Opinion Blog: Hotel vs. Blogger

Another week, another blogger-based drama.

Like any other blogger drama, this one started on social media.

What seemed to be an outrageous move by a hotel chain, led to not only the ‘victimised’ blogger herself filming a whopping 20-minute video in response to the ‘upset’, but also resulted in bloggers everywhere grabbing the online pitchforks.

But before I begin, I’ll just point out that whilst I initially didn’t agree with the way the hotel handled the email, it didn’t take long to understand why they handled it the way they did.

I mean, there’s the media coverage of their ‘brutally honest’ terms and conditions which first sets the scene for what tone you need to go for when approaching the place…. Not to mention the on-going ‘bantz’ on their facebook page – even giving potential guests some tips when taking ladies of the night to the hotel.

Browse their Facebook page for yourself here.

So, there we have it. Very quickly we have established the narrative of the brand and also discovered that they’re a rather witty bunch, who don’t take themselves too seriously.

Let’s dig deeper…. The email itself:

A rather short and abrupt email asking from the start for a free trip in return for featuring the hotel. 

We won’t go in to the ethics of indicating that no matter what the experience, she will still encourage people to book their accommodation….

Now… Let’s see what we could have done better from the influencers point of view:

‘Hi there,’ – I feel like this is one of the worst ways to ever start an email. Whether it’s to a brand, customer service emails or even your pet pig. It’s just a bit too generic and shows little effort.

If you’re a blogger, you’ll know the online contempt around brands contacting you and not addressing you correctly, or by name.

When contacting a… y’know, person, behind the computer screen try something like:

”Good afternoon! 

Apologies for the impersonal opening of this email, but I couldn’t find a direct contact for my enquiry. I do hope it’s okay to contact you for my request. If not, please do let me know the best point of contact.” 

Or something to that effect.

We quickly go through a vague introduction to a snapshot of moderately impressive stats. Then straight into the request….

Even at a glance, the offer of social media coverage in return for a free stay is devalued by the forward slashes. It makes it sound vague and non-specific. Like, are you offering all of these or the option of these?

Try bullet pointing your offering.

”In return for a complimentary visit to your amazing hotel, I would like to offer the following services:

  • Social media coverage: This includes instagram stories (to my XXX amount of followers), live tweets from my trip and also coverage post-stay.
  • A YouTube video: Usually this will be XXXX minutes long and feature XXXX and XXXX, similar to this content I produced for XXX hotel (link)
  • Follow up posts and media promoting my YouTube content for the stay.
If you had any other ideas in mind that have worked well before though, such as an Instagram takeover, then please do let me know!”
I mean, this individual was requesting a massive 5 nights stay ‘for free’ in the email. At least let the people know what they’re getting for this cost to their business. 

You’re looking at £100-£150 per night for the hotel in question.

If you’re approaching a brand and have a budget, you could even suggest that you wanted to stay on set dates and let them know what you are working to. I’ve done this before and I’ve been offered 2 nights for free within my budget alongside a complimentary night in return for some social media coverage. At the least give the venue a choice for your request.

By stating the dates you are definitely visiting the city, indicates that you have planned most of the trip and also makes it quite impersonal to the hotel, as the immediate thought is that this is a blanket email.

We then go on to previous collaborations.

As you can see, the blogger has ‘worked’ with Universal Orlando last year, which was extremely beneficial for them.

If you are making bold claims, it would be advisable to back this up with context and examples.

For example, in what way did it work for them? Did they recieve an uplift in followers, sales, engagement, or was there a positive amount of social sentiment on the back of ‘working’ for them?

Maybe they even sent you an end of partnership update, with regards to uplift in actual bookings.

This is all relevant information that will attract the hotel to partner with you.

And that’s the key word here: partner. 

Not ‘work’.

As a blogger or influencer, most collaborations with brands are mutually beneficial and if somewhere or someone is new the situation and activity, it may be worth explaining that a little more and adding context and value to your offering.

You see, the key to being a blogger is marketing yourself.

And we all know that marketing is about emotional connections and personalisation.

We expect it when we are approached, so why would you not do the same for the brands you are getting in touch with.

It’s a pitch at the end of the day, in an incredibly competitive landscape.

What could the hotel have done better?

So, whilst the approach of the hotel is not everyone’s cup of tea, it’s in-line with the brand ethos and tone of voice. A factor which should have been researched and taken into consideration if you really want to feature them.

Perhaps some kind of context to their response, by prompting people to previous news stories and their social media/brand image may have helped. As a lot of online users seem to be just looking at the post out of context.

It’s also worth noting that they blanked out her blog, name and contact details, so the online attention has been fueled by the blogger/s.

Further to this they have now ‘banned bloggers’ from their establishment.

Which is clearly a sarcastic stunt (once again, in line with their brand) to fuel the fire for a reaction they wanted and are getting.  They cannot ID a blogger and I doubt they have the time or energy to research every name that is booked in….

But still, people have expressed outrage and drawn more eyes to their online presence.

Putty. In. Their. Hands.

The moral of the story?

In a nutshell, don’t expect hundreds of pounds of products, payment or service from any business when it’s taken you 3minutes to write an email on your phone.