Is it just us, or do a lot of UGC creators seem to be shifting from product to travel?
Today, we’re sharing an incredible conversation between Brands Meets Creators founder Mike Rama and UGC creator Chelsea Greber that can help you do just that.
Travel UGC is quickly gathering steam, and Chelsea is a trailblazer in the Airbnb space.
Having started with product UGC, she’s now made the move to travel space and makes a full-time income helping Airbnb owners create content that can transform their listings.
But how does she do it? If you’ve been wondering how to get your first UGC Airbnb booking, strap in.
It’s a long interview. So here’s the quick summary:
- Book a night at a local stay, or just go to a hotel to create content to build your portfolio. Depending on where you are, you could potentially visit a hotel without every having to stay overnight.
- Under promise and over deliver. If you’re starting out, give the hosts as much as humanly possible. Drone footage, raw footage, images and organic social posts. Give the client what you can to secure that glowing five-star review and testimonial.
- Be careful with who you message on Airbnb. Don’t use the words ‘Instagram’ or ‘Tiktok’ and include extra spacing in your email and portfolio link to get through the strict rules.
And without further ado, here’s the interview in its entirety.
Let’s rewind and hear about how you got into UGC. How did that process work for you?
It’s actually a funny story and it happened really quickly. I was always in and out of dropshipping. I had this pet brand, with like 30 items in the store. I came across a TikTok about UGC creators and I was like wait, I can do this for my pet brand. So that’s exactly what I did. It flopped, but I then took the content I created. I put it into a portfolio and got into the UGC Twitter space.
I started posting knowledge and started you know just creating more content around literally what I had in my house and from there I was getting clients.
That’s so cool. So you started off dropshipping making the content for yourself then you realize you could do it for other people. Tell us how this jumped to Airbnb.
So I have always known that I don’t want to create content for physical products. I love traveling and I’m wondering how I can bring UGC into the travel space. I was going to an Airbnb soon in the future, and I was like wait, I could create content and offer that as a service, and build my portfolio. I pitched my services and I got a ton of yeses especially on the west coast there’s a ton of experience based airbnbs here so it ended up being quite easy for me especially since I had California close by um but just pitching my services on how I can create content for them and kind of make their experience be more booked it was like a no-brainer for them and
So did you start with just trading content for a free stay or has it been paide?
When you first start out it’s just like product UGC. You have to take those gifted collaborations, you have to get the experience, in order to put that on your portfolio and then eventually pitch those services and get better at them. In the beginning it was all just gifted stays in exchange for a ton of content. I was offering five to six videos on my own social media profiles, story feed posting, 15 to 30 raw footage videos. I was offering so much but it gave me the practice. It seems like a lot of work but if it’s something that you want to grow in you need that practice and that portfolio to end up charging later on in the future.
Before we’re even pitching them, how are you finding the Airbnbs?
So it seems generic, and I’I look at stays near me that don’t have a ton of ratings. They’ll be much newer, their photos aren’t that great or if they do have good photos — do they have social media marketing? I check the calendar I’m looking to see how much they’re booked out. If they’re already fully booked out and their photos are great, odds are they don’t need you coming. But if you find one that just hit the market and doesn’t have any bookings yet, their photos are from their iPhone with a crazy edit on, those are the people that you pitch to.
You tell them the value that you can provide them. For me, I was offering to give them exposure to my social media, so I was using my following as a benefit. You can also use them by saying like or pitch to them by saying you’re going to create this content and they can use it for marketing. Instead of paying hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars, for a photographer or videographer to come and take content a UGC creator can edit and film content that is right for them right.
Are you pitching them directly through Airbnb through the app? Have you run into any issues with Airbnb?
If you write out the full Instagram word it tells you you can’t send that so I put IG and Tick Tock. You also can’t send a link so when I send my email I include additional spaces, and the same with my portfolio. I’ll just put spaces between the dot coms. I’ve never witnessed or been in the experience where I’ve been blocked or banned — but it does happen. In these cases, it’s normally because they are sending the same generic pitch to so many people. In that first message, you should be highlighting some of their pain points. Like hey I think these pictures could be better.
Are you including all your email and your portfolio all in that message up front or is it more just short and sweet like let’s get to the point?
So for me personally, I said that I was starting a travel series on Tick Tock. That was my value, I was offering so free exposure. I’m also offering what I deliver for free in the beginning so I offer this and this and that and then at the end I’m like let me know if this is interesting to you or if you’re interested and I can send you my portfolio and a mood board and then we can chat further. It’s short and sweet because if you send a long pitch they’re going to read that first sentence and then give up. The conversation typically then goes to email or you take it somewhere else off of Airbnb. It’ll just depend on the host.
Have you found that they’re mainly looking for more photos for their actual Airbnb listing or is it like they want reels for social media?
It depends on the host. Some of them literally don’t care, they’re just like yeah come, they just want more bookings, they don’t care how you do it. Most of the time they just want to see your content and want to see that you’re posting it and just want that exposure so not all the time is it for marketing purposes.
I have dealt with one that wanted the content so that they could post it on their Instagram account to show that there’s people staying there.
So after you got a couple of these under your belt I’m assuming you went ahead and did a separate uh Airbnb portfolio or travel portfolio?
So I do have a travel portfolio. It just has everything travel so it’s very split up but you can get to both portfolios from each other so it’s very easy access so that way a host of you know they can see this and then like a client like a brand company hotel maybe sees my ugc they can go to my shop portfolio.
Do you have any advice for a UGC creator who’s looking to get more partnerships with Airbnbs?
I would seriously recommend going to either a hotel stay or an Airbnb nearby that’s cheap. Book a stay or like find a hotel nearby that you can just go into and film in without staying overnight. For example in Vegas it’s a lot easier because you can just walk into a hotel and film, it’s not like that everywhere, but if you just find somewhere that you can go in and perfect your craft. Take a ton of content. Some people that go viral creating travel content have one eight second clip and it’s them walking into an Airbnb showing it like that’s it and just a trendy audio. It’s not it’s not something where you need to like take 30 hours a day, it’s just booking an Airbnb or booking a hotel and creating aesthetic or trendy transitional content and then trying it. Trial trial trial and see what works and what doesn’t. If you get a viral video you can use that to your advantage when you’re pitching.
In terms of what’s next for you, I know you said you want to start traveling, what’s the plan for the next few months?
I’m actually in the process of creating a YouTube channel documenting all of this. It’s another deliverable to offer, and you can get paid more money with a blog, and a YouTube channel. That’s the route I’m going as well as still working with UGC. I have a few clients that are retainer physical products that I can take everywhere with me.
If you’re looking for more information about travel UGC, we’ve got everything you need to know about getting started as a UGC creator in the Airbnb space. Take it in, and get pitching. You’ll be the leader of the UGC travel pack in no time.