Since every Joe Schmoe with a Facebook or Instagram is now calling themselves an “influencer,” an awful lot of people think they can leverage their follower numbers and a few branded photos to score free hotel stays. Well, they can’t, and resorts in the Maldives are fed up telling them about it.
Given its crystal-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and luxury bungalows, the Maldives are a particularly Instagrammable location. But the sheer volume of self-proclaimed “influencers” requesting free stays is starting to exasperate resort owners. Kate Jones, a five-star resort employee in the Maldives, told The Atlantic that people say they “want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will do two posts on Instagram to like 2,000 followers.” She says requests are often vague, and that she receives about six each day.
The requests have gotten so out-of-hand that some resorts, like the Hurawalhi Island Resort, have given specific criteria on what they’re looking for in an influencer partnership. They want “individuals who are highly engaging with their audience,” the website reads, “and whose personal brand aligns with the resort’s target audience, values, and marketing goals.”
Some hotels are stepping out of the influencer content game completely. One UK-based hotel banned the practice after a YouTuber requested a free five-night stay in Dublin. In a humiliating public response, hotel owner Paul Stenson said, “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?” He adds at the end, “P.S. The answer is no.”
So, don’t feel bad that you only have 500 followers. You might not be an influencer, but at least — as Paul Stenson might say — you have your dignity.
H/T: Fox News