a lot on the business side of being an influencer. And that’s basically what this episode and my podcast is all about the business side of creativity, of being online, of building your brand. It’s always going to be seen as your own business. And that’s really the mindset that we have to adopt. It’s not a hobby. It’s not like something you do. Occasionally. It’s something that’s yours, it’s your personal brand.

(6m 38s):
And you basically have to live it, breathe it every single day and really put your intentions and values in. So I want you to think of the platform you’re building as a magazine, not just industry Graham, it’s like your platform online on every single medium that you have an account for. So this can look like a website. It can look like a podcast, a blog, your tick talk, your LinkedIn, who you are and what your mission is, what your values are. It has to be consistent across all the platforms. And it can’t just be on Instagram. It’s basically like having a magazine that is only in print and is only available at like grocery stores.

(7m 22s):
And for those people who only shop online and who never go to grocery stores, they will never find out about you. Right? And you’re also going to have less authority because if you’re only at those one chain of grocery stores, like how are you going to get into pharmacies into gas stations? Like the less people see you, the less relevant you are. So you really want to be omnipresent on every single one of your platforms as an influencer. The other mindset shift that I really want to bring to your attention is when you are creating content, it has to be for your audience. And it has to be sustainable. Even if you’re not working with hotels, with brands or anything that you’re getting paid for.

(8m 6s):
If you think about a magazine, like if a magazine only operated on sponsorships and advertisements, people probably wouldn’t buy it, right? Like if there’s just so many advertisements and no color content, same thing with your social media pages share something that will attract an audience to you. And that will get you, give you the opportunity to really sell yourself and your engaged audience, two hotels. Does that make sense? Additional only if you post every day to the same audience, without focusing on the marketing and advertising side behind it, then your audience is going to grow slowly.

(8m 48s):
And you’re going to be creating a lot of time consuming content without the maximum benefit and the reach. And thirdly, you really want to be focusing on creating new content across all platforms, not just on Instagram. So this looks like new blog posts, new podcast episodes consistently, so that you, our audience will constantly have something to look forward to. Like, imagine if you bought a new magazine every month and they only updated like the horoscope section, which would be amazing, but it wouldn’t make sense because everyone else is like, Hmm, what about like the fashion section?

(9m 28s):
What about travel? Like everyone wants new content, right? So don’t only think about one section of your business. Of course, this all takes time. It takes a lot of practice and experience juggling all the pieces of your business together. But I promise if you’re focusing on it and you’re trying dying, you’re going to move forward. So the thinking behind growing your following and having a large audience on all of these platforms is when you work with hotels and you work with align brands, they get conversions. So if they’re basically using your platforms as advertisements, then intuitively if you post about whatever it is that you’re recommending, then you should get conversions because you’ve built up this audience who are like, oh my gosh, I totally trust what you have to say.

(10m 19s):
This looks amazing. And I’m going to go check it out and I’m going to purchase, or I’m going to book. That is always the main goal. And that’s kind of like the business side behind it. So you’re always thinking, what value can I offer this business? This hotel, this brand we’ve recently currently started getting a lot of proposals of influencers who want to work with Ananda, which is me and my best friend’s new jewelry line. If you haven’t checked it out yet, go check it But anyway, we started getting people, wanting to work with us. And it’s really interesting seeing it from, you know, the business side of it, because we’re really thinking how can this influencer really help our company and help promote our company while at the same time, getting our pieces and getting compensated for it.

(11m 8s):
And I just want to make it super clear right now. I say this and the travel influencer handbook, if you don’t have a giant fall yet, that is okay. You don’t need at least X amount of followers to start working with brands. It’s literally just who you connect with on the other side, which is usually just another human being. Like if you DM Ananda it’s either me or Annie. We’re just normal people. If you, you give us your value proposal, we will consider it. And so will marketing teams. So we’ll brands. So will the human on the other side of your interaction. So if you don’t have a giant following yet, then really hone in on your value and what else you can provide the brand, whether that’s photography, whether that’s videography, whether that’s copywriting services, whether that’s content writing services, like there’s so many other ways that you can offer value to a brand without having to just take a photo and promote it.

(12m 8s):
So, for example, for Ananda, we pay photographers to create content for us. And we do shoots the photographers. Don’t necessarily have to have the largest followings. We care mainly about the quality of their work and whether they’re able to deliver on our vision. So if other people reach out to us as photographers, you don’t need to have like huge followings. And you can say, look, I can shoot here. I have these models. I give this value to you, right? And approach us with a value proposal. We will consider it because we already have the budget for things like this. And that is a perfect match. Even if you’re not entirely sure what you can offer at this moment, really get to know who it is that you want to be working with and do your research.

(12m 56s):
See what they’re struggling with and come in with a proposal. And there you have a business model Enrollment for a momentum mastermind is now open. I always say what you focus on grows. So if you really want to commit to your online business and income for the rest of 2021 alongside other ambitious entrepreneurs, then momentum is for you. This is my signature, a four month group coaching program designed for entrepreneurs, confused about how to actually get started in the online space or those of you who have already started. But you’re seeing inconsistent income month to month.

(13m 36s):
We give you clarity, guidance, strategies, and accountability to really help you map out and reach your business goals. You get personalized one-on-one guidance from me and a support system like no other. We start in September and you can sign up in that episode description. I cannot wait to support you and welcome you in. I just had and onboarding session with a new client. A few days ago, she comes from corporate has no entrepreneurship experience, but knows that this is what she wants to pursue. And so really simply I explained money flows into your business through these four simple steps.

(14m 17s):
The first is lead generation. The second is nurturing. The third is offering products and services. And the fourth is closing. So exchanging the money for products or services. It’s really that simple four steps, right? And so if you apply this to your influencer business and your personal brand, you need to be constantly focusing on one of these four steps all the time in order for your brand to grow, be sustainable and monetize so that you can reinvest it into your business with collaboration. So when you’re working with a hotel or a brand, your services really help them with lead generation because it boosts the exposure of their brand so that they can read it even more people.

(15m 8s):
And with that in mind, that is where your value proposition should lie, because you’re like, this is how I can help you reach even more people which will in turn, help you with nurturing, help you sell your products and services and therefore make more money in the end. If we apply this to our own influencer business, you really need to make sure that you have all of these four steps in order to work with hotels and brands. And on top of that, be focused on all four of them instead of just one. So with lead generation, that’s where all of your systems come in. So that’s where your website, your workflows, your Instagram, your social media, like that’s where you reach more and more people and more and more brands.

(15m 52s):
Then the more you nurture them, the more you can sell your products and services. So whether that’s products that you have in your shop, or it can be services that you offer the hotels. So again, like whatever your value proposition is, it should be packaged. You should have a rate card, you should have it ready to go so that when your client comes to you, you’re like, this is exactly what I offer. And this is how much I charge. And then last but not least have your payment gateways ready. So whether you pay through PayPal or Stripe, make it super easy for someone to just book with you, to hire you and to get that money into your business, because that’s how you’re going to get more and more momentum to continue creating, to continue sharing and just growing your brand.

(16m 37s):
I’m going to give an example of the first hotel collaboration I ever did, which was back in 2017. So October of 2017, and then I’m going to give a more recent example to kind of give you a better understanding of how things can change over the years. However, before I do this, I just want to make it super clear that it took a lot of mistakes and trial and error and pitching to brands that never responded to me like a lot went on behind the scenes that I don’t share online to get me to where I am today. So don’t think that it’s it easy, you know, it came with a lot of failures and just because I don’t share them, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

(17m 21s):
And by telling you this, I hope that if you are not getting the response and the feedback that you’re seeing on social media, which is a highlight reel, don’t give up, like, don’t take it personally and think that you’re a failure or you’re any lesser than any other creator, because I guarantee you, every creator has gone through the same exact thing you are experiencing. And by practice, by really committing and being stubborn, you’re going to see your first big break very soon. I promise. So my first ever hotel collaboration was in Rome in Italy. When I went for, I think it was like three or four nights, and then we went to Malta and then we went to Paris.

(18m 7s):
And I remember I had like maybe 10,000 followers on Instagram. And I really just wanted to try my luck and work with a hotel. So I crafted this message and I made it super clear what I could offer the hotel in exchange for a three or four nights day. I think it was three and four days, such bad memory, but in exchange for our stay in Rome. And I still use this template until this day, it has always served me because I really focus on what it is. I can be delivering them and how much I love their place. So I really look into the hotel.

(18m 47s):
I research it, I really connect with them. And that way I’m able to offer this value. That’s really customized to them. I include this template, this exact pitch template that I still use in the travel influencer handbook. So if you don’t have your copy and you’re really wondering how you can get started, you can buy and download the travel influencer handbook in the episode description. So I sat down and I had the mindset because this was when I was still working in corporate. And I remember when I was applying to my first finance job, I sent out maybe like 50 to a hundred applications heard back from less than 10 of them was invited as super days for maybe three or four of them.

(19m 29s):
And then ended up getting like three offers. I had the same mentality when I was pitching hotels. I was like, well, if I just send an a hundred emails, someone has to respond, right? Like someone has to need the service that I am offering them. And one of these emails should succeed. And that is what happened. I sent out so many emails that I think my inbox just like temporarily crashed, but it makes sense because I needed to have as many leads. So this is step one lead generation. I had to have as many leads as possible for that specified like very specific timeframe that I was going to be in Rome.

(20m 15s):
So I sent out the message. I was like, this is what I can offer you. And this is what I’m looking for in exchange. And they were like, great. This sounds amazing. And that’s exactly what we need because we don’t have the budget to hire a photographer right now and all of these other things. So I would is really helping them with their marketing efforts. It was like win-win and it’s allowed to be that way. Like business should be always win-wins. So really be selling yourself on what exactly it is that you can offer. When we flew to Rome, we checked in, we met the, and it was very professional. Like I wanted to carry my brand, the wander lover, which was still like in its initial stages.

(20m 55s):
I wanted it to be a very reputable brand. I come from finance and I know how much branding can affect someone, right? Like affect a business. And how your name travels. I wanted to just deliver the best quality content I could possibly offer. And that’s what would go into my portfolio that I still have until this day. So really take your brand seriously from the beginning, like write down what you’re and colors are like, what your values are and what you want people to think of when they hear your name. And every single time, I’d say maybe like every hour of the day that we were awake, we were shooting.

(21m 37s):
So every night we photographed every single person that was a staff there. We photographed every single detail in the hotel. We photographed, even without me in it, it was some of them with me, some of them, without me, some of them I could use on my Instagram, we over-delivered a F because that was my first collaboration. And I was like, I want this to be amazing. I want them to recommend me. I want them to remember me. I want them to use this on their website. And that’s the, it G that I carried throughout it and it works. That’s what they want to see. And that is the value that they want.

(22m 17s):
It’s so apparent. Now, even on the other side, you know, we are selling jewelry. That is an energy that I want to see in the influencers we collaborate with. So after we stay there, we document, we take photos and content I deliver within 14 days and everything is edited. Everything is either we transferred or uploaded to a Google drive. And this is all stated in the contract that we signed beforehand. So if you want a sample contract, that’s also in the travel influencer handbook, highly, highly, highly recommend, always sending a contract because it holds you accountable. And it has clear definitions of what both parties expectations are.

(22m 59s):
So you deliver, which usually includes posting sharing like a blog post, or a podcast episode, whatever you had in your contract. And after you deliver, they will pay you depending on the company within 14 days, within 30 days, whatever it specifies on your contract. So in the beginning, it was a lot of outreach, like 98% outreach, and maybe 2% of people reach out to me. You will make mistakes and you will work with unaligned brands. You know, people will want to work with you. And you’re like, this actually doesn’t like fit with my feet at all. But depending on what you’re looking for, whether you’re looking for that exposure or experience, you might take it on.

(23m 43s):
And that is okay in the, you’re still finding out what your own brand is. So don’t expect that every brand you work with to be perfectly aligned, because you don’t even know what alignment is. Right. And I definitely felt that in the beginning, I was like, I mean, I’m into fitness. I know this is a travel page, but this is like a really, really nice treadmill. And I know that I can create awesome content for that. So I’m going to take it on. And only like years later, I look back on that and I was like, Hmm, I could have maybe done without it. But at the same time, I wouldn’t have gotten that treadmill. So it really depends. And don’t put so much pressure on yourself to really make the perfect decision at every point of your business, because that will never happen.

(24m 29s):
And it’s impossible to, and no one does that. So give yourself permission to just try new things, to test things out, fail a few times or a lot of times, but ultimately never give up. Okay. Lastly, I want to share an example of a recent collaboration where I kind of took the steering wheel. And I was just, I knew exactly what I offered. And so I packaged it into a paid proposal and they accepted. So they reached out to me and was like, we really align with your messaging. We really want to work with you. How do we do so? And so I crafted up this offer, which essentially was just my rate card.

(25m 10s):
But in email form, I knew exactly what I did in the past. And it looked like a social post. It looked like 10 to 15 high quality images. It looked like drone shots and any extra videos from this location. And I specified one to two locations, everything here delivered within 14 days. And I put my price on it and they accepted within 24 hours. So this is also something that has transcended any social media platform, because I’ve had this rate card. I’ve had this package since years ago, since 2018, when I first started and I just adjusted, I took feedback from my clients.

(25m 53s):
If they needed more videos or more drone shots or more social exposure, I would change my packages to accommodate them. But underlying, like all of this, I had the basics set up. I had my payment processing up, so it was so easy to deliver and then get paid for it. After years and years of doing this, what happens is your reputation grows, your connections, grow your feedback and testimonials grow and more and more people are just going to be reaching out to you with the hotel that we’re going to this week. I still had the contact from our last hotel stay in Bali years ago.

(26m 37s):
And they knew I was back in Bali. And then this collaboration came up. So you never know someone is going to affect you. So be nice to everyone deliver the best quality content. Even if you think you’re never going to see them again, you still want to be over-delivering because you never know how we can turn into a job or a relationship in the future. I hope this episode was helpful. I hope it really shifted your mindset of how to approach working with hotels. It’s not just taking pretty photos and that’s it. You’re really building your business out of it. And you want to be carrying yourself in a way that’s professional and that’s receptive to a lot of money coming into your business, all in an aligned way.

(27m 27s):
So if you have any more questions, feel free to DM me. For any other business tips or templates or brands that pay that you can work with today, check out the travel influencer handbook. Lastly, momentum is still open for enrolment. You Have until the end of August to sign up, I would love to welcome you into this space of just really supportive people with a lot of guidance, with a lot of clarity on what it is you should be focusing on right now for the end of the year. So if you’re interested also let me know, and I cannot wait to support you on this journey. I’ll see you all next week. Have an amazing week guys, love you all.

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu

Danielle Hu is a multiple 6-figure travel influencer, business coach, and Founder of The Wanderlover. She has traveled to over 65+ countries running her online business and surfing in remote tropical destinations. Her mission is to help creatives and coaches achieve time freedom, location freedom, and financial freedom through online entrepreneurship.

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My mission is to help you design a location-independent lifestyle through online entrepreneurship, to achieve time freedom, location freedom, financial freedom.

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