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Influencer Vs. Hotel: When Businesses Bite Back The culture of social media and online influencers has raised concerns for businesses, as influencers are being viewed as destructive and self-entitled.

By Layan Khamis

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.


In case you haven't been tuning in to the Twittersphere, or if you're not up-to-date with all the latest Instagram and Facebook gossip over the last week, you should know that there's been a brutal showdown between a self-proclaimed social media influencer Elle Darby and the owner of The White Moose, a five-star hotel in Dublin.

It all started when Elle reached out via email in hopes to collaborate with The White Moose by providing exposure on her YouTube and Instagram channels, of which she has built a following of 87,000 and 76,000 followers respectively. This, of course, was an email she'd soon regret:

Paul Stenson, owner of The White Moose, was more than unimpressed with the 22-year-old's request to receive five days of free accomodation. He decided to share his disapproval to the world by posting a screenshot of the email with the following response:

And Paul ended the rant with an oh-so-subtle "P.S. The answer is no."

Since then, Elle has received a rush of backlash with comments to the tune of entitled and shameless, while Paul has also received his fair share of haters who disapprove of his public shaming and petty approach.

Having said that, since the incident, both have continued the conversation on their respective social media channels, and both have gained thousands of followers in just a few days. (#nopublicityisbadpublicity)

The digital landscape has given opportunity to new methods of advertising and marketing, especially through social media icons and influencers. The question is, how have influencers been utilizing this platform, and are they crossing a line?

The culture of social media and online influencers has raised concerns for businesses, as influencers are being viewed as destructive and self-entitled. Outraged by the progression of social media influencers, some businesses believe that the extortion of restaurants, hotels and other entities is not only bad for business, but it is an inorganic way of gaining attention.

While some view this as a pivotal moment for vloggers and influencers, many have voiced their support for Elle Darby, arguing that it is normal for a successful influencers to make this request. But, specifically from a marketing perspective, Paul chose correctly in choosing not to work with this particular endorser for a variety of reasons:

  1. Her page is void of any indication that she's a "travel-based influencer."
  2. Without a large supply of travel content, Elle cannot claim that her followers care about where she travels to.
  3. The White Moose Hotel has over 186,000 followers themselves- meaning Elle would benefit much more from the hotel's exposure than vice versa.

Although Elle's request conveyed a sense of self-entitlement without offering genuine value, business owners should consider partnering with social media influencers, especially if it targets the right audience. In Paul's case, Elle's followers are of no benefit to his marketing strategy, but ultimately, his harsh and not-so subtle rejection may have caused more harm to him and his business than collaborating with Elle.

That being said, partnerships between businesses and the right social media influencers have proven to be successful in the current digital age, and generate loads of attention by a loyal audience. But, as evidenced by this case of Paul and Elle, such partnerships can be tricky, and they shouldn't be taken lightly either- it is, after all, a marketing trend that is going to stay for a while.

Related: Infographic: Believable Branding In The UAE- Who Do We Trust?

Layan Khamis

Content Manager, Tahawal

Layan Khamis is a 21-year-old graduate from the American University of Sharjah and the Content Manager at Tahawal. She is also interning at Tahawal’s partnering company V7 Legal. While aiming to strive in her legal career, she aspires to pursue her interest in writing and research with Tahawal. She is passionate about politics and women studies and aims to create her own charity organization in the future. 
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