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Luxury hotel overwhelmed by influencers asking for free rooms

The majority of requests come from people with small followings

Olivia Petter
Monday 25 June 2018 10:54 BST

A five-star resort is being bombarded by social media influencers asking for complimentary stays in exchange for coverage on their accounts, says one hotel marketing manager.

A luxury hotel in the Maldives reports receiving half a dozen requests a day from self-described Instagram “stars” with meagre followings requesting free rooms.

Kate Jones, marketing and communications manager at the Dusit Thani resort on Mudhdhoo Island, says most people get in touch via direct message on Instagram, sending vague requests for all inclusive week-long trips.

However, the majority of those asking for freebies don’t have significant followings on social media that would warrant such requests, Jones told The Atlantic.

“Everyone with a Facebook account these days is an influencer,” she said.

“People say, I want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will do two posts on Instagram to like 2,000 followers.

“It's people with 600 Facebook friends saying, ‘Hi, I'm an influencer, I want to stay in your hotel for 7 days’”.

Jones went on to explain that often the messages she sees are poorly-worded and lack explanation, adding that she typically only pursues about one in 10 of the requests she receives.

With some influencers boasting millions of followers, partnerships between them and hotels can be worthwhile in terms of publicity, however, as demands from Instagrammers on all scales increase, collaborations such as these have come under fire.

In January, one luxury Dublin hotel issued a “ban” on social media influencers after one 22-year-old YouTuber asked for a five-night complimentary stay, posting a teary-eyed video after she was refused.

YouTuber Elle Darby addresses criticism following Dublin hotel outcry

Despite having 87,000 followers on the streaming platform, Elle Darby’s email request for a “possible collaboration” with The White Moose Café was denied, with owner Paul Stenson wrote a scathing response on the hotel’s Facebook page:

“Thank you for your email looking for free accommodation in return for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an email like that, if not much self-respect and dignity.

“If I let you stay here in return for a feature in a video, who is going to pay the staff who look after you? Who is going to pay the housekeepers who clean your room?”

Though the post didn’t name Darby, it quickly went viral and the YouTuber responded with a 17-minute video titled “I was exposed (SO embarrassing)” in which she lambasted Stenson’s post as “malicious”.

“As a 22-year-old girl, who’s running her own business from her home, I don’t feel like I did anything wrong,” she said

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