The Atlantic

Instagram’s Wannabe-Stars Are Driving Luxury Hotels Crazy

Hotels are being forced to figure out how to work with a new class of brand-peddling marketers.
Source: Shutterstock / Blue Planet Studio

Three years ago, Lisa Linh quit her full-time job to travel the world and document it on Instagram, where she has nearly 100,000 followers; since then, she has stayed in breathtaking hotels everywhere from Mexico to Quebec to the Cook Islands. Often, she stays for free.

Linh is part of an ever-growing class of people who have leveraged their social-media clout to travel the world, frequently in luxury. While Linh and other elite influencers are usually personally invited by hotel brands, an onslaught of lesser-known wannabes has left hotels scrambling to deal with a deluge of requests for all-expenses-paid vacations in exchange for social-media posts.

Kate Jones, a marketing and communications manager at the Dusit Thani, a five-star resort in the Maldives, says that her hotel receives at least six requests from self-described influencers a day, typically through Instagram direct messages.

“Everyone with a Facebook

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