Blogging can be a really easy means of travelling to exotic locations, wining and dining at exclusive hotels, for free. We all love a good freebie, don’t we? Indeed, if there is a breed that loves hotel pampering more than any other, then it is the so-called social media influencers. They go by a fancy name of foodie.
This person could be an easy-going, but broke man or woman with sizeable or no sizeable followers on, say Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. This is how it starts: They approach a reputable hotel and seduce them for a chance to wine, dine and spend a couple of free nights in their establishment in exchange of ‘mentions’ on their social media pages. These mentions, insist the bloggers, will dramatically see the hotel become famous, attract more guests and subsequently increase revenue by millions. While some hotel management easily falls for this, some dismiss such demands as bollocks and cheap attempt to enjoy hotel pampering for a song.
An ageing former five-star hotel in the city, desperate for some publicity, fell for the trap two months ago when a renowned foodie with a reputation of eating in more than three hotels a week, knocked on its door. The foodie executes the act while spending a weekend in the hotels’ suites, having had promised to do wonders once she shares her experiences on her Instagram.
The hotel, sensing a chance to rise again from obscurity created by the emergence of new five star hotels all around it, accorded the blogger a two-night stay in its Business Suite, 6O-minute full body massage in the spa, wine and dine in one of its famed restaurants and chauffeur-driven drop at home after the five-star treat.
And that’s where it all ended. After weeks of waiting for a post, the blogger finally posted on Instagram a badly-taken photo of herself in the bathtub and a poorly-written little caption stating how she had fabulous weekend at the hotel. The measly post attracted a mere eight likes and zero shares.
Fuming, the hotel’s public relations manager wrote a hard-hitting email to the blogger, accusing her of laziness, unprofessionalism and “accessing hotel’s freebies through false pretense and fraud.” And just like that, the hotel’s famed ‘bloggers freebies in exchange of reviews programme’ came to an abrupt end.