It’s quite the common knowledge in the social media sphere that influencers, those who have a huge following on YouTube, Instagram, and other social media platforms, enjoy getting free stuff from businesses they promote. It’s one of their job perks. Unfortunately, not all business owners think fondly of the practice. This is what 22-year old Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer, realized when a hotel owner banned her and other influencers from his establishment.
See, Darby sent an email to Paul Stenson, owner of the Charleville Lodge Hotel and The White Moose Cafe in Dublin, Ireland. She citing her social media reach (87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers).
She asked Stenson if he was interested in a “collaboration” that would give her free accommodations in exchange for her promotion of the hotel.
Darby said in her email:
“I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel-based.
“My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area.
“As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.”
She also mentioned her past collaboration with Universal Orlando in Florida and added that “it’s been amazing for them!”
Stenson was not amused by this request. He was quite popular in his area for having a snarky attitude, which can be seen with his reply to Darby, and he did publicly on The White Moose Cafe’s Facebook page.
“Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names),
“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?
“The waiters who serve you breakfast? The receptionist who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and heat you use during your stay?”
Continuing, Stenson asked:
“Maybe I should tell my staff they will be featured in your video in lieu of receiving payment for work carried out while you’re in residence?
Stenson concluded his reply with a “P.S. The answer is no.”
He made the effort to blacken out Darby’s contact information, but netizens still managed to identify her. This led to negative backlash against her, with comments flooding her page.
Prompting Darby to post a video where she broke down from all the humiliation that the whole thing caused her.
Influencers all over the world reacted in unity to defend their industry and condemn Mr. Stenson’s attitude. However, the hotel owner responded by announcing a complete ban on all bloggers and influencers from his hotel and cafe, saying that any that try to enter the premises would be “ejected.”
He wrote on Facebook:
“Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay for a hotel room, I have taken the decision to ban all bloggers from our hotel and cafe.
“The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community.”
A lot of people sympathized with Darby, saying that Stenson was being a bully and this will have an impact on his business.
But there are those who agree that Stenson did the right thing in putting the blogger in her place.
Clearly, this issue stirred a debate about the entitlement of social media influencers.
Well what can you say about this?