If you’re a UGC creator who loves to travel and see new places, tapping into the UGC travel market can be a no brainer.
Travel the world, get paid, live life on your own terms? Sold.
The reality, not quite so easy. But we’re here to make it easier.
One of the best ways to get started as a UGC travel creator is by creating UGC for Airbnb’s. Landing UGC deals with Airbnbs might seem overwhelming at first, but it’s quite simple when you break it down into individual steps.
Why do Airbnb’s need UGC?
Airbnb’s don’t always need UGC. Let’s make that clear from the get go. Some listings do absolutely just fine without them, but UGC can add a layer of depth to a lacking listing.
If rental owners are struggling with bookings, being able to show customers — what looks like paying customers — having the time of their lives can have a knock on effect for more bookings.
Thanks to a magical TikTok algorithm, users no longer need 100,000’s of followers to reach a massive audience. It just needs to get posted in the right place, at the right time. We only need to look to UGC content that’s reached millions of people.
@kriskrechina I gasped when I entered the room 💔 #staycationuk #visituk #englandtravel #boutiquehotels #uktravelblogger ♬ original sound – Michal
I know what you’re thinking. Why can’t the owners just make it themselves? Honestly, a lot of owners just wouldn’t know where to start. That’s where you come in.
So with that in mind. Here is the 5 step process that we’ll be breaking down today:
- Create your travel portfolio
- Identify and research listings to pitch
- Pitch, pitch, pitch
- Film and deliver
- Update portfolio, refine your process, repeat
Create your travel portfolio
You likely don’t have a travel portfolio yet — that’s completely fine. You also most likely don’t have any Airbnb content yet. Also fine.
In order to get started, you’re going to need to book a cheap nearby Airbnb or wait for an upcoming planned vacation.
Disclaimer: If you don’t have any experience creating UGC travel content, and you’re not in a position to drop the nightly rate to create that content for the first batch, you’ve got to ask yourself if you can bring value to the Airbnb’s that you are pitching to. If you are, then continue, but know that it might take slightly longer to land your first UGC Airbnb gig without content to show what you can do. Pitch too early, and you run the risk of looking like you’re just looking for a free stay, rather than to bring them value.
Before your trip, research and study some of the top travel creators. See how their portfolios are structured and what type of videos and images they’re including. Take inspiration from our favourite travel UGC portfolio examples and just make a start. Chelsea Greber, one of the most famous UGC travel creators in the space, features only four stays on her portfolio.
And she’s extremely experienced. You don’t need a lot to pull together your portfolio, but you do need quality content. For travel content, you’re specifically looking to evoke feelings and emotions. You want people to want to book.
Top tip: Reach out to local Airbnb’s that look aesthetic and ask if you can visit to create content during the day. Explain that you’re not looking for a stay, but instead you’re an experienced social media content creator looking to expand your portfolio and would love to create some content at their listing. It’s a fleeting visit so there’s no clean up costs for them and they’d have full use of the content you create. More often than not, they let you stay for a night anyway, and it can be the start of a great relationship.
Identify and Research Listings to Pitch
After you’ve built your portfolio, it’s time to find some Airbnbs that you’d like to create content for. We’re going to set some expectations here…
Those booked up listings with 5 star ratings? The ones with the hot tubs and incredible views over Joshua Tree? It’s probably not going to happen. It’s going to be unlikely that you land those are your first gig.
As a new travel creator, you’re looking for listings that are:
- New: look for the ‘new’ tag or minimal reviews. Any more than 10 and it’s probably not worth it.
- Lots of potential, but images need improvement:
- Identifiable problem that you could solve: Do they have bookings? If not, how you can fix that? I searched ‘Joshua Tree’ for a stay dated over the next four weeks. That’s a LONG stay, but it also means they have availability over the next month. Not one single booking. Problem to solve —- check.
Study the top listings in the area and ask yourself, what do the top listings have in common that newer listings might be missing.
Let’s say you’re checking out lake houses. You notice that the majority of the top listings have pictures of people paddle-boarding or doing water activities.
You identified a pattern, and now you can use that as one of your pitching angles…
Here’s a prime example. No bookings over the next four weeks. 1 booking (ever). A single review. The feedback was great but the photos look lack lustre.
🏔️ Hey Emmanuel. My name is Sam, I’m a social media expert and UGC content creator in the Joshua Tree area. I’ve noticed your listing and I wanted to reach out as I think I could help. The black and white deco vibe, huge windows and outdoor hot tub are a millennial dream — all your listing needs are the millennials to bring it to life. I specialise in creating content that can make a listing aspirational, desirable and ultimately booked out. Best part for you? It’s free.
Pitch, pitch and pitch some more
Once you’ve done your research and identified an angle, it’s time to prep your pitch.
You want to make this short and sweet and incite a bit of “pain”.
What is their listing missing, what could be better? Check out their social media accounts — how can they improve?
Present the problem, irritate it a bit, and present the solution. You.
You can pitch directly through the Airbnb app, but there are some caveats to it. You can’t use the word Instagram or TikTok. Airbnb doesn’t allow it. You also can’t send a link, so that means it’s difficult to share your portfolio or social handles. To get around this, you can use extra spacing between . com, or use abbreviations.
The real risk is hosts reporting you, so be extra careful to personalise the pitch to the nth degree. You need to research, research and research again before you send that first message. If they report, it’s game over.
Ideally, you’re looking for listings that have social media accounts, you can be a lot free-er with conversations here.
Film and Deliver
Or should we say, film and over-deliver.
Do your research ahead of time and figure out what videos and images are performing best for Airbnbs. Deliver what was agreed upon (and then deliver more).
Your goal with initial collaborations is to build your portfolio and ideally land a testimonial. You won’t get this by delivering a single video and charging for your raw footage. Give them everything you possibly can, and in the future, it’ll pay dividends.
If you can secure a testimonial, it will set you up for success in your future pitches.
Update your portfolio and repeat
Using the content that you made from this trip, and the potential testimonial that you secured (because you over-delivered) update your travel portfolio.
Top tip: Create a separate travel TikTok and post 1-2 times per day with the content from these airbnb’s. The sooner you can show that the kind of content you are creating reaches significant numbers, the sooner the bookings will open up to you.
Continue to test different pitch methods and see what works best for you.
It’s all about testing, refining your process, and repeating.
As you get better at this process, you’ll be able to charge more, and land more lucrative stays with Airbnbs and hotels.