Posted on Instagram by my friend Fernando Huidrobo – it’s too good not to share here too.
Spent a great afternoon today with my fabulous We Love Tapas team, showing them a new tapas tour route… the Tasting Triana Tour. This is actually something I’ve been doing myself for a few years, but thought it could be adapted for WLT. And I think it’s going to be a hit. I’m so fortunate to be working with Delia, José and Cinta and today their feedback, suggestions and enthusiasm about the tour were invaluable. Thanks guys! xx
So this came up for me again this week when I saw that a random food blogger (who had been in touch with me awhile back, suggesting they would like to write about my tapas tours – nudge, nudge, wink, wink) had actually landed a freebie tour with a corporate food tour company here, and were tweeting about them, as promised. And all of me went … ewwwwwwwwwwww.
You see, I’ve been getting requests like this for years. And while I know how most restaurants feel about such requests (they hate them with a passion) I wondered how other food tour companies felt. As in… hey, give us a free food tour for “exposure”. The “us” usually includes a friend or partner, since these people tend to be here on holiday, not for work, and think a promise of a blog post means they get to dine out for free. And to be honest, none of the bloggers who have asked for (or insinuated they wanted) a freebie has ever been anyone of consequence.
On the other hand, proper journalists always offer to pay for their tours – and rightly so – since they are here in Sevilla at the behest of their employers, and have a budget that allows for this. To wit I have been featured in some pretty top notch publications, including the Sunday Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, Lonely Planet, National Post, Telegraph Travel… to name a few.
Other times I end up “meeting” food and wine writers on social media – usually via Twitter or Instagram – and when I find out they will be visiting we will either meet up for a drink and tapa and a chat, or – if they want a full tapas tour – they offer to pay the bills if I would take them around. And you know what? This I don’t mind at all. Because I am already “connected” with these people, even if we haven’t met in person yet, and I want to spend some time with them. And they also respect that this isn’t my hobby. So if I am willing to spend an afternoon or evening taking them out, then at least they are happy to pay for the food and drink so I don’t end up out of pocket. Fair enough.
But some other food tour companies here obviously think offering food bloggers freebies is “good for business”. And who knows? Maybe it is. For them. But when I look at these random bloggers, and then I look at the people, serious food and wine writers, who actually respect my work enough to pay for it, I know which camp I’d rather be in.
Back in August 2013 I started my first Instagram account and called it @azahar, which as many of you know, has been my internet handle for a dozen years or more. Back then I didn’t actually think I’d end up using Instagram that much, which is why I opted for my “personal” name, rather than my “biz” name of Sevilla Tapas. Then last year I created a couple other Instagram accounts, @sevillatapas and @sevillatapastours, which were basically redirect accounts, because many people would refer to me on Instagram as @sevillatapas, since that original Instagram account had indeed become mostly about food & wine (and occasional cats pics).
Then in February 2016 I swapped names, taking @sevillatapas for my original Instagram account. But what to do with the @azahar name? One I personally identify with – in fact all of my blogs and webites have the word azahar in them somewhere. I didn’t want to stop using it, or worse, lose it. Well, as I was also starting on a new project – Azahar Gourmet Getaways – at the time, I decided to start using the newly renamed @azahar Instagram to promote that project, and so far it’s been working out nicely. I won’t start separate Twitter or Facebook pages for this project (yet) and, for the moment, it is simply being offered as a one of my Sevilla Tapas Tour options, even though it’s not specifically Sevilla-based. The focus is more on travel and cuisine throughout Andalucía.
Anyhow, hope to see you all on the @azahar Instagram too! 🙂