No more #blessed?!
Is there anywhere more Insta-worthy than the Maldives? We doubt it.
The collection of around 1200 islands is synonymous with turquoise seas, luxury hotels, and envy-inducing Instagram posts. Just look:
However, it has been reported that owners and managers of hotels in the Maldives are not happy.
Why? The sheer number of faux-influencers, who attempt to get free stays at the resorts in exchange for their (very limited) coverage.
Kate Jones, managing director at the Dusit Thani five-star resort on one of the islands, told The Atlantic: ‘Everyone with a Facebook these days is an influencer… people say, “I want to come to the Maldives for 10 days and will do two posts on Instagram to like 2,000 followers”. It’s people with 600 Facebook friends saying, “Hi, I’m an influencer, I want to stay in your hotel for 7 days.”’
She went on to add that the so-called influencers are ‘expecting five to seven nights on average, all inclusive… [the] Maldives is not a cheap destination’, and that they had actually banned fashion Instagrammers from the resort, as ‘10 different bikini pictures a day on the beach is great for the bikini company… but you can’t even tell where it’s taken. It could be anywhere in the Maldives.’
Jones isn’t the only one who has spoken out, and the Maldives isn’t the only destination that attracts opportunistic Instagrammers. Jack Bedwani, founder of brand consulting agency The Projects, opened up about the kind of PR issues that he has witnessed at a new hotel and day club in Bali.
‘They get five to 20 direct inquiries a day from self-titled influencers,’ he explained. ‘The net is so wide, and the term “influencer” is so loose.’
However, Natalie Zfat, a social media consultant and influencer took the time to defend the practice, saying that she and her fellow Instagrammers are just ‘business people.’ She went on to say: ‘Could you think of any other business industry where it would be frowned upon for someone to reach out to a potential client and offer them an opportunity? You’d never see Coca Cola berate an ad salesperson at CNN for calling them up and sharing their rates.’
We’ll let you decide for yourself.