Monday, 6 August 2012

Why I won't be going to Butlins this year

Sometimes I mistake optimism for gut feeling.  I am a little childlike in my naivety sometimes, and I was apparently silly to think that I would be in with a chance of being picked as a Butlins' Ambassador 2012.

Yes, I went to Ireland in July and yes I am going again in August for a wedding, but both of these times are just Aaron and I.

So whilst the outsider may think "she don't need a complimentary holiday" - it couldn't be further from the truth.

My husband is a Police Officer so is not allowed any time off, due to the Olympics, and the same thing happened last Summer due to the London Riots.

So, last year we went to Butlins in December which more than made up for it.

We were going to do the same this year in September or October - I had told him I may be an Ambassador and in fact he posted the application form for me.

So busy with Aaron was I, I didn't post it myself, and it was given to him at Stansted Airport as we whizzed off to Ireland in July.

As it was in the same carrier bag as the bottle of milk Aaron had just finished, the red envelope dyed my application form (judging by the tweet I got sent).

I was impressed that he remembered to post it - but then he loved our trip in December as much as I did and is very conscious that (1) we haven't had a family holiday this year (2) Aaron loves Butlins and (3) it would be the perfect solution given my redundancy on 5th July.

Anyway, what has upset me is that the 40 chosen bloggers were notified by Twitter on Friday, with us sorry souls only getting the Dear John letter on Monday, like we are an after thought, which clearly we are.

It has had an ill effect on at least 3 of us, (one speaks out here) and is not the best Brand PR I have ever seen.

I went to ENORMOUS effort with my Butlins post last year, and at that time genuinely expecting NOTHING in return; but hey, that's what I got, nothing.

It would seem that everytime I love a brand, like REALLY love a brand, it does not love me back.  I wrote a total of 8 Butlins related blog posts as I was THAT impressed with the place.

Well it is yet another opportunity to focus inwards and love myself instead of expecting others to do it for me.

Good luck Butlins - was nice knowing you.

Liska xxx

P.S.

Anyone reading this, feel free to critique the letter we got:

Hi there,

Thank you so much for applying to become a Butlins Ambassador. You may have seen the chosen Ambassadors announced on Twitter last week and have probably worked out by now that you weren’t one of them. I’m so sorry to those of you who are disappointed – that’s the big downside to doing something like this, there will always be some disappointment along the way and I hate that.

I would’ve loved to have chosen everyone who applied to be an Ambassador but unfortunately it just wasn’t possible. We were originally looking for 20 Ambassadors - due to the high number of amazing mums and dads who applied, I spoke to the powers that be and got it increased to 40, but alas they wouldn’t let me have everyone L

For those who follow me on Twitter you’ll have seen what a tough job it was for me to choose. I had over 100 brilliant applications, so I hope you can appreciate that it won’t be possible to give everyone personal feedback on why they weren’t asked to join. But I wanted to say a massive, heartfelt thank you to everyone for their interest in the programme – it really means a lot.

It was also lovely to meet lots of you at Britmums and so great to see your enthusiasm about our brand. I hope this won’t stop you considering a break at Butlins and that you’ll stay in touch on Twitter and consider applying again next year.

I know lots of you are keen to get your hands on content for your websites, so if you’d like, I can add you to the distribution list for Butlins press releases. Please email me back and let me know if you’d like me to do this.

Thank you once again, it’s been lovely meeting and getting to know lots of you this year. I hope our paths cross again soon.

Kindest regards,

14 comments:

  1. I can't say I've ever been tempted to go to a butlins, but then again I don't really know what they have there. I know it's stupidly expensive for a British holiday. I personally am more of a sun and sea person so I like to put my hard earned pennies towards a holiday abroad. When I have holidayed in Britain in the past, I've always been a lover of Haven Holidays.Those Butlins Ambassadors would have to write a bloody fantastic review to make me consider going there.

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    1. Only just noticed that I never replied to you here. Sorry. When I wrote these Butlins posts I was in Ireland and some of them I wrote on my phone - my internet connection was via a dongle and my Mum only had 1 square metre in her whole apartment where I could get reception.
      I reckon Michelle Twin Mum will have a good go at convincing you with her posts, but I was already convinced by spending 4 days there last December.
      Thank you for commenting,
      Liska x

      Delete
  2. I know you're disappointed, and having been there at Christmas time alongside you I can thoroughly understand that. It was a brilliant resort and a great place for a holiday for families.

    I've got to say though that there have been plenty of opportunities that I've gone for and not got. And I never heard back from the company that I applied to, I just assumed that I wouldn't. The tone of the letter you've received is friendly and polite, and complimentary as far as I can see.

    I genuinely don't see how posting this is going to help your cause, or help with future work with other PRs who will check your blog?

    I honestly understand your disappointment, but maybe this wasn't the best way of going about dealing with it?

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    1. Hi,

      I can understand you coming at this from a glass half full angle (as I know you were successful in being chosen and I am very very happy for you, as I know you will do your blog, the company and your chosen resort proud). The standard of your blog is extremely high and a credit to you.

      Honestly, don't worry about me. I don't have a "cause" - this is not a begging "please re-think and pick me post". I am not expecting a U-turn.

      This is simply a post spelling out how I feel, warts and all. And I have kept the tone of it identical to how I feel, even disclosing personal things like my husband's job. It is an off the cuff BLOG POST about how I feel.

      I no longer write to please PRs.

      Yes, PRs check blogs, but I am not bothered.

      I haven't been approached by a PR in a long long time, and that's not what I am in it for.

      My You Tube #WordsHeard video makes that very clear.

      I am not disappointed as I want to be picked to do the next big bloggy thing (I often don't do those) - I am disappointed as I LOVE Butlins. I genuinely wanted to go. I genuinely wanted to represent them. I genuinely thought I could do a good job of doing so.

      And I have done, with having already written 8 free posts for them (at my own will).

      And with regards to the letter, yes it may be complimentary, friendly and polite but I can also list 10 things wrong with it.

      Liska xxx

      Delete
    2. Thank you for replying fairly, for understanding what I meant, and for being complimentary about my blog; you didn't have to say that at all lovely.

      If you don't work with PRs then it's no problem, and it's good that you've got it off your chest. Just think that where one door closes, another one opens. I'm sorry to read about your redundancy.

      Delete
  3. Ooh I feel your pain about the 'dear john' letters coming days after the 'congratulatary tweets'. I guess it was nice of them to email at all, as was pointed out, some do not bother at all. I've never been to Butlins and would have like to have been an ambassador also, oh well maybe the other blogger's reviews will spur me on to book a trip anyway : )

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  4. After reading through your post, a few things stood out for me. I think it was wrong to rely on being chosen so you could get your free holiday. Plenty of people don't even get the chance to go away once let alone twice in one year, but the Olympics are only on for a month and a half, plenty of opportunity to get away outside of the Olympics.

    Regarding your tots getaway, I wouldn’t say you got 'NOTHING' out of it, tots members were given a heavily discounted rate to stay there last December, which they didn't have to do.

    Your post certainly reads like you only did those 8 posts to get a free holiday, something which I am sure you weren’t asked to do, but expected to be chosen. Plenty of applicants, with originally only 20 places available, but they extended it to 40, pretty good of them I should say.

    By saying that you have done 8 free posts, you chose to do that hoping it would guarantee an ambassador spot, and when you haven't got one, saying it was nice knowing them is a little childish.

    Butlins do a lot for the parent bloggers out there, but they will never be able to please everyone, I would say they don't even need to rely on having ambassadors as they are big enough and popular enough on their own.

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    1. I found your reply so interesting I dedicated a whole post to you.

      Shame you are not sure enough of yourself to put your name to your comment, but it is okay as a little bit of common sense and a dowse of dowsing has told me who you are, as if it is not obvious enough already.

      I think you now know the inaccuracies in what you've said.

      Enjoy your holiday.

      Delete
  5. As a blogger who was selected I am sorry you didn't make it through Liska.

    I never expected to, I put my name down because having attended the TOT 100 xmas party also, I felt Butlins had really moved with the times since I went as a child, and knew it would be a great place to take my children. Afterall, it is geared for children, and any holidays I take for the next few years will be focused on what they will enjoy doing. I admit, I was very pleased to see my name on a tweet on Friday telling me I had been chosen. It may seem unfair that the good news was dished out first, but that is common practice and I think it was nice of Katie to send an email of commiseration round to the 60 odd bloggers who were not selected. I have entered many competitions in my life, and with the exception of job interviews, I dont think I have ever had a reply telling me I was unsuccessful. Plus it wasn't a standard letter, I think she wrote that herself which I also think means a lot.

    I think that for whatever reason, this year to be a Butlins Ambassador was not to be for you and it is a shame as writing 8 'free' posts about your love and passion for Butlins, shows your enthusiasm.

    I think you have written a very honest and to the point post here, and sadly I don't think it will win you any favours to be successful another year, but then as I see you told TheBoyAndMe you dont want to win any PR brownie points here anyway. I applaud your honesty, I really do, but unfortunately, some things just aren't meant to be. BUT I don't think Butlins are necessarily the bad guys you are making them out to be either.

    xx

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    1. I received the same email, it wasn't personally tailored to each blogger, I got exactly the same email- it was also very similar bar the contacts name as last years. The fact Butlins don't make their terms clear on what constitutes the blog they wish to link up with isn't fair, and to allow Liska (and the rest of us) to believe we were a sure thing is also beyond the realms of polite and good business practice. They also continue to be rude towards those of us who have asked, quite rightly, for an explanation, and have received no such thing.
      None of us have any issue with those chosen, and none of us are making Butlins look bad- their behavior towards us does that all by itself.

      Delete
  6. Liska lovely, last year I was not chosen by Butlins and to say I was gutted was an understatement. I do understand where you are coming from, for me I was gutted as I adore Butlins, go every year for the last few years and I knew I could help to change opinion, so I was sad not to be given the chance. I realise it was not personal though and it is not for you either.

    Mich x

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    1. Mich, you are a blogger who I always admire for her honesty. Thanks for having my back on this one, in admitting you were gutted to.

      It is my blog and if I want to say I was gutted I can. If I want to say I don't think the letter's the best I can. And if I think it is out of order that we see the news publicly Friday but only get a letter Monday, I will feel free to express it.

      I am glad you are free in your expression too, as always.

      Although I can see what you mean, in that it is not personal to us as people, I think it is personal to our extended persons, if we class our blogs as an extension of ourselves. In that, our blogs were examined in making the decision.

      I don't know what criteria one needed to tick in that exercise but my blog clearly didn't cut the mustard.

      Having my blog the way I want it, means more to me than a free holiday, so c'est la vie.

      Liska xxx

      Delete
  7. Believe it or not, Butlins:TheBlog (our blog) can't be ambassadors either... because me and callum are 14, and 18 and neither of us have children. :/

    (Jake)

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  8. That is so cool that you can actually be an Ambassador for Butlins, I'm sure you could try again

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Drop me a line, and I will visit you right back - as soon as I get chance. Thanks for your comment.