Travel Influencers Share Media Kits and Tips to Score Free Hotel Stays

Eric Stoen, @travelbabbo (332,000 Instagram followers)

Media kit for Eric Stoen

Eric Stoen

Eric Stoen, 50, of @travelbabbo has accrued over 332,000 Instagram followers in the eight years he’s been traveling and logging his trips online full-time. As his one-page media kit states, he’s been to 62 countries across seven continents in that time.

Stoen told Insider that 90% of the time hotels will pitch him a free stay first. However, he still exercises the muscle to pitch hotels every now and then where he might be staying for an extended period of time so he can get a better rate. 

“I’d estimate one-third of the time I’m rejected, one-third I receive a free stay, and one-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 comped hotels, he suggests pitching to chains that can afford to give up a room for promotion. And, most importantly, commit to promoting the hotel authentically.

“Reach out to hotels where you know that there’s a fit with your followers and where you’re confident your posts can deliver revenue,” said Stoen. “And don’t look at 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 usually don’t reach out to smaller hotels – they need the revenue. Chains can be a better way to go, especially as you’re starting out.”

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It’s not too late to plan a Memorial Day trip — Here’s where to go for great hotel rates

It’s not too late to plan a Memorial Day trip — Here’s where to go for great hotel rates

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Flight attendant tip: Get a good night’s sleep at a hotel and close the curtains with a ha | Travel News | Travel

One commenter on TikTok said: “Solid gold tip. Why do the curtains never completely shut?”

Victoria responded: “I have no idea! But it’s super annoying when it happens.”

One traveller shared their own tip, saying: “I use a big claw hair clip but that’s a good one!”

A huge hair clip could also keep a hotel’s curtains closed but it might not work if the curtains are particularly heavy.

Most hotels have floor length curtains which can be a lot heavier than ones in an average household.

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Travel news: How to get a hotel room upgrade – get a suite by saying the right thing at re | Travel News | Travel

Hotel receptionists often have the power to upgrade your room for free, something they can do at their discretion if a better room is available. There are things you can say at reception to increase your chances of getting a suite or a bigger room. Money saving expert Ellie Austin-Williams, the brain behind This Girl Talks Money, gave her travel advice.

What should you say at reception to bag a suite?

“Please may I have a room on a higher floor?”

Ellie said: “Request a higher floor at the hotel.

“The suites and more premium rooms are usually located on the higher floors of a hotel, so request a room in the sky.

“Even if you don’t quite make it into the presidential suite, you’ll be further away from the street noise.”

“Please may I have a corner room?”

“Ask for a corner room at the hotel,” Ellie advised.

She said: “Always snap up a corner room if one is available. Due to the structural layout of a building, these rooms generally have the highest square footage and windows, while also offering the lowest noise level.”

READ MORE: Flight attendant shares ‘genius’ hack to carry extra bag for free ‘The crew won’t realise’

What other top tips can Ellie offer for freebies, deals or upgrades?

She told readers: “Sunday nights are usually the cheapest night to stay in a city hotel according to

“Most travellers have left the city and it’s pre-Monday morning business rush, so hotel rooms can often be discounted.

“December and January are cheaper travel months – what better way to get over the January blues than with a holiday or short break?

“The first two weeks of January are usually the quietest travel weeks and the perfect time to grab a bargain.”

Other tips to get a hotel room upgrade

Sign up for the hotel’s loyalty plan

Hotels love to reward their members. If you like to stay at one or two chains of hotel often, signing up as a member is likely to pay off.

Check in later in the day

Later in the day staff will have a better idea of what is available.

They are unlikely to upgrade you in the morning when a paying customer for the bigger room may come along.

On the other hand, check in too late and these upgrades may have already been given out.

Let them know is a special occasion

If you are celebrating, let hotel staff know. You may atleast get a free bottle of champagne.

Stay at a new hotel

New hotels are likely to have fewer guests, and so are more likely to have a space free. They will be keen to show off their top facilities.

They are also likely to be after good reviews – which upgrades often beget.

Be nice!

No matter what you say, if you are not polite to the staff they are not likely to reward you. It should go without saying, but always be kind and pleasant to staff at your chosen hotel.

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Flight attendant hotel room tip to stay safe on holiday – replace room key | Travel News | Travel

As many Britons jet off on holiday for the first time since the pandemic, many may not have stayed in a hotel for a while. A former flight attendant has shared some useful tips for check-in.

Tiktok user (anjas.adventures) shared a video on TikTok with hotel tips they learnt from being cabin crew.

They said: “Never open your door without looking through the spy hole, it could be anyone!”

While hotels often have good security, it could be possible for people to enter the hotel if they aren’t staying there.

Other guests will also be able to walk around hotel hallways freely. While most people would never try to enter someone else’s room, it’s always a good idea to be safe.

READ MORE: Simon Calder shares essential tip amid passport chaos

Nearly all hotel rooms will have a spy hole in the door where guests will be able to check who is outside.

It’s a good idea to check the spy hole before opening the door to a stranger while on holiday.

They added: “Replace your room key with a spare card to keep on the air con and your things charging!”

Most hotel rooms will be operated with a key card which is kept in a slot by the door. This often controls the energy in the room such as lights.


The flight attendant said that replacing the room key with another card might keep appliances on while guests are out.

However, this may not work for every hotel and guests should also make sure they don’t forget their keycard if it isn’t in the slot.

It’s also a good idea to turn the air conditioner off if guests are heading out to preserve energy.

The flight attendant added: “Put something in the safe you won’t be able to leave your room without so you won’t forget about the rest of your stuff in there.”

The hotel room safe is the perfect place to store expensive belongings or important documents such as passports.

However, in the rush to pack after a holiday it can be easy to forget important belongings in the safe.

Hotels will be able to post items to guests if they leave them behind but it will be an unnecessary hassle for guests.

The flight attendant suggested guests keep an essential item they won’t be able to leave without in the safe.

If guests leave a shoe or phone charger in the safe while they’re in the room, they might not forget other items in the safe.

However, Hotels & Discounts, has recommended guests leave important items outside of the hotel safe.

It could be the most obvious place for a thief to search. The travel site recommended that guests hide items in a “hairbrush handle” or “lip balm”.

Guests should also take as few valuables as possible if they want to avoid losing an important item.

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Exactly when to book a hotel to get the best deal

This story is part of CNBC Make It’s One-Minute Money Hacks series, which provides easy, straightforward tips and tricks to help you understand your finances and take control of your money.

As summer approaches, you might start looking toward your next vacation, and in some cases, setting your sights on a faraway destination. Roughly 50% of millennials and Gen Z are planning to travel internationally in 2022, according to Expedia’s 2022 Travel Value Index outlook.

But whether you are taking a quick weekend trip or jet-setting across the world, the recent rise in inflation might put a damper on your plans.

If you want to maximize your trip budget, the golden rule of travel is typically to plan your trip well ahead of time.

With flights, typically the earlier you book, the more money you’ll save. But with hotels or Airbnbs, it can be unclear how far in advance you should reserve a room to get the best deal. 

One tip: If you’re flexible, willing to wait or simply easy-going with travel planning, you could save on lodging by booking at the last minute. That’s right, it can be cheaper to book your next home-away-from-home only days before you leave. 

The ideal amount of time to book a hotel room is only 15 days before your trip, according to a 2021 NerdWallet study.

Looking at more than 2,500 hotel room rates between 2019 and 2021, NerdWallet found rates were about 13% cheaper when booked 15 days before compared to four months before.

On average, travelers saved about $30 per night by booking last-minute, which can really add up.

The savings were even higher for luxury hotels: About 22% cheaper when booked 15 days out.

However, if you’re traveling to a popular destination or during a busy travel season, you risk not snagging your first-choice hotel. You may get stuck at a hotel further away from your destination — the beach, Disney World or a sporting event may be a little harder to get to if you wait too long to book.

But with skyrocketing travel prices, booking your hotel at the right time could mean the difference in how much cash you have in your pocket for the rest of the trip.

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European hotel prices exceed pre-pandemic levels

The European hotel sector is set to become the “poster child” of recovery for the next six months, according to the latest data from industry specialist STR.

Average daily rates (ADR) are now, on average, six per cent higher than pre-Covid rates.  

Ireland leads the recovery, with rates 21 per cent higher than comparable 2019 levels in May, and is closely followed by Portugal (18 per cent higher) and Spain (14 per cent higher). Germany and Austria are among the slowest to rebound (at six and nine per cent below pre-Covid levels, respectively), largely due to lingering restrictions. 

Occupancy rates across the continent are also trending rapidly towards a full recovery. Overall, occupancy has improved to 80 per cent of pre-pandemic levels, as the industry gained strength following an earlier decline due to the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, and is likely to reach 90 per cent recovery in the coming months. 

Hotels in Poland (93 per cent), the UK (89 per cent) and Ireland (84 per cent) saw the highest occupancy levels, respectively. 

STR managing director Robin Rossmann expects Europe to follow a similar recovery trajectory to that seen in the US, where ADR has surpassed 2019 rates and group demand has reached 90 per cent of pre-pandemic levels. 

“There is still so much pent-up demand — we’ve already experienced this for leisure travel, and it’s the same for business travel — and this is increasing week by week. For the next nine to 12 months I believe pent-up demand will drive [hotel business] faster than anybody can forecast using a model,” he said. 

Transient demand has fully recovered, while group demand across Europe is currently at 50 per cent of 2019 levels, but likely to increase further. Weekday occupancy rates have rebounded to 90 per cent of 2019 levels, with a full recovery expected by mid 2022.

The STR data, presented on Friday, also indicated that cost – not Covid-19 – is now the biggest inhibitor to travel. However, Rossmann insisted that demand will overcome current economic headwinds and inflation concerns, which will likely be felt in 2023. 

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U.S. Q1 Hotel Pipeline Steady as Demand Grows

The total number of U.S. hotel construction projects in the development pipeline at the end of the first quarter was 2 percent higher than one year prior, but the number of hotel rooms in the pipeline declined 3 percent, according to a new report from Lodging Econometrics.

The total first-quarter U.S. hotel construction pipeline stood at 5,090 projects, representing about 606,300 rooms. About 960 projects representing about 128,800 rooms currently were under construction, down 27 percent and 28 percent year over year, respectively. Conversely, about 

Meanwhile, projects and rooms in early planning comprising 2,218 projects and 254,500 rooms were in the early planning stages, a first-quarter record and up 24 percent and 12 percent year over year, respectively. 

“New projects and development planning that was previously on hold are now getting the green light from investors and developers with buoyed confidence thanks to rather robust domestic leisure travel during the first part of the year,” according to Lodging Econometrics. “With stronger domestic leisure travel in the U.S., along with the albeit slower revival of corporate and group travel, there is growing confidence in the recovery.”

Pipeline Highlights

About 63 percent of the total U.S. hotel construction pipeline is concentrated in the upper and upper-midscale tiers, a typical share, according to Lodging Econometrics. However, the renovation or conversion pipeline totaled 1,420 projects representing 184,700 rooms, an all-time high and up 59 percent and 48 percent, respectively, from the first quarter of 2021.

Marriott International in the first quarter had more U.S. projects in the pipeline than any other hotel company, with 1,359 projects representing about 171,800 rooms. It was followed by Hilton Worldwide, with 1,287 projects and about 146,600 rooms, and IHG Hotels & Resorts, with 785 projects and about 79,000 rooms. Together, these three companies account for 67 percent of the projects and 66 percent of the rooms in the total U.S. construction pipeline.

Dallas led all U.S. markets with 165 projects and 19,700 rooms in the first-quarter pipeline, followed by Atlanta with 135 projects and 17,600 rooms, Los Angeles with 123 projects and about 20,200 rooms and  New York with 122 projects and about 20,800 rooms.

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