A hotel in Dublin has banned all bloggers from staying at his property, after a YouTube star asked for a free five-night stay in return for some coverage.
Owner of The White Goose Café Paul Stenson received an email from Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer with 87,000 Youtube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, asking if he was interested in a ‘possible collaboration’.
Darby was requesting a five-night stay, over Valentines weekend, for free, saying that she’d ‘love to feature the hotel in YouTube videos/ dedicated Instagram stories / posts to bring traffic to the hotel.’
Ending her email, she mentioned that she had organised a similar collaboration with Universal Orlando in Florida last year and ‘it’s been amazing for them!’
However, Stenson did not take too kindly to being asked for free accommodation and publicly responded to the email on Facebook.
The message read:
“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 a 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?
Continuing, Stenson asks: “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?”
The message concludes: “P.S. The answer is no.”
The negative backlash eventually led Darby to upload a YouTube video responding to the controversy, in which she breaks down from the embarrassment, anger, and humiliation she felt.
However, since the Dublin hotel posted its reply, it’s faced its own backlash prompted Stenson to ‘ban all bloggers 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,” he wrote – before denying that he had ever exposed Darby, and ‘the sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community’.
And on The White Moose Cafe Snapchat, Stenson said the controversy just ‘puts into question the authenticity of influencer marketing,’ because ‘she would have spoken nicely about the hotel only because she was getting it for free’.