One Dublin hotel is no stranger to causing a bit of controversy, and an email they received from a "social media influencer" has seen them in the headlines again.
Charleville Lodge Hotel was approached by an unnamed person who asked for a free stay in the hotel in exchange for a mention in a YouTube video and on social media.
The emailer says they "work as a social media influencer" and have "over 87,000 YouTube subscribers as well as 76,000 Instagram followers."
They were looking for a free stay while they celebrate Valentine’s Day a little early.
"My partner and I are planning to come to Dublin for an early Valentines Day weekend from Feb 8th - 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.
"Last year I worked with Universal Orlando in Florida and it’s been amazing for them!"
Hotel manager Paul Stenson was not impressed, and shared the post online, without naming the person who contacted them.
He wondered how the hotel is expected to pay its staff if its guests do not pay for their rooms.
"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," he wrote.
He added that the hotel has a strong following on social media too, but says they don’t feel entitled to get something for free while others have to pay.
"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," Stenson said.
Stenson, who also manages the White Moose Cafe, offered some "advice" for social media influencers looking to collaborate in this way.
"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."
"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...
"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 (www.paulvstenson.com), which as far as I’m aware is another way of saying “write stuff on the internet”.
"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.
"Best regards, Paul Stenson
"P.S. The answer is no."