A YouTuber has hit back after a Dublin hotel “exposed” her request for a free five-night stay in exchange for advertising on her social media channels.
Elle Darby, a UK-based social media influencer with 87,000 YouTube subscribers and 76,000 Instagram followers, has revealed that she sobbed in her car after she learned that the hotel had not only denied her request, but shared her original email online.
Reaching out to the owner of The White Moose Cafe, Paul Stenson, Elle wrote: “I work as a social media influencer, mainly lifestyle, beauty & travel based.
“My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentine’s Day weekend from Feb 8th to 12th to explore the area.
“As I was searching for places to stay, I came across your stunning hotel and would love to feature you in my YouTube videos/dedicated Instagram stories/posts to bring traffic to your hotel and recommend others to book up in return for free accommodation.”
The 22-year-old vlogger went on to add that she had a similar “collaboration” with Universal Orlando in Florida and “it’s been amazing for them”.
Posting on the hotel’s official Facebook page, Paul shared a screenshot of the message and added: “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 your 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? The laundering of your bed sheets? The water rates? 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?
“Lucky for us, we too have a significant social media following. We have 186k followers on our two Facebook pages, an estimated 80k on our Snapchat, 32k on Instagram and a paltry 12k on our Twitter, but Jesus Christ, I would never in a million years ask anyone for anything for free. I also blog a bit, which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying ‘write stuff on the internet’. The above stats do not make me any better than anyone else or afford me the right to not pay for something everyone else has to pay for.
“In future, I’d advise you to offer to pay your way like everyone else, and if the hotel in question believes your coverage will help them, maybe they’ll give you a complimentary upgrade to a suite. This would show more self-respect on your part and, let’s face it, it would be less embarrassing for you.”
He signed off with: “P.S. The answer is no.”
Elle responded to the “humiliating” and “degrading” post in a 17-minute YouTube video, telling her subscribers that she had “nothing but the purest intentions” when she reached out to the hotel, adding that she doesn’t feel like she did “anything wrong”.
She then reeled off some of the cruel comments she’d received since the email was posted, revealing that trolls have been calling her a “disgusting freeloader”, adding that the backlash had her crying on her own in her car.
Elle broke down the reasons why she asked for a free stay and explained the social media, influencer, and blogging world to her followers as she defended her actions – describing her request to stay at the hotel for free as a “work perk”.
Since the story broke, the hotel in question has banned “all bloggers” from their business, sharing: “The sense of entitlement is just too strong in the blogging community and the nastiness, hissy fits and general hate displayed after one of your members was not granted her request for a freebie is giving your whole industry a bad name.
“I never thought we would be inundated with negative reviews for the simple reason that somebody was required to pay for goods received or services rendered.
“Perhaps if you went out and got real jobs you’d be able to pay for goods and services like everybody else. Just a thought!”