First of all, the most important thing: When I introduce a hotel here, I don’t do that in order to vacation for free. Then you wouldn’t put so much time and effort into designing the layout and text. I do this because I am fascinated by cool hotel insider tips, cool pools and the hosts behind them, and I would like to pass on the enthusiasm for such a wanderlust spot so that others out there – who share my quirk for wine, design and fair prices – can also experience these impressions.
Traveling is collecting impressions – and sharing them. Preferably with your own personal touch.
How does it come to a cooperation?
If you have 20, 30, 40 thousand followers, probably by yourself. But not always. The whole world does not revolve around Instagram. Vinum Hotels, with whom I recently realized my first hotel stories in South Tyrol, make sure that partners with whom they work have a blog when they collaborate on travel. In other words: the content produced can also be found permanently on the web and by Google. And that’s where it all starts: Many have the addition Blogger on Instagram, although they do not have one – but understand their feed as a blog. That’s the way to do it, but I think it’s cheeky to those who have spent a long time with the necessary technology and programming 1×1, spending a lot of time on writing articles, searching for keywords, researching topics, building layouts and files on text. Times vorgeriffen: Until a story like the report about the Matillhof (link to the report) or the Plattenhof (link to the report) goes online, I have invested more than 25 hours of my free time.
In the case of the hotel cooperation, the responsible public relations manager approached me. She was explicitly looking for bloggers with the same quirk who are behind what they do – in this case, who are up for wine and travel inspiration, and who are willing to share that with the outside world. It would also be strange if I didn’t drink alcohol and wanted or should recommend a wine hotel. Tip: Live what you love. So many “I-have-job-xy-become-bachelor-or-Love-Island-participant-and-then-influencer” are for me simply exchangeable billboards without a unique selling point. But they have followers and get invitations, which they eat breakfast with or in two pictures of themselves. But you don’t have to understand that.
Possibility two, how a travel cooperation has resulted for me: I worked for GQ magazine for a long time and was responsible for the topics of wine and enjoyment as well as the travel section. In the time contacts with many manufacturers and PR agencies were established and developed, some of them believed in me and supported me even after the time with the big logo as a small blogger. This is how, for example, the story with the Zugspitz Resort came about. In this case, it was a group press trip, i.e. compared to an individual visit to South Tyrol, a handful of journalists, who visited the location together with a PR officer responsible for the hotel, got to know the hotel through some program points and then reported on them.
Coat of charms: You just have to stand behind your quirks.
Travel cooperation: the next steps
Once a hotel has been chosen, I clarify the next steps with the trip to South Tyrol. This means: I look at the hotel, what the main points of interest are, what idea I have for the story, what could be told and how, and agree on a program with the PR department that gives us a good impression of the hotel – these are always experiences or activities that every guest can relive in the same way. That’s the most important thing for me: discussing in detail beforehand what the partner can expect afterwards. In my reports I like to focus on the motto “Why you can enjoy a perfect short trip here as best friends or couples”. Because that is a scenario, after which I believe also many search. Then I tune the points I would like to present to this default. The journey with rented cars we always take over ourselves – one can refute the reproach free vacation thus already times.
On site (here at the Arosea Life Balance Hotel) you have to go where it gets cold – or hot.
Travel cooperation: in the hotel
On site I try to find out what couples or best friends traveling together could be interesting and exciting. If it concerns an individual journey, usually two overnight accomodation and half-board are taken over, not in the program specified points and extras such as beverages (is however normal) we always pay ourselves.
However, you can’t just lie on your lazy skin (as long as you’re not just playing bikini model at the pool while the Insta-Husband is taking pictures), I can only laugh about this accusation. Most of the time the first pictures start right after the arrival. I feel like a chameleon, who is constantly looking for beautiful spots, backgrounds or angles with his eyes. After checking in, we always go on a little tour through the location, take the first mood pictures, look for motifs that bring the person and the hotel together well, and take the first tests. Of course it’s clear: The more great motifs I have at the beginning, the more chance I have to actually enjoy some relaxing moments.
That I lie on the floor in dislocated poses with my cell phone because I have a certain shot in my head, work with magnum wine bottles at the pool, or spend time filming at the buffet: If you take it with humor, I understand that other guests wonder why you can’t just take a simple vacation. And of course I’m a little ashamed when I photograph every dish from three angles while eating, but if I want to give a good impression in the article, the food evidence is part of it. Most of the time you can only switch off when you have all the motifs of the day in your box and can toast them with a glass of wine. Whereby: Work never sleeps, and usually I sort the pictures directly afterwards, choose favorites, think about what to post, think about how to package what as a story. But of course: Those who work may reward themselves and I take it out of my mind that my wine and pleasure quirks and a pinch of relaxation are not missed out.
Working on the weekend like usual … when the flair is as cool as here at the Arosea Life Balance Hotel, always welcome.
Travel Cooperation: at Home
At home the second half time starts. On average, I look through 500 pictures, sort them out, reduce them to a selection, which I then use for the blog post. From 500 to about 40-50 is a really hard decision. Then the pictures have to be cropped and edited, normal pictures of my iPhone 11 Pro are much too big for WordPress, which I use to host Gentlemens-Journey.de. Then the thinking starts: How do I design the layout? Simply clapping a few pictures under the text without commenting is unfair to loveless for the hotel and the travel cooperation and not helpful for the reader. Where is the added value? What do I actually see in the picture? So I try to create a comprehensible sequence of events, create captions, before the text is added. In the end, I spend well over 25 hours of my spare time after my main job on these posts, which I don’t think everyone who reads them will realize. I also compare hotel information, explain offers and research prices, fight with the technology when there is no storage in Part, and so on.
I think if you don’t have a knack for it, it can quickly become tiring. And of course, uploading pics to Instagram is more relaxed, a short emoji caption to it, tag the hotel, a few hundred to a thousand Euros earned, done. But do I find that in the fast moving times with one mail a day? No idea. Everyone is allowed to do it for himself. In the end it’s not a job for me, I love telling the stories behind such spots, putting together pictures and text – and I’m happy when strangers write me a message, thank me, either have been there already or plan to spend a few days there because of me. I’m happy when my article appears on page 2 or 3 while googling, when the hosts thank me personally and are happy that it was a nice experience for everyone.
Whether 700 or 70,000: I think that good content for a travel cooperation does not depend on a number of followers. If even one of you goes there after reading a hotel recommendation of mine, comes back and says: “Bro, thanks, it was just like you wrote – what else can you recommend for a short trip with my wife (or best friend)” – then I’m already happy. It does not always have to be Maldives, Dubai or Ibiza. There are still so many insider tips that you can afford to have, within easy reach. And I am curious to see where 2021 will take me.