A hotel owner who banned social media influencers after a YouTuber asked for a five-night free stay has discovered widespread support for his tough stance.
Paul Stenson, the owner of The White Moose Cafe, imposed the blanket ban after Elle Darby broke down in tears after he bluntly rejected her request and posted his emailed response online.
But far from damaging his business as many in the blogging community had predicted, he's been inundated with messages of support.
On the hotel’s Facebook page, where Stenson posted his original response to Darby, in which he wrote, “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,” he has received over 2,000 comments in solidarity.
And since imposing the ban, “following the backlash received after asking an unidentified blogger to pay for a hotel room,” the hotel has been praised for its decision.
One person wrote on Facebook: “I feel this is a pivotal moment in history, could it be the beginning of the end for online ‘bloggers’?.... I hope so.”
Another commented: “Keep up the good work. It’s about time that an establishment actually showed that the customer is not always right and actually stands up for themselves. When I make the trip to Ireland I am definitely making it a point to stay at your establishment and enjoy all of your services offered.”
Others were concerned by the “sense of entitlement” and compared the offer of blogger “collaborations” to the threat of a bad review.
One woman wrote: “This is no different than threatening a bad Yelp review to get freebies at a restaurant. It’s extortion. And malicious. And how can anyone make a literal value judgement if they don’t pay for goods or services? Makes no sense whatsoever.”
Another comment reads: “I’d love to see them try that over here in Australia. Good job for setting an example. Comments below about blogging blackmail are absolutely correct.”
However, Paul’s decision has faced backlash from other social media bloggers and influencers - who have attempted to bombard the hotel with one-star reviews as retaliation.
But despite the backlash, loyal fans of The White Moose Hotel have been leaving five-star reviews on the hotel’s page to counteract the negative ones.
As of now, the hotel has 4.4 stars on Facebook.