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Kelowna wine tour business strikes back at 'influencers' seeking free rides

FILE PHOTO - Krystina Rossworm
FILE PHOTO - Krystina Rossworm

A Kelowna winery tour operator says if you don’t have a massive online following and the money to back it up, you can skip the free tour.

Krystina Rossworm, owner and operator of Beach Bum Tours, said she gets requests from influencers about once or twice a week for free tours.

More recently, a photographer from the U.K. with 2,000 Instagram followers reached out, asking for a free tour, she said.

“You’re a photographer, you should know better, you know how many people reach out and say ‘why don’t you take my picture for free for exposure?’”

She’s only given out one free tour in exchange for exposure, she said, and that was with Kelowna interior designer and influencer Jillian Harris.

“Now that’s my threshold of influencers,” she said. “It brought me in probably $30-to $40,000 that week. That’s the kind of influence I want.”

Harris also has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, she said.

READ MORE: The Okanagan's most fun touring company - Beach Bum Tours

“I’ve even toured musicians and got nothing from it. To me, everything has to equate to money. I think I’ve built a pretty good name for my company now, I don’t need exposure.”

She joked about adding a $500 influencer charge out of frustration because of the people wanting to trade a tour for exposure.

“I’ve been saying for a while, the next influencer that reaches out I’ll have an influencer charge because even if I do tour them, they’re a lot of work,” she said.

“It’s all part of the business, I’m not the only one,” Rossworm said. “It’s just how it is, it’s influencer culture now.”

Is this an issue for your business? Let us know in the comments.

READ MORE: The Okanagan influencers making their mark on social media

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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