The Resorts in the Maldives — and elsewhere — are taking a stand against the “influencers” are you looking for free holidays.
There would be no more “Instagrammable” location than the Maldives.
The group of coral islands in the Indian Ocean showcase crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and luxury accommodations frequented by families with children, A-list crowd and Instagram elite “influencers.”
But have you ever wondered how so many social-media-savvy individuals can afford? The truth is, most can’t. They can stay for free, because luxury hotels in exchange for publicity.
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It is by no means a new model of doing business, but it’s starting to wear thin. Earlier this week, hotel owners of the Maldives is revealed how frustrating it has become to be flooded with requests for freebies — in particular, those on the edge of social media success.
Kate Jones, who works for a five-star resort in the Maldives, told The Atlantic that “anyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer” and far too many think that entitles them to a free ride in paradise.
“People say, I want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will have two posts on Instagram like 2000 followers,” she said.
“They are people with 600 Facebook friends said:” Hi, I’m an influencer, I want to stay in your hotel for seven days.'”
Jones said she often gets very vague requests, and usually at least six per day.
“These people expect that in five to seven days, on average, all inclusive. The maldives is no cheap destination.”
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So often, offers are sought by travel bloggers that many luxury hotels have taken to defining their criteria online.
The beautiful villas of the Hurawalhi Island Resort in the Maldives are as picturesque as all the others. On the resort’s website, there is a section specifically aimed at influencers. In the resort management, explains exactly what it is … and what it is not.
“Hurawalhi Maldives is pleased to collaborate with influencers in support of the resort’s digital market strategy,” the resort’s website reads.
“We are looking for people who are extremely attractive with their audience, have a loyal following, favor content quality over quantity, and whose personal brand is aligned with the resort of the target group, values and marketing objectives.”
A form to request the candidates to specify what angles and stories that they could look, how many followers they have, and what their average engagement rate looks like.
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The competition for the freebies is heating up, such as resorts and hotels in the vie for the real content of the travellers, and more and more people are turning to social media for inspiration. But it is creating tension between the two parties.
In January, The Independent reported that a UK-based hotel, even going so far as to ban the practice, after a 22-year-old YouTuber had her request for a free five-night stay rejected.
Elle Darby, who has 133,000 subscribers on YouTube and 112,000 followers on Instagram, threw a cooperation with the White of the Moose in Dublin.
“My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s day weekend from August 8th-12th to explore the surrounding area,” she wrote in an e-mail.
“I came in your beautiful hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube-videos/special Instagram stories/messages to drive traffic to your hotel.”
Owner Paul Stenson publicly responded.
“Thank you for your e-mail looking for free accommodation in exchange for exposure. It takes a lot of balls to send an e-mail if it’s not much self-respect and dignity,” he wrote on The White Moose Facebook page.
“If I let you stay here in exchange for a feature in a video, which goes to pay the staff who take care of you? Who is going to pay the cleaners who clean your room?
“The waiters will serve you breakfast? The receptionist, who checks you in? Who is going to pay for the light and the heat that you can use during your stay?”
“P. S: The answer is no.”
The YouTuber responded in a 17-minute video where she breaks down about the embarrassment and insists “I do not feel like I did nothing wrong.”
She is clearly still not had too much trouble bouncing back. Her Instagram is full of selfies in luxury resorts around the world.
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In the Maldives, Jones, and the resort she works for have followed a similar path to the Head of The Elk in Dublin, and “everything but not working more with fashion influencers,” The Atlantic reports.
“Ten different bikini photos a day on the beach is great for the bikini company. But you can’t even say where it is made. It could be anywhere in the Maldives.”
This article originally appeared on the News.com.au.