Hotel Savagely Rejects Social Media Influencer Who Asked: Free Stay For Exposure
By Yoon Sann Wong, 20 Jan 2018
Image screenshot via Elle Darby
When beauty, lifestyle and fitness YouTuber Elle Darby sent in her email to Dublin’s the White Moose Café and Charleville Lodge asking for “free accommodation” in exchange for exposure, the reply was something she certainly didn’t anticipate.
Darby and her partner were planning to visit Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day celebration in beginning February, which led the 22-year-old to the idea that perhaps she could contact and “collaborate” with a specific hotel for this trip.
Even though Darby has more than 81,000 followers on her Instagram account, White Moose Café’s owner Paul Stenson was certainly not impressed.
In a scathing response on Facebook, Stenson lambasted the social media influencer for asking for “free accommodation.”
According to Darby’s email, she had proposed featuring the lodge in her “YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to [the] hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation” after coming across the “stunning hotel.”
In response, Stenson wrote, “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 your 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? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? 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?”
“Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit (www.paulvstenson.com), which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying ‘write stuff on the internet’. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.”
“In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you. Here is a little video I produced which you may learn from: http://bit.ly/2mKTDTD”
“P.S. The answer is no.”
Dear Social Influencer (I know your name but apparently it’s not important to use names), Thank you for your email...Posted by The White Moose Café on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The link leads to a video produced by Stenson, starring Jen Hatton Sketches, titled “White Moose presents ‘House of Influencers’” that was uploaded on 23 October 2017. As the name suggests, it brutally pokes fun at social media influencers.
House of Influencers
White Moose presents "House of Influencers" Starring Jen Hatton Sketches Produced by Paul V. Stenson Directed by GerardwalshfilmmakerPosted by The White Moose Café on Sunday, October 22, 2017
Even though Darby was not identified inside Stenson’s Facebook post, she took to uploading her response in the form of a 17-minute vlog explaining how she felt upset, anxious, and humiliated over the reply, when she had “nothing but the purest of intentions,” and was prepared to work hard to produce good quality videos and posts to help publicize the hotel.
That same day, Stenson posted an “Official Apology To Bloggers” via Facebook that reads:
“**OFFICIAL APOLOGY TO BLOGGERS**”
“Dear bloggers, following the incident today in which one of your members was clearly hurt and distressed about having to pay for something like everyone else, I would like to make a statement.”
“I am so sorry that I have waited until now to mobilise you in numbers and I am kicking myself that I didn’t think about you before now. If each one of you is pissed off, and you all have your individual following (no matter how small), there is a fair chance that you will all speak badly to your followers about us which will result in a huge number of people hearing about our brand collectively.”
“I am so sorry that I didn’t think of you guys until now. You are a much more lucrative group of people to piss off than the vegans and the gluten intolerant combined.”
“Thank you for all your hard work and don’t forget to continue to spread the word about our business!”
“P.S. I hope all your followers are real and not bought! No point speaking to Mohammad in Istanbul about how horrible we are! Cheers!”
**OFFICIAL APOLOGY TO BLOGGERS** Dear bloggers, Following the incident today in which one of your members was clearly...Posted by The White Moose Café on Tuesday, January 16, 2018
The next day, Stenson publicly declared all bloggers banned from the property in another Facebook post:
“**ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS**”
“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 and the nastiness, hissy fits and general hate displayed after one of your members was not granted her request for a freebie is giving your whole industry a bad name. I never thought we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for goods received or services rendered.”
“The girl in question was never identified in my original post, but she herself went on to create a video explaining how she was ‘exposed’ with ‘malicious intent’ for asking for a freebie. This kind of victimization is very prevalent in the blogging industry, and is in keeping with their general modus operandi of wanting everything for nothing.”
“If any of you attempt to enter our premises from now on, you will be ejected.”
“P.S. Perhaps if you went out and got real jobs you’d be able to pay for goods and services like everybody else. Just a thought!”
**ALL BLOGGERS BANNED FROM OUR BUSINESS** Following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay...Posted by The White Moose Café on Wednesday, January 17, 2018
In 2016, The White Moose Café also made headlines after it mocked a photographer who had requested that for her photo—used by the café without permission—be taken down, and several of its Facebook posts about customers having to produce a doctor’s note if they wanted gluten-free food, charging “a corkage fee for breastfeeding mothers,” and giving “Valium to screaming babies” went viral.
[via Entrepreneur, videos via various sources, opening image screenshot via Elle Darby]
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