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  • Writer's pictureDigital Masters

Closing the Door on Influencers: Why Popular Destinations Are Starting to Say, "No"


In today's world, popular destinations are increasingly closing their doors to influencers, signaling a shift in how businesses and communities view the impact of these internet personalities. The influence of lifestyle TikTokkers and Instagram food enthusiasts on our choices of restaurants, travel destinations, and more has become undeniable. However, some establishments are now pushing back against this trend, leading to important questions about the evolving relationship between influencers and the places they frequent. One notable instance of this shift can be seen at Dae, a chic design shop and cafe located in Brooklyn. According to a report from Curbed, this establishment had to grapple with an influx of influencers, armed with tripods and cameras, to the point where the cafe owners made the decision to ban them altogether. This move was communicated through the cafe's Instagram account, allowing patrons to take "quick snaps" at their own tables while firmly stating their new in-store policy: "We love food and drink photos (clearly) … but the TikToks and Instagram photoshoots have gotten a bit out of control for us." Similarly, the picturesque town of Pomfret in Vermont garnered attention when it imposed similar restrictions on influencers and tourists. Known for its stunning autumn scenery, Pomfret decided to close off its most frequented and photographed spots between September 23 and October 15. This decision was made to address "significant safety, environmental, aesthetic, and quality of life issues." It's important to note that these incidents are not isolated cases. In 2018, a hotel in Ireland made headlines by banning all "bloggers" after an influencer requested a complimentary stay in exchange for promotional content. In February 2020, a cafe in Taiwan took a strict stance against influencers due to the disruptive behavior of Instagrammers striving for the perfect shot. For some, the decision to ban content creators in 2023 may appear intriguing, considering the growing prevalence of influencer marketing and the reliance on these individuals for product and place promotion. This reliance extends to both businesses seeking to market their offerings and consumers seeking trusted recommendations from internet figures. One of the reasons behind these bans is logistical. While viral videos can certainly boost popularity, many businesses and local attractions may not be equipped to handle the surge in demand that influencers can generate. According to Dr. Marcus Collins, a marketing professor at the University of Michigan, some establishments "can't handle the new demand," leading to a strain on their physical infrastructure. Marketing director Sarah Blocksidge also acknowledges that "some businesses just aren't suited for the influx of people an influencer can attract, which can end up hurting the business more than helping it." Beyond logistical challenges, there is a growing disillusionment with certain influencers and their choices. In recent times, there has been a trend of "de-influencing," with some internet users expressing fatigue at the influx of short-lived micro-trends and content lacking meaning. Some influencers are perceived as having a superficial connection to the places they visit, which does not contribute to the sustainability of the businesses and destinations they promote. The desire for sustainable customer bases and authentic experiences is driving the backlash against influencer culture. Sam Shaw, strategy director at Canvas8, notes that most places prefer long-term customers over transient visitors who are primarily seeking the perfect Instagram-worthy moment. This sentiment aligns with the practice of banning cameras and photography in certain restaurants and clubs to preserve the essence of the experience for those present. It's worth mentioning that "no-camera" rules are not a new concept, with some major restaurants implementing stricter regulations for diners intent on documenting their meals as early as 2013. However, over the past decade, taking food photos has evolved into a full-fledged career for many individuals. While this has undoubtedly impacted the hospitality and food and beverage industries, some establishments now feel that they don't need external social media promotion to boost their sales. Some critics argue that influencers overestimate the value they bring to brands, citing instances where they demand free products or services in exchange for exposure. This sense of entitlement has led private businesses to grow weary of those who seek freebies in return for mentions, as observed in the case of the B&B in Dublin. This sentiment has contributed to the pushback, even though it's important to recognize that influencers are still a prominent presence in today's digital landscape.

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