How do you react to free photo-shoot offers?

44 replies [Last post]
dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

Hi,

I had this question for a while in my head, but decided to ask this just now.

You check your email, you find an email from person X.
The text goes something like this, not SPAM, with your hotel's name, city name, etc.

"Hi,

My name is X, I am an amateur photographer.
I will be coming to [City Name] in a week/month for a couple of days.
I would really like to drop by your B&B and take a couple of photos of the property, to feature in on my blog, in a post about [City Name].

Please drop me a message if it is something you would be interested in".

Any red flags?
Any previous experience that would turn you off?

I sent something similar to about 20 properties this Fall, while I was going around Europe... 0 replies. Z-E-R-O.
I did include a link to example photos on my blog, which I consider are somewhat decent, and much better than some hotels have on their websites. (Link for reference: http://www.brinzan.com/photography/)

I'm really lost here, and would like to hear why real business owners would be turned off by this.

__________________

https://www.hermesthemes.com/ - WordPress Themes for Independent Hotels, Inns and B&Bs

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Here is another spammer who has been sending spam solicitation emails from day 1 and got another today (I am sharing this for those who are new and do not know) and the url changes as he ups his ante trying to get something that works... this is a real person real directory, but still SPAM!!! 

Note - just because you are real and are trying to make a buck off the B&B industry does not mean it is not still SPAM... sent to my online "showing" email of course, as always:

Paul McKenzie, Editor & Publisher
Travel and Leisure News
4 Kenlee Gardens, South Hadley, MA 01075
Web: www.TravelandLeisureNews.com
Email: editor@TravelandLeisureNews.com
Member of The International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)
www.ifwtwa.org

Travel and Leisure News has no affiliation with Travel + Leisure Magazine or any of its subsidiaries.

__________________

Gluten free is never free. - Joey Bloggs

 

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

Try and block their emails. They change them regularly. You go 2-3 months with nothing and then whammo another email addy pops up.

__________________

Everyday, for good or ill, we intersect with some else's story and become a part of it.

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Madeleine wrote:

Try and block their emails. They change them regularly. You go 2-3 months with nothing and then whammo another email addy pops up.

Must be the new year of marketing...I had not seen it for a while, but prob had it blocked at the server...so thought it was worth mentioning, a few have been sucked in by mackenzie.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Joey Bloggs wrote:

Here is another spammer who has been sending spam solicitation emails from day 1 and got another today (I am sharing this for those who are new and do not know) and the url changes as he ups his ante trying to get something that works... this is a real person real directory, but still SPAM!!! 

Note - just because you are real and are trying to make a buck off the B&B industry does not mean it is not still SPAM... sent to my online "showing" email of course, as always:

Paul McKenzie, Editor & Publisher
Travel and Leisure News
4 Kenlee Gardens, South Hadley, MA 01075
Web: www.TravelandLeisureNews.com
Email: editor@TravelandLeisureNews.com
Member of The International Food Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA)
www.ifwtwa.org

Travel and Leisure News has no affiliation with Travel + Leisure Magazine or any of its subsidiaries.

I made the mistake of actually dealing with this one in 2000 & 2001 and am STILL getting crap from him. At one point in time I am surprised he escaped the "lynch mob" that was after his skin for "failure to produce" what they paid for. He has MANY entities - and he is relentless.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

and again, and with:

pasted part of:

3. Your website should be more inclined towards Social media promotion and a regular updates in major social networks for its brand awareness.
4. Missing of quality web and promotion contents (Article, Blogs etc.) which is preventing your website to gain more authority and ranking in Web Market.

In the present day scenario it’s very essential to take a proper care of your website and keep it updated with fresh and original contents. There are many additional improvements which can help your website to gain more traffic and visibility. If you are interested to learn more and curious to know how we can help you to improve your website to get a higher traffic, then I would be glad to provide you a detailed proposal for your website.

Best Regards,
Jay Watson
Senior SEO Advisor
Skype: webmarketing.sales
Note: We are not spammers. We just want to know your interest towards the better performance of your website and enhance your business in web market. If you will be interested we will directly communicate with you through our corporate Id.

If you think it's unnecessary for you so please email us back to remove and we will unsubscribe you. Hope you will co-operate.

Jay Watson jaywatson280@gmail.com Here is his email if any spammers are reading this and want another email to spam. Although I am not sure this is even a real person...

 

                PS from JB to innmates - this email went to the EMAIL I only show ONLINE for reservations. So if you have NOT DONE THIS BEFORE, you should have a dedicated EMAIL and you will find all of this SPAM and CRAP sent to that email. Too bad this SPAMMER didn't take the ONE SECOND to look at the website they are spamming and see THE OWNERS NAMES and insert them, they may have actually gotten a BITE from some "victim of social media" and had interest. Not from me, of course, I am not a victim of social media.no

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I try to catch them at the server. IF they make it to my computer, they get the junk/block sender treatment without being opened. My block list must be a mile long! They always have another address to use though to try to get through.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

gillumhouse wrote:

I try to catch them at the server. IF they make it to my computer, they get the junk/block sender treatment without being opened. My block list must be a mile long! They always have another address to use though to try to get through.

I know I am just sharing because often people don't get why we appear hostile when they are soliciting us on the forum.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Of course. I am offering them ways to keep it out of their computer. Sometimes the block this user actually works and puts it into the junk instead of my inbox.

Bommelhoeve's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/14/2009

OK I think it is great if anyone who wants to sell me something first stays a night. I will be nice!

 

In fact I think this will be our new purchasing strategy for 2014- before you can sell any SEO/advertising etc you need to book a room (off-season...)  and get the overnight B&B  experience at our place.......

__________________

Innkeeper
Bommelhoeve Inn

 

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

This topic of spam, vs. not spam, approaches theft of boxes Kleenex in importance in the overall topic of innkeeping...and life. Enjoy your coffee and your thoughts. Little else is as important.

__________________

All saints can do miracles, but few of them can keep hotel. ~ Mark Twain

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Example: Inbox right now with disclaimer at end that this is not spam (I could post these every day for the next year) this is what we are talking about:

Claibornehouse.net Team,
I would like to take a few minutes from your schedule and ask for your attention towards Organic search engine traffic for Claibornehouse.net.
As a business Owner you might be interested to gain profit by placing your website among top in search engines. Your website needs immediate improvement for some major issues with your website.
1. Low online presence for many competitive keyword phrases.
2. Not doing well in most of the Social Media Websites.
3. Your site is not user friendly on mobile devices.
Looking at the above issues and other additional improvements for your website, I would like you to give us a chance to fix those issues. Our team of Search Engine and Social Media experts are here to serve you with best inputs. If you are interested in learning more about current status of your website, we would be glad to share WEBSITE AUDIT REPORT ofClaibornehouse.net for FREE.
You will feel the difference once you get services from our company as we never let our clients expectations go down. Being at the top left of Google (#1- #3 organic positions) is the best thing you can do for your company's website traffic and online reputation. You will be happy to know that, my team is willing to guarantee you 1st page Google ranking for most of your targeted local keyword phrases in our six month ongoing campaign.
If my proposal sound's interesting for your business goal, feel free to email us, or can provide me with your phone number and the best time to call you. I am also available for an online meeting to present you this website audit report.
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Best Regards,
Puspa Verma
Marketing Consultant

PS I: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion. If you still want us to not contact you, you can ignore this email or ask to remove and I will not contact again.
PS II: I found your site using Google search and after having a look over your website I recommend you to implement future technologies such as HTML5 and Responsive Design to make your site more accessible in mobile phone, tablets, desktop etc.

Offline
Joined:
06/24/2008

Just deleted the same email from my folder this am - of course with my inn instead of JB's.   And I get these every day.  Delete!

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

Yes, that is definitely spam.

One thing that sets me off on these SEO offers -- "Right now your website is not being found on Google. We can help you get to #1... blah, blah, blah"  -- But somehow YOU (mr. spammer)  found me! 

__________________

"where even time relaxes...."

 

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Harborfields wrote:

Yes, that is definitely spam.

One thing that sets me off on these SEO offers -- "Right now your website is not being found on Google. We can help you get to #1... blah, blah, blah"  -- But somehow YOU (mr. spammer)  found me! 

and you know me by now, the one who just yesterday posted two articles here about website/social media marketing and keeping an eye on your inn online, ie google images, etc. We had your neat newspaper article and discussing ways to promote the inn, with sharing, comments, links etc.

so yeah...help me unknown person who sends spam and tells me an untruth. You MUST know what you are talking about. Haha

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

There should be a SPAM filter containing just the words "organic search". I get these myself, like 20-30 per day for each of my websites. 

But this is obviously an automatically generated one, as it only uses your website URL (not the Inn's name at least). It uses vague terms and promises, nor does it touch the fact that you are actually in the hospitality business.
This same email would be valid for a Post Office website, a tattoo-parlor, etc.

That is the reason why I said that my email could be considered as "less" spammy, because they were actually written for each hotel/B&B separately, with real names, and no sales pitch in it.

But I guess this topic has been exhausted already Smiling

I'm glad people participated in this discussion, it was helpful for me, so thank you all for your time.

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

dumitru wrote:

There should be a SPAM filter containing just the words "organic search". I get these myself, like 20-30 per day for each of my websites. 

But this is obviously an automatically generated one, as it only uses your website URL (not the Inn's name at least). It uses vague terms and promises, nor does it touch the fact that you are actually in the hospitality business.
This same email would be valid for a Post Office website, a tattoo-parlor, etc.

That is the reason why I said that my email could be considered as "less" spammy, because they were actually written for each hotel/B&B separately, with real names, and no sales pitch in it.

But I guess this topic has been exhausted already Smiling

I'm glad people participated in this discussion, it was helpful for me, so thank you all for your time.

I have set up spam filters to remove any email with 'seo' in the sender's name. ie - sam @ seo marketing . com.

I think you're missing the definition of 'spam'. Spam is not necessarily only an identical email that 20,000 users get at the same time. It's unsolicited contact. It's called junk mail when it's in the mailbox outside but it's the same thing. It doesn't have to be selling ED drugs or fake trips to the Caribbean or trying to phish your bank info. It's email I didn't request that is trying to sell me something or get me to engage with someone I don't know or somehow taking up my time.

There's a fine line here, too. I get lots of spam but not nearly as much as JB gets because she blogs the hell out of everything so her info is everywhere. I get emails from Chamber members. I'm not in the Chamber but they let all of their members use this really old marketing list of members. That's spam. But, in a way, I opted into that list by being a member. So it's not spam in the real sense. But it's annoying anyway!

We biz owners are just spending a lot of our valuable energy being annoyed so even useful emails get the boot. You might not think your email is spam but you are the final arbiter of that definition. The recipient is.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Madeleine wrote:

dumitru wrote:

There should be a SPAM filter containing just the words "organic search". I get these myself, like 20-30 per day for each of my websites. 

But this is obviously an automatically generated one, as it only uses your website URL (not the Inn's name at least). It uses vague terms and promises, nor does it touch the fact that you are actually in the hospitality business.
This same email would be valid for a Post Office website, a tattoo-parlor, etc.

That is the reason why I said that my email could be considered as "less" spammy, because they were actually written for each hotel/B&B separately, with real names, and no sales pitch in it.

But I guess this topic has been exhausted already Smiling

I'm glad people participated in this discussion, it was helpful for me, so thank you all for your time.

I have set up spam filters to remove any email with 'seo' in the sender's name. ie - sam @ seo marketing . com.

I think you're missing the definition of 'spam'. Spam is not necessarily only an identical email that 20,000 users get at the same time. It's unsolicited contact. It's called junk mail when it's in the mailbox outside but it's the same thing. It doesn't have to be selling ED drugs or fake trips to the Caribbean or trying to phish your bank info. It's email I didn't request that is trying to sell me something or get me to engage with someone I don't know or somehow taking up my time.

There's a fine line here, too. I get lots of spam but not nearly as much as JB gets because she blogs the hell out of everything so her info is everywhere. I get emails from Chamber members. I'm not in the Chamber but they let all of their members use this really old marketing list of members. That's spam. But, in a way, I opted into that list by being a member. So it's not spam in the real sense. But it's annoying anyway!

We biz owners are just spending a lot of our valuable energy being annoyed so even useful emails get the boot. You might not think your email is spam but you are the final arbiter of that definition. The recipient is.

I don't have my email out there, that is the difference. Mine are always real people spamming me, I know, how can THAT be spam... haha

I have had five emails from BBONLINE (y'all prob have to) telling me to go to their table at PAII to get a prize! What are they, McDonalds now?  Is this spam? I have not listed with them since canceling and did not AUTHORIZE them to continue sending me emails by the half dozen, is this spam? YEAH! HELL TO THE YEAH, as Madea would say. 

and...once again I am wasting time speaking about spam! DARN IT! See how it is, spam spam spam ugly spam...

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

I'm glad that I am getting really great stories from you guys (and gals), your feedback is very helpful.

@Harborfields: nice deal with the painters. Imagine seeing their work 20-30 years from now, in some fancy gallery, with a painting of your B&B somewhere. I'm sure it will bring a tear at least.
And yes, all those emails were hand-crafted for each hotel (even though, as I mentioned earlier, contained a somewhat different message). I did not just copy/paste 20 emails, it took me about 4 days to send all 20+ of them.

I have actually booked and stayed at 2 hotels that peaked my interest during our trips.

One had a 9.5 rating on Boo!-king and cost about $180 / night, and we spent 2 nights there.
The morning we were leaving, I decided to try a friendly talk with the owner about their website, and he got incredibly defensive. 
It was late September, we were the only ones staying at this 14-rooms hotel. I'm 28, 1.70m and young looking, always dressed casually, I'm no bully. So it surprised me that the owner immediately changed his attitude. The least you can do with your only clients for the day is to be polite for a couple of minutes.
I wasn't trying to sell anything, just told him that I run a firm that provides websites for properties like his, and if I could send him an email in a few days, after I finish my trip. So I simply asked for permission to send him an email, nothing more. And it was tough to get... Oh well, maybe it was just an example of stereotype about German hospitality Smiling

@Silverspoon: what's up with videographers...

About 2 years ago I was in a situation a little bit worse. At the time I was spending all my time promoting a travel website in my country (which was becoming very popular). One day, I get an email from an american (they don't come often to this part of Eastern Europe), saying that he is doing some cool video project, is going to visit like 100 countries in 2 years. Needed someone to take care of accommodation and transport.
I looked him up, checked his FB profile, his website, everything checked out. Saw some video previews of his travels to other countries.
So I pulled some strings, got him 3 FREE nights at one of the best 5-star hotels in the capital. Spent 2 full days with him on the road, drove about 500 km (our roads are among the worst in Europe), showed him all attractions and sights.
Aaaand I'm still waiting for at least one second of the promised videos. The hotel was promised a quick promo as well, nothing happened.
I'm not bitter, it is just painful to be deceived like that. So in a way "I feel you" Smiling

@Madeleine: the email with photos is just an example, it is not something that I actually sent out. In the past 12 months I think I have reviewed over 1.000 of hotel websites, and I can freely say that over 90% have incredibly outdated and low-res photos. This is why an email for photos might be a bit more attractive to some (especially if it doesn't cost anything).

-----

And to reiterate Harborfields's question: do you mind people taking photos of the property? Do you expect them to ask for permission first?

Breakfast Diva's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/26/2009

dumitru wrote:

It was late September, we were the only ones staying at this 14-rooms hotel. I'm 28, 1.70m and young looking, always dressed casually, I'm no bully. So it surprised me that the owner immediately changed his attitude. The least you can do with your only clients for the day is to be polite for a couple of minutes.
I wasn't trying to sell anything, just told him that I run a firm that provides websites for properties like his, and if I could send him an email in a few days, after I finish my trip. So I simply asked for permission to send him an email, nothing more. And it was tough to get... Oh well, maybe it was just an example of stereotype about German hospitality Smiling

Really? Are you listening to yourself? OF COURSE YOU WERE TRYING TO SELL HIM SOMETHING. By telling him you weren't, just made the situation worse. You lost any credibility you might have had up to that point. I really don't think you're aware of how that sounds to a business owner. We are bombarded every day by people who say they're not trying to sell us things and then without taking a breath they try to sell us a service.

You rented a room from this guy, not a lecture, mentor session, or business coach. Just say thank you for the stay. PERIOD.

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

I guess all I can say is "lesson learned".

Oh, and of course this experience didn't stop me from giving their hotel a 10/10 review on b00!king.
It was the best stay we have ever had Smiling

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

dumitru wrote:

@Madeleine: the email with photos is just an example, it is not something that I actually sent out. In the past 12 months I think I have reviewed over 1.000 of hotel websites, and I can freely say that over 90% have incredibly outdated and low-res photos. This is why an email for photos might be a bit more attractive to some (especially if it doesn't cost anything).

-----

And to reiterate Harborfields's question: do you mind people taking photos of the property? Do you expect them to ask for permission first?

I think the hotel would be more receptive if they saw a comparison. A photo you took vs the same photo on their website right now. AND an explanation of how much it would cost to get, say, 50 excellent photos for them to use forever. No one believes 'free'.

The first person I contacted to take photos here said it would be between $3k - $5k for photos. THEN the cropping and light changes, etc would be $x per photo. He looked around and said we didn't really have anything good here to photograph, it would all have to be tweaked and flowers added here and there and all this PRE photo shoot decorating done.

The photos I now have (of the food only at this time) were taken by an amateur who charged $700 for her time. I have 2 CD's filled with pix. Probably half of them are junk because she was really only interested in the flowers and food not the rooms. And, I've changed all the rooms since the pix were taken so they're all out of date!

Guests taking photos do not have to ask first. We want them to take photos. One of my projects is to get a sign put up in the garden where they love to take pix!

I regularly see people jumping out of their cars to take pix of the yard/gardens/house. Not that it's a great house, but this is how people planning weddings remember the names of all the places they've looked at.

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

I guess that this comment contains a part of the real reason why some owners would avoid such an offer.

When in some countries photographers charge over 1-2K for a photo-shoot, the risk of getting into a well-worded scam would be too painful money-wise.
So it is better to just avoid the situation altogether. 

But damn, those are some crazy rates. I got my current camera and 1 lens for a total of ~$4K. One such client would pay off my whole equipment. Damn this is crazy Smiling

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

dumitru wrote:

The morning we were leaving, I decided to try a friendly talk with the owner about their website, and he got incredibly defensive. 
It was late September, we were the only ones staying at this 14-rooms hotel. I'm 28, 1.70m and young looking, always dressed casually, I'm no bully. So it surprised me that the owner immediately changed his attitude. The least you can do with your only clients for the day is to be polite for a couple of minutes.
I wasn't trying to sell anything, just told him that I run a firm that provides websites for properties like his, and if I could send him an email in a few days, after I finish my trip. So I simply asked for permission to send him an email, nothing more. And it was tough to get... Oh well, maybe it was just an example of stereotype about German hospitality Smiling

I'll take each of these one at a time...

Yes, the innkeeper got hostile. You've seen it here. The inns are our babies. You came out of nowhere to talk about their website. FIRST thing the owner thought was you were trying to sell him something. (Isn't that what we all thought here when you first signed up? You can't say that's not how you come across! Not sure if anyone has taken you up on your offer for a free website review but for those who haven't here's why - we're pretty sure the 'other shoe' will drop with you saying you can fix a lot of the problems for $x.)

Second thing the innkeeper thought was 'who the hell does this guy think he is?' And, 'what does this guy know about anything?'

ALL of us have had complete strangers think that staying a couple of nights gives them the right to 'explain' to us how we could be doing so much better if we only did...

Think of it this way, the innkeeper turns to you as you are checking out and says, 'About your kid/spouse, I've seen other kids/spouses dressed better and I think your kid/spouse is being hurt by not being dressed as well as you could be dressing him/her.'

It would be a bit of a shock wouldn't it? What does the innkeeper know about your family/situation? How dare he!

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

An alternative approach: make a reservation to stay at each of these places (as a regular guest; you are going to need accommodation on your trip anyway!), and while you are there, just start taking pictures (so long as you are unobtrusive in doing so). As the sayings go, "shoot first, ask questions later"  or "it is easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact than for permission ahead of time..."

How do others feel about guests taking photographs of your place while they are staying with you? Our guests are taking pictures all the time; sometimes they even share them with us!

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Harborfields wrote:

An alternative approach: make a reservation to stay at each of these places (as a regular guest; you are going to need accommodation on your trip anyway!), and while you are there, just start taking pictures (so long as you are unobtrusive in doing so). As the sayings go, "shoot first, ask questions later"  or "it is easier to ask for forgiveness after the fact than for permission ahead of time..."

How do others feel about guests taking photographs of your place while they are staying with you? Our guests are taking pictures all the time; sometimes they even share them with us!

My rule is click often and sharing is appreciated (except my office and the kitchen - my work stations)

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

I know this is hard to do in advance but we received a card with a photo on it already of our inn. It was startling to see our inn on a nice 'greeting' card so I actually looked at it. It wasn't anything I wanted to buy but it was something I opened and looked at.

Still, I guess I'm still not sure WHY you want to do this.

Silverspoon's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/16/2011

I wouldn't trust you.  What's in it for you?   Here's an experience we had about 10 years ago.  Guest was staying in the cottage for a week and after breakfast he approached us about making a documentary video showing the workings of a small B+B..... preparing breakfast, maintaining the property, greeting guests, etc.   He was a documentary videographer (he at least had business cards) with professional equipment, his girl friend was  attending a local conference in the mornings and he had some time on his hands.  It sounded like it might be fun, and did not involve any additional prep on our part.  Well, I did have to gussy up a bit first thing in the morning and plan a menu that might be presentable to film.wink But other than that....no sweat. He filmed for a day.  It was fun, but we never saw the edited film, which he promised to send to us.

So where is this going?  To cut to the quick just let me say that we believe that he was shacking up with his girl friend and needed a plausible excuse to give to his wife once he got back home.  Voila, he had all this footage of the B+B etc.  Perfect excuse to be away for a week staying in a romantic B+B.  Did we ever see 2 seconds of film?  Nope

__________________

Gardens are not made by singing "Oh, how beautiful" and sitting in the shade.
Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936)

 

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

From wikipedia, "Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages (spam), especially advertising, indiscriminately."

In my opinion, Dumitru's e-mails would not meet this definition of spam, particularly if each one was individually addressed to the recipient.

But of course it is each recipient who defines spam for themselves.

I personally evaluate almost all the e-mail I get (I have set up some filters).. I look first at who the e-mail is from -- does the name make any sense. Some are obviously spam (e.g. Dr. Oz's Magical Miracle Cure)  and are deleted. Then I look at the subject line -- does it make any sense? Some are obviously spam (e.g. Your FREE credit score for only $29.95!!!!!) and get deleted. Then I open and scan the message -- most are pretty easy to categorize as spam or legit. Any questionable ones I will look at the mail headers to see who really sent the message and who it was really addressed to, etc. Links are easy to evaluate (my mail program shows me the actual URL when I hover my cursor over a link). Attached files are easy to evaluate, from the file name and extension.

I get a lot of spam, but it probably takes me longer to type "delete, delete, delete...." than to actually do it.

So anyway, Dumitru's mail would most likely get through to me as a legitimate e-mail. Then the questions become, What is he asking for? What is he offering? What will be required of me -- how much will it cost?  how much time is this going to take? How much disruption is it going to cause? What would be the benefit to me?

If I got an e-mail out of the blue from some unknown who said he was a traveler/photographer/blogger, that he heard about my place from XXXX source and was going to be in the area during YYYY timeframe and wondered if he could stop by to meet with me and take some photos of our place, that he wasn't asking for anything in return and that he would gladly share his work with me to use however I saw fit, I would say "sure, come on by" (as long as the timing was convenient).

We actually have a local "pleine air" painter's group that comes here once or twice a year (in the shoulder seasons). The leader calls first to make sure its OK. They spread out across the property, each choosing a different scene that suits their fancy, set up their easels, and spend the morning (or afternoon) painting. They wander around and check out each other's work.  And then they leave. No mess, no fuss. The leader has a gallery on the other side of town, and has invited us to leave our brochures/rack cards with her (which reminds me, I need to follow through on that this spring!)

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

Harborfields wrote:

From wikipedia, "Electronic spamming is the use of electronic messaging systems to send unsolicited bulk messages (spam), especially advertising, indiscriminately."

In my opinion, Dumitru's e-mails would not meet this definition of spam, particularly if each one was individually addressed to the recipient.

If I got this in my inbox today, it would be called spam. Like the others I have been deleting and fill my inbox. Unfortunately. In the mail it would be called junk mail and thrown away.

So the question is - what can I DO to reach these people with my offer (which I still think is solicitation anyway) or he wouldn't be offering it. Smiling Bless his heart.

gillumhouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

I get this type of e-mail frequently - in the morning I check the server and delete these before I even bring it in to my computer. As my VERY smart Mama said, There is NO free lunch!

First off, anyone can take photos of my house from the street, from the sidewalk, from the alley.... - my permission is not required as it is seen by the public. A hotel lobby would be in the same category. With a B & B, beyond my front porch is by invitation only but it would take more than an e-mail suddenly appearing (or a phone call out of the blue because I get those too). Yes, a letter or a note card would be opened. The e-mail would fall into the 6 Greek priests category.

Yes, after one has been in business for a while, we become a VERY HARD SELL. (At least I have.)

Arks's picture
Offline
Joined:
05/22/2010

dumitru wrote:

I sent something similar to about 20 properties this Fall, while I was going around Europe... 0 replies. Z-E-R-O.

In hind sight, for only 20 properties it might have worked to send snail mail, maybe even hand-written rather than computer printed, so they KNOW it is personal and not a mass mailing of thousands.

Lots of e-mails like yours get eaten as spam before a human even gets the chance to see them. A personal letter is something they will not only hold in their hands, but open to see what it's about.

Then the next step would be to word it so they don't suspect it is a scam, or that you are expecting something in return. As was mentioned above, explain why you are doing this and that it's not to get their money! Even then, some will not believe you.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

It is spam.

It is the basics. It doesn't have to be from an auto generated spammer in China, it is spam if we did not ask for the email.

It is the same as "cold call" marketing. 

You WANT something from it, there is no doubt. Now you have spelled it out here, as we have gotten to know you, but they have not. "Nothing is free." and to add another "It is worth what you pay for it..." so again, nothing.

You are not the only one. I hate to say that again, as you already found that out when you stepped foot on this forum. I created the linkedin forum that has nearly 2000 members. I looked at those requests to join, just today and there were 15 who were only there to SOLICIT. Marketing, professionals, all wanting in. When they get in, they do just that, they solicit. 

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

If going by the standard definition of SPAM (being an unsolicited email), then even legitimate inquiries and letters would fall under this category.

An OTA requesting info? SPAM.
A local travel agency requesting some info? SPAM.
A colleague asking about the weather? SPAM.
A potential customer asking about local attractions? SPAM.

This is why I think that the definition of SPAM is a bit too harsh, there are many shades of grey (BOOM!) between black and white.

So if I'm a "civilian" travel blogger, I think such emails should not fall into the same category as Nigerian princes and vi4gra crooks.

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

dumitru wrote:

If going by the standard definition of SPAM (being an unsolicited email), then even legitimate inquiries and letters would fall under this category.

An OTA requesting info? SPAM.
A local travel agency requesting some info? SPAM.
A colleague asking about the weather? SPAM.
A potential customer asking about local attractions? SPAM.

This is why I think that the definition of SPAM is a bit too harsh, there are many shades of grey (BOOM!) between black and white.

So if I'm a "civilian" travel blogger, I think such emails should not fall into the same category as Nigerian princes and vi4gra crooks.

Nope, still spam Dumi. I would be careful saying a potential customer is spam, come on now that is grasping at straws. It was spam, it is spam. If someone sends an unsolicited email from this forum - as you were orig thought to do and got upset as it wasn't you - but happens all the time - is spam. See what we mean?

Intent. I guess that is the word we can use. If we don't know you from beans, then it is spam. Even if we do know you and you think you can email us and bug us, then it is spam. All in the eye-of the spam folder, er beholder. haha

Highlands John's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/16/2010

You can argue as long as you like whether your email meets the standard definition of SPAM, the fact is you use all the same techniques that thousands of spammers employ (person name/ email address, offer something for nothing,  legitimate looking website, personalised email with owners name / business name etc) and judging by your success rate, SPAM is how your emails are treated.

And before you start sending out emails with "THIS IS NOT SPAM" in them.... the spammers do that too, the fly b*****ds.  

__________________

If you wanted hotel facilities you should have booked a hotel and paid hotel prices!!!

 

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

Thanks for all the comments so far.

The text that I posted in the question is not the actual text, it is just pointing the general structure of the email.
Of course I would give away the photos to the property owner, for free, use them any way you please.

Personally I consider SPAM emails that have a sales pitch for some product.
If it is an email sent directly to hotel X, after I have manually went through the website, looked at the hotel/B&B, looked at what they have to offer, etc. and only after that the email is sent.

Nothing automatically generated.

I spent a couple of weeks on the road (with my wife) through Austria and Germany, and I was staying at hotels either way. I am pretty happy to pay for my accommodation, and I never expect any discounts, free nights, etc.
My only "hidden" hope was that I would get to meet and JUST TALK to some of the hotel administrators and/or owners.

As I have mentioned in my first thread here, hospitality is my passion and my long-term goal. I'm looking to start my own hotel in a few years, so I was just looking to connect with people in a similar position.

 

But yeah, I did expect that such an email would hit the SPAM/Trash folder as soon as I clicked "Send", so I guess I'll have to figure out a different way to engage.

One phone call?

Madeleine's picture
Offline
Joined:
09/29/2011

"What's the catch?" That's how I react.

OnTheShore's picture
Offline
Joined:
08/28/2011

You might get more traction if you offered to share the photos with the innkeepers, giving them license to use any that they like as they wish.

Were you hoping to get accommodation out of the deal? Either way, making that clear would also be important.

 

(posted simultaneously with JB)

Offline
Joined:
10/07/2008

from me to you Dumi:

You are not the only one... we get these all the time. "with your hotel's name, city name, etc." this is found everywhere online, it is nothing unique to a spammer/scammer. Unsolicited email IS spam.

The majority are scams, and they would want to SELL the images back to us. You do not mention a cost, or this is free.

You used the word amateur, why would we want an amateur here? Your photos are beautiful, btw, but where are they online, ie in what publications/blogs/websites? 

For what it is worth: I had this happen here this year (wait 2013, but they will be here on Saturday Jan 10, and the photographer is local! It took quite a bit of convincing, and in fact part of the bargain to USE OUR PLACE for the photo shoot is that we are given photos to use in marketing free of charge. She had to book one room. Yes, one room. They won't be staying overnight I don't think, they surely can if they wish. I am happy, as always, to give credit to the photographer, and will in fact, do more marketing for her while sharing her work on our blog, website, facebook, pinterest, twitter, directories, etc.

So again, all good intentions, but that is not what we are hit with every day. Example: I launched the Elope Virginia package and have a dedicated email for it, and am already getting it filled with spam for elopement wedding directories that I NEED TO BE ON and they will give me a trial subscription for only $9.99 a month. They actually NEED MY INFO to HAVE an ELOPE DIRECTORY.

I give everything away, all the time, very seldom does anyone do anything for our B&B, very very very very seldom! So that is where this innkeeper is on this, I hope it helps you. Now if YOU LIVED HERE I would take you up on your offer, as I now know you from beans, sorta. Smiling

Highlands John's picture
Offline
Joined:
04/16/2010

It's interesting that you say it's not spam, but it is, the fact that your email includes the business name and town does little to differentiate it from this, it's technically not very difficult to write a bit of code that would trawl websites, pull out business names and towns and fire off thousands of these emails.

We're a small business and I get 30-40 emails a day of this nature and I have to sift through all of this in case there's a legitimate enquiry. You just become battle weary and something like yours gets deleted before I've got to the end of the 2nd line. 

The red flag is someone I've never heard of offering to do something for me for nothing.

Sorry, I'm being very negative, but that's the reality of email.

It's not clear what you are trying to achieve, is it the advancement of your blog, are you hoping the B&B will employ you to do more photos....  whatever it is I don't think email is your answer.

Offline
Joined:
05/22/2008

Never had anyone do that to me. Only had one guy show up at the door offering to take photos.... as did many innkeepers...they were pretty crappy too.

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

I would be afraid you are casing the place.  Many B&Bs are full of antiques and artwork. 

You don't explain in your email why you would want to take pictures of homes you've never seen before.

__________________

TBH

 

dumitru's picture
Offline
Joined:
10/07/2013

What if you are a small hotel owner (the hotel is small, not you), something that is open 24/7?

And you don't have to get me into the house looking into the drawers, taking exterior photos would be sufficient.

Hmm... so I guess such a message should either contain a plausible reason for doing it, or contain as much information as possible about me? Like social proof?

TheBeachHouse's picture
Offline
Joined:
06/24/2013

exactly. 

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.