Lucky blighter that I am, I’ve secured some hotel-review commissions over the past week – all for places in the UK.
Generally, if it’s for a good publication, hotels – usually at your recommendation – are happy to provide a free night, a free meal and maybe even a spa treatment if relevant. And that makes sense: I am there to review those services, after all.
The actual travel element is trickier. One of those hotels is in London, so easy-peasy, but the others are further afield: Oxfordshire, Berkshire, Somerset and North Yorkshire. As I don’t drive, that means trains and perhaps taxis, all of whose prices can mount up.
Is it reasonable to ask the hotel to cover those, too? I’m never sure. They’re already forking out in the sense of (presumably) sacrificing a paying guest for me, and my asking for further financial aid feels cheeky. Equally, though, the fees paid to me by media outlets for hotel reviews can be piffling, and there have been previous instances where, if I had gone ahead and covered the trains, I’d have ended up losing money overall. So often no help with travel = no review at all.
Solutions? If I can find a second commission, that obviously ups my chances of extra financial favour. Otherwise, it might be a good idea for you hotel-representing PRs to befriend the relevant local tourist board (VisitCornwall used to assist with train fares, for instance) or rail company in the hope that they’ll chip in during such eventualities.
For my part, I probably ought to clarify the situation with you before pitching a UK hotel review: otherwise I risk wasting everyone’s time. Basically: “If I get the commission from Newspaper A, would my transport also be covered?”
If anyone has any additional opinions on this subject – especially anything that I’m missing – I’d love to hear them.