Photo: Bailey Zindel, Unsplash

Interview: Jeremy Jauncey, Founder & CEO, Beautiful Destinations

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Creative agency Beautiful Destinations has the largest travel community on social media, with more than 20 million followers around the world. Founder Jeremy Jauncey shares his tips on how to market your hotel and leverage social media for maximum impact
Jeremy Jauncey

When Jeremy Jauncey started Beautiful Destinations in 2012, Instagram was still in its infancy. Seven years later, the brand features a mix of original and user-generated content and is home to one of the world’s largest travel communities across Instagram along with Facebook and YouTube. It also provides services as a creative agency, and partners with many travel brands, including Marriott Luxury Collection, Hilton Hotels and Rosewood.

Click.: What do you think has been the most impactful change in the travel industry recently?

Jauncey: The tourism industry as a whole has changed dramatically in the last couple of years. People are seeking to explore neighbourhoods that are off the beaten path and combine this exploration with a seamless experience, whether through shared car services or cashless payment systems.

The goal for all of us in the industry is to channel these trends so that the positive impact of travel is not only felt by the traveller, but also felt by the communities they visit.

Click.: How can hoteliers adapt to these changes?

Jauncey: In today’s world, it’s very important to ensure that you are making the technology work for you. Source the technological solutions – including advertising to specific markets on social media – that will make your businesses more efficient and more cost-effective.

In many ways, technology provides a level playing field which can mean that smaller and more boutique brands can compete on the global stage in marketing and advertising that once was only possible for the largest and most sophisticated players.

Click.: Do you see a big difference in the travel styles of different generations?

Jauncey: Many people used to save up for their biggest travel experiences in retirement, but younger generations of travellers are foregoing buying a house or a car to instead spend their money on travel. This impacts the ways in which you reach and talk to your audiences.

I would not suggest hoteliers completely let go of traditional marketing practices

Click.: How can hoteliers balance marketing to their mix of customers when they make their travel choices so differently?

Jauncey: I would not suggest hoteliers completely let go of traditional marketing practices. Compartmentalising your budget according to where your prospective clientele spends most of its time is an efficient way to spend marketing dollars.

Unsurprisingly, the digital space is where most people virtually live today. More than 2.5 billion people use social media daily, and one in every five minutes online is spent either on Facebook or Instagram. What’s more, 90% of millennials use Facebook or Instagram to decide where to travel, and 59% say that watching travel video content inspires them to visit a certain place.

Click.: How should small hoteliers with limited time manage their social media pages more efficiently?

Jauncey: Your social media strategy can no longer afford to be an afterthought. There is enough research on the effectiveness of social media in marketing and advertising to have these conversations with your leadership teams. In the hospitality industry specifically responsiveness is key, and being able to address customer inquiries or complaints graciously and promptly are important to solidify brand reputation.

Click.: Do you have an example of a particularly successful social media collaboration that helped boost bookings?

Jauncey: Our first hotel client was the Burj Al Arab in 2014. They turned to us to increase their presence in key markets. Based on this goal, we handpicked top content creators, who were given a familiarisation tour of the hotel as well as of Dubai. The participants had a combined social media following of 12.3 million and everyone was simultaneously posting content throughout the trip, tagging the client’s Instagram account.

As a result, Burj Al Arab’s Instagram page grew from 4,000 prior to our partnership, to 65,000 by the end of the campaign. More importantly, they experienced a surge in online bookings year-on-year at a rate of 38%.

Click.: What should leadership teams be doing now to help encourage and promote these types of activities in their hotels?

Jauncey: I would encourage leaders in the hotel industry to use today’s technologies and social media as much as you possibly can. Sign yourself up for masterclasses, download the latest apps on your phone, actively engage with content to observe for yourself how algorithms work and how emerging audiences make decisions. Recommendations from your creative, marketing, and media distribution agencies will help, but will be more powerful and more effective when combined with a leadership team who actively embrace the mindset of the ‘digital native’.

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Hero image: credit to Bailey Zindel, Unsplash

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Changing trends mean hoteliers must adapt to new technology to survive
Leadership teams must actively engage with technology and social media themselves in order to understand its value and potential
You can no longer ignore digital, but traditional marketing practices still have value, too, depending on your clientele
Social media can increase your hotel’s profitability if everyone on your team, especially the leadership team, fully engages with it