Beach club owner takes a stand against social media influencers

Gianluca Casaccia called travelers seeking free accommodations in exchange for social media posts "disrespectful"
April 06, 2019 12:00PM

(Credit: iStock)

A beach club owner in the Philippines is pushing back against social media influencers asking for free food, drinks and lodging.

Gianluca Casaccia, the manager and co-owner of the White Banana Beach Club, posted on a message on Facebook dissuading influencers from reaching out to him: “We are receiving many messages regarding collaborations with influencers, Instagram influencers. We kindly would like to announce that White Banana is not interested to ‘collaborate’ with self-proclaimed ‘influencers.’ And we would like to suggest to try another way to eat, drink, or sleep for free. Or try to actually work.”

The post garnered a flurry of likes and comments, with more than 11,000 likes, 3,000 shares and nearly 700 comments, according to the New York Times.

Casaccia’s club is located on the island of Siargao and consists of a bar, restaurant and two “luxury dorms” for around $23 a bed. He said he’s received about 100 messages from people saying they are influencers,

“We found this disrespectful,” he told the Times. He noted that often the “influencers” had fewer than 2,000 Instagram followers. “How can you help me if you are no one?” he asked.

Casaccia clarified that he was not opposed to “real influencers,” which he defined as people with 500,000 followers or more.

The issue is not unique to the island. In January 2018, the owner of a boutique lodge in Dublin got into a publicized fight with a young YouTuber who requested free lodging. Last June, resorts in the Maldives reported they were swamped with influencer inquiries.

“The number of requests are now so high that we don’t even bother replying,” said Jacques Maudy of luxury villa rental company, nomadholidayrentals.com. “We even had the case a couple of weeks ago of a group of friends who secured one of our villas with a deposit and then tried to bargain the balance against a couple of posts.” [NYT] — Meenal Vamburkar