Hottest Travel Influencers
Luxury hotels and resorts are being inundated with requests for free stays from "Instagram influencers," and many are fed up.
People with large Instagram followings, typically models, are frequently offered free accommodations in exchange for publicity, sharing a few snaps with a few artfully placed hashtags and geotags.
But D-list and aspiring influencers are swamping the space, and some hotels are getting up to 20 requests a day.
"Everyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer," Kate Jones, marketing and communications manager at the five-star Dusit Thani resort in the Maldives, told The Atlantic.
"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,'" she added.
"These people are expecting five to seven nights on average, all inclusive. Maldives is not a cheap destination."
Some hotels and resorts have even had to develop applications for influencers, which ask them to specify their follower count and average engagement rate.
"Hurawalhi Maldives is pleased to collaborate with influencers in supporting the resort’s digital market strategy," one luxury resort's website reads.
"We are looking for individuals who are highly engaging with their audience, have a loyal following, favor content quality over quantity, and whose personal brand aligns with the resort’s target audience, values and marketing goals."
Others are outright banning them altogether. One bed and breakfast in Dublin shared an e-mail pitch from 22-year-old YouTuber Elle Darby on its Facebook, making its no-influencer-freebie policy clear as day.
"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," the post read.
"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?"
"P.S: The answer is no."
Maybe just pay for things that cost money?