Friday, 20 June 2014

Word of the Week - Annoyed

Posted by Rosie

The Reading Residence

annoyed


adjective

slightly angry; irritated.



Earlier this week I commented on a blog I had stumbled across for the first time.  The blog owner commented back on one of my posts and then sent me this email:


Hi Rosie
Thanks for your comment on my post today. Your own was fab - I adore Normandy, and it made me feel all nostalgic for holidays past!
I just thought I'd drop you a line to say that, if you ever wanted a blogger to review your place in exchange for a free stay, then I'd be very excited to do so. I'm sure you must get loads of offers like this (your use of social media is top-notch), but I just thought I'd add my name to the pile.

As for dates, we're going on a free Mark Warner holiday in July, which I won through Mumsnet, or I'd suggest one of the dates you've put in your post. My child is starting school in September, so we're a bit restricted by dates after that, but we're willing to be flexible. Last-minute breaks are always an option.

I hope that it's shining as beautifully there with you, as it is here with us!"


I have actually found that I am very annoyed by this email.  I have never had any other contact with this blogger yet she seems to think that she can blatantly butter me up with a few compliments and then ask me for a free holiday in return for a blog she will write about us.  She has given me no idea of her readership figures or what possible gain I may get from her blog.  I am annoyed too because, no, I do not have loads of offers like this as most people know how crass and unacceptable it is.  

This is the reply I wanted to send (but didn't): 

"Thank you for reading the blog and taking the time to comment - it is always appreciated.

Your suggestion that I might want to offer you a free holiday has annoyed me to say the least. We are a small business who secures a good number of bookings for the gite through our own successful marketing and presence on social media as well as repeat bookings and recommendations. We are not a large company like Mark Warner who can afford the luxury of offering a free holiday amongst the thousands they sell every year.  You are, in effect, asking us to pay out for what it costs to operate the gite for your stay here (electricity, gas, cleaning, linen washing, welcome box, wear and tear, tax, insurance etc) whilst you enjoy all the spoils of a free holiday. 
Our only potential gain is that from your subsequent blog we *may* get some more bookings.

You also say that your child starts school in September so you would be restricted to school holidays - since opening we have always secured bookings on all school holiday weeks at the full asking price.
 

Simon and I have worked very hard to build up the business that is Eco-Gites of Lenault.   We converted a derelict barn into a high quality gite with our own savings and have provided holidays to over 70 families from 14 different countries.  We have been rewarded by many repeat bookings, recommendations and excellent reviews.  No-one has ever asked for a freebie as they appreciate the excellent value of what we provide.  In fact the most anyone has ever asked for is a few extra of my home-made biscuits in their welcome pack as they had enjoyed them so much on their first visit.  Some have written blog posts and even published promotional videos about Eco-Gites of Lenault, asking for nothing in return.  

I am really pleased that your blog has won you a free holiday with Mark Warner.  But please bear this in mind:- how would you feel if your boss were to ask that next week you worked for no wages and paid out on all the necessary expenses as well?  That is what you are asking us to do."

Maybe you think that all she was doing was asking because if you don't ask you don't get and I have overreacted?  I would be very interested to hear from your views especially if you are some-one who asks for freebies or if you are a cottage/gite owner who has had this type of enquiry.



27 comments :

  1. Cheeky wench. Her response to you has all the hallmarks of a spammer. Only the truly rotten or expensive holiday cottages do not manage to get fully booked during the summer holidays. She seems to have ideas above her station too - is a review on her blog really worth several hundred pounds? It would be cheaper to advertise on websites with a lot more traffic. I would be tempted to send the response you have drafted

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    1. As one of our repeat visitors, thank you for your comment Paul. I was worried that I had over-reacted and you have reassured me! You are right, the money I would lose through giving away this freebie could be spent much better elsewhere.

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  2. I would be annoyed too. I also run a small holiday business, and we are currently running a PR campaign with some very carefully selected bloggers coming to stay and review/write up their experiences about their holiday. This prompted a direct tweet from a blogger pretty much asking for the same, and it annoyed me too! I am glad I am not the only one who found it annoying - in fact I felt rather insulted :( We handpicked a specific number of bloggers to come and stay in our 'out of season' period, typically when we are quieter, but do often get fully booked anyway, so we have potentially taken a loss in revenue - but I have found their visits and subsequent write ups to be valuable. I certainly wouldn't give away a freebie holiday just because someone had asked - for all the reasons you so beautifully put!!

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    1. Thank you Emma and not just me then! I wonder if it was the same blogger?! I actually had insulted as my first choice of word but the blog wrote better with annoyed - I certainly feel both. I like your PR campaign and I would be very interested in knowing how successful you feel it is. I did see one of your reviews from a blogger so that's a plus :)

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    2. I wonder if it was the same person! I had a public tweet though - at least you had a private email! I had no idea how to respond and had to wait a while to compose something publicly acceptable ;-) We don't even offer friends or family freebies - and they would never ask! I will let you know how we feel the campaign went once it's over - So far I think at the very least it has been good coverage, and a good way to promote the experience from a guests point of view. We're just trying things to keep it fresh and see what works well for future marketing efforts - far too many ways to spend hard earned profit!! ;)

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  3. You have every right to be annoyed. People always assume that "it doesn't hurt to ask," but often they are just trying to use you to get something for free.
    When I first went to work at a château hotel, all kinds of social media acquaintances started contacting me to get free stays for write-ups on their blogs. I was suddenly very popular! :)
    People with credibility won't ask you for something for free. They will understand that you have to pay the bills!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you Jennifer and you are right, people who understand small businesses would never ask. I know everyone loves a bargain or a freebie but this was taking things too far.

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  4. I think a lot of these young bloggers (particularly "mummy" bloggers) have massively inflated ideas of their own importance. As Emma mentions it is posible to work with influential bloggers in a strategic way but just to be approached out of the blue with no relationship build up or "media pack" offer with stats etc is ridiculous. I think it's very much part of the culture of take all you can get and give back nothing unfortunately. As you know I'm a gîte owner and blogger just like you and I'm not surprised you were annoyed. You could pay for a year's subscription on a massive worldwide booking portal or guidebook like Sawdays for the money she's asking you to donate to her holiday (and some more)!

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    1. I did write in my first draft of this post that I though she had an over inflated view of her own blog but deleted it as my post was getting rather long! She obviously also has no idea of the costs of running a gite or the work involved. Sadly she is not alone. Some-one I know locally recently said that running a gite was money for old rope. Well it is very hard earned old rope as we both know!

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  5. Blimey what a cheek! You are quite right to be annoyed and yes insulted.

    I get asked to review all sorts of stuff. I accept some interesting offers - usually gardening/chicken/composting related. I enjoy writing about these items on my blog but I don't take up a lot of the offers I get and I don't ask for stuff from people.

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    1. A company asking some-one to review their project for a free sample is one thing but expecting a free holiday is a completely different thing. Even our friends pay full price if they stay in the gite.

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    2. Yes, I certainly would not expect a friend to give me a discount ! There are some very odd people out there :)

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  6. Technically I'm a. 'Mummy blogger' but I'm not young and I dislike the way this term is used perjoratively and (unfortunately) with such negative associations, but I'm digressing...I think that this is very misguided and her approach does nothing to create a professional image which is what many bloggers are. I do hope you replied in very polite terms to point out that this isn't really how it works xx

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    1. I was very polite in my reply but it is not my job to have to explain to bloggers the error of their ways. You say that the term "Mummy Blogger" is used pejoratively but the truth is, receiving emails of this nature only exacerbates this image. I suppose I too am a Mummy Blogger, like you a bit older so maybe wise enough to know never to ask a small business completely out of the blue for something as valuable as a holiday.

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  7. Good grief! How rude and cheeky and arrogant! Words fail me. I think your email reply very restrained. I know how I'd react if someone asked me for a crate of FREE Spotty Dog Cider in return for a like or review!

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    1. I didn't even send this one Lorraine - I sent a much shorter one simply saying that we did not offer freebies in exchange for blogs posts but if she wanted to take a paid holiday here and write a blog about us afterwards, as other guests have done that would be fine.

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  8. Yes I'd be annoyed, but then I'm quite certain that the blogger didn't mean to cause any offence, and she is probably used to reaching out to companies and brands to work with them, though I do find it odd that she did so without a media pack and more information, as it reads more like asking for a free break than striving to set up a working relationship with you. I do think it's too much to ask, so totally agree with that, but I doubt she meant to insult you. That said, I can completely understand your annoyance as you work so hard on your business and run your own social media so well anyway, and do not need to go giving breaks away like this. It undermines and undervalues what you have to offer over there #WotW x

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    1. I think you may be right that her intentions were not to cause offence, otherwise that would defeat the object of the email. However she quite obviously did not stop and think about how her email would be received and how it certainly did serve to undermine and undervalue our business. I had wanted to write something like this as well but the blog post was getting too long!

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  9. Oh dear :-( that is not good! Some people are so rude and cheeky! She even told you when she could go! She should realise that it is your living! Hope you're ok x

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    1. Thank you Kirsty, I'm fine. I do think laying the dates out before me was one of the things that got me so annoyed. It was as if she had made her mind up that I would jump at the chance to give away a free holiday.

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  10. Take a step back and remain professional, she's a cheeky cow, you said no, done dusted!! You could offer her a stay at twice the price for the honour of reviewing your excellent gite accommodation. J xxx

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    1. He he - nice one J. I'm off to mow the grass whilst our gite guests are out. I don't like disturbing them when they are relaxing in the garden.

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  11. Ohh dear....How very cheeky.....Not so much that she asked but they way she asked....Some people would be very happy with one holiday over the summer.....Never mind two...lol

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  12. Oh wow! Can I just say that I am annoyed too. This is like what bloggers are not suppose to be known by. Are you going to be mad if I will say> No class at all! Ugh! #wotw

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    1. No, not mad at all with you. She certainly does not help the image of bloggers with emails like this.

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  13. I agree with everyone's comments - it was thoughtless to approach you so blatantly without any effort on her part to at least try and build a relationship first. And even then, her approach was poorly made. I think as bloggers, we are often seen as a cheaper advertising medium which can be quite powerful with the right tactics. However, most bloggers are also very conscious that small, independent businesses do not have large budgets to play with and are far more appreciative of any collaboration they agree. And with that in mind, it is inappropriate to make contact in such a way. Her way with words doesn't exactly inspire confidence in her writing ability to do any review proud. She is already extremely fortunate to have a free holiday to look forward to, but that is with a large, multinational company - who no doubt have a much bigger marketing budget.
    In essence; yes you are absolutely right to feel annoyed and I apologise on behalf of mummy bloggers everywhere that someone has made you feel this way. I hope the rest of us can redeem us! (and I'm another older mummy too!)

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I love receiving comments and I do read every one but if you are simply here to spam me with a link, guess what ... I won't publish it.