Southern Belle in Training

Fashion, Travel & Lifestyle Blog || Est. 2012 || Charlottesville, VA

October 3, 2019

The Most Awkward Situation I've Ever Had as a Blogger.

     I celebrated 7 years of blogging last month, and in that time-frame there have been so many incredible moments and memories that I've had. I've been lucky enough to partner with so many wonderful brands and companies over the years, and even formed long-lasting business relationships with a few. It's only natural though that there have also been some blog opportunities that didn't turn about to be as positive as I envisioned. A couple weeks ago I had to deal with an unexpected awkward situation with a blogging collaboration, so I wanted to share today how I handled it! And share one of my favorite outfits that I wore on my Charleston trip last week as well. 






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Shortsuit c/o {use code alk315 for 15% off your purchase} // Tank top // Heels // Purse // Earrings {old, similar here} // Watch c/o // 



      While I originally started Southern Belle in Training as a personal style blog, over the past couple of years I've focused a lot of content on travel topics. It's been so much fun for me to create travel diaries and guides for the places I visit, and also to start doing travel collaborations! Since moving to Virginia in 2018, I've worked with a few hotels and tourism boards to get to explore my new state even more and to bring you unique travel content. 

     When I RSVP'd yes to my friend Eddrinia's wedding in Charleston for September 2019, I immediately started pitching different Charleston area hotels. You don't need me to tell you that Charleston, SC is a hugely popular vacation destination. Not only that, but it's also an especially popular travel spot for bloggers and influencers. I feel like the explosion of Instagram has just continually helped to make Charleston seem more appealing since it's such a photography-worthy city, haha! Anyways, I knew that it would be a lot tougher for me to secure a travel collaboration for my blog in Charleston than it would be in other smaller cities, due to the popularity of it right now. I am the first to tell you I am not the most popular or famous travel blogger out there, and I certainly don't have a very large social media following as compared to a lot of girls who do this full-time. I'm aware of that and okay with that, but I knew I'd have to pitch extra hard to make something happen here.

    Long story short, after receiving several decline emails from various hotels (and many more that didn't respond at all), I finally got a yes from a hotel that wanted to partner with me! They offered to host me not just for one night of my trip, but all three nights. The hotel was in a great location, and the price of rooms and the aesthetic of the property seemed to perfectly fit the demographics of my blog audience. I was already so excited to visit and start creating content! Everything was official when the hotel marketing manager signed my travel collaboration contract a few months ago- all that was left to do was wait for September. 

     Check-in day finally arrived, and my friend Priyanka and I were so excited to see the hotel. The check-in experience was wonderful: the front desk associate was friendly and helpful, the general manager came to meet me and helped to personally escort our bags to the room, and the marketing manager had left a  welcome bag waiting for us in the room, as well as a generous gift certificate to dine at the hotel restaurant. I was over-the-moon! Everything was off to a great start. Priyanka and I took a ton of photos of the lobby and room after check-in. I was already visualizing in my head how I would write the collaboration blog post.

     All was going well at the hotel until about 10pm the first night. I don't want this negative part of the blog post to be the focus so I'll keep it very brief. We had a situation in our room with roaches, and a rude front desk associate (different person from the one that had checked us in). Dealing with roaches in a hotel room is bad enough on its own! But the real dealbreaker for me was the attitude of the nighttime front desk associate in helping us alleviate the problem. I've never received such awful service like that in my life at a hotel. That's the type of thing I'd expect from a seedy roadside motel, not a fairly new property in Charleston, SC.

     Priyanka and I were up a lot later than we anticipated that night, and I was immediately so stressed. How on earth was I going to continue through with my end of the collaboration after this experience? I was so turned off by this situation- and had this not been a blog trip and I'd paid for the hotel room myself, I would've automatically given this hotel a 1 star Trip Advisor or Expedia review, no questions asked. I make a promise to readers of my blog that all collaborations I share here are my 100% honest opinion. I never pretend to like things just because I'm getting paid or receiving something complimentary! But I also live by the belief "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say it." Me publishing a blog post about the hotel that detailed this negative incident wouldn't have fulfilled my end of the collaboration at all... but at the same time after that happening I didn't know how I could possibly give them a positive review. Let's just say I was quite stressed falling asleep that night- I'd never had such an awkward situation with blogging before. I'm also not very good at handling conflict situations- I often get really nervous when I had to advocate for myself.

  
     The next day, on my way to one of the wedding events, I was able to meet briefly with the hotel marketing manager (who was the one I had emailed my original pitch to). She was aware that we'd had roaches in the hotel room, but was unaware of how the staff member from the night before had poorly handled the situation. I calmly explained it to her, took a deep breath, and then requested that I not share the work that I had originally promised to do for our collaboration. I told her how important it was for me to share honest yet positive reviews on my blog and social media, and that after that experience I didn't have many positive things to share, nor any sort of recommendation to give my readers. I was so nervous for her response- but she kindly said that she completely understood! She would rather me forego sharing the intended travel collaboration altogether. I was so relieved- I thanked the marketing manager for her kindness and understanding in this awkward situation. I was also proud of myself for being able to articulate my concerns well to her!

     I am still bummed how things turned out with the hotel. Not only was I originally so excited to share this collaboration with y'all, but it would've looked great for my blogging resume/media kit to say I had partnered with a Charleston area hotel! So I definitely lost something on my end too. Ah well- honesty is still more important to me overall, and if I couldn't recommend something in my personal life I'm not going to recommend it here. 


     If you're a fellow blogger, I hope me sharing this story today can help you if you're ever in a similar awkward situation with a collaboration! Or if you have dealt with something like this before, feel free to share in the comments how you resolved it. 


     Enjoy your Thursday!! I'm off to DC for the weekend tomorrow after work, and will have a new blog post for you on Monday.





     God Bless,


      xoxo Annaliese 











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6 comments

  1. Oh my goodness you handled this situation perfectly. I completely agree that I would never be able to give a place a good review if I didn't have a good experience. Honestly is so important in blogging and life in general.

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  2. Omggg you handled it so gracefully!!! I cannot wait to head to Charleston soon!

    www.mollyonthemoveblog.com

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  3. That does sound tough! So when you do a collaboration, are you contractually required to only say positive things? Why couldn't you post about the incident in your review? That really makes me question other collaborations, if only good things are allowed. Who might actually hate the food/product/place they're reviewing, but lie and give glowing reviews just for the comps/perks/money?

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  4. Ooo! So awkward! I’m so glad you stood up for yourself and they were understanding. I can’t imagine finding a roach in a hotel room!

    Http://moosmusing.com

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  5. Definitley an awkward situation. Glad both of you came to an agreement on how to handle it!

    I visited Charleston a few years ago and so loved it there! Such a beautiful city, wish I lived closer!
    Ellibelle's Corner

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  6. I think you handled it really well! I always wondered what would happen if I were to ever be in that situation. Even though it's not ideal, I'm glad that they were understanding and I think you handled i with grace <3

    Lizzie
    www.lizzieinlace.com

    ReplyDelete

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