Interview Hannah Hopkins
We caught up with jet-setter Jeremy Jauncey, the man behind one of the world’s most popular travel inspiration accounts on Instagram, Beautiful Destinations. His incredible snaps have led to a successful career in travel and inspire millions of people to do the same.
You have what many would consider a dream job…How did you get into it?
Throughout years of business travel and personal holiday, I never felt that I had a go-to resource for travel inspiration. The way other millennials and I consume media is different – we’re very much visually driven and extremely active on social media. Traditional travel media sways more toward an older audience, and I knew there was an opportunity to fill the void.
Social media has always been an outlet to get my creative juices flowing. This, combined with my excitement for learning about different places and cultures while travelling, was my inspiration behind creating Beautiful Destinations.
Tell us about the evolution of Beautiful Destinations, how did it get started and how has it changed over the years?
Beautiful Destinations initially started as a passion project, but as travellers’ attention continued to shift from traditional media, I realised that our ability to create and curate the best social content held huge marketing value in the travel industry. The business grew organically as social media and consumer behaviour evolved.
Fast forward five years later to today, over 2.5 billion people (more than a third of the entire planet!) uses social media monthly. We have an award-winning creative agency that creates “social-first” content for travel brands and tourism boards, telling stories of amazing places, people and experiences. This content is incorporated into social as well as more traditional advertising campaigns as well.After gaining more than 15 million loyal followers in 180 countries around the world, we’ve grown to become the largest millennial travel community on social media. Positivity, inclusion, vibrancy and colour are at the centre of our brand, and we believe that the world is a better place if we get out and experience new cultures. Our focus this year is to continue to expand the Beautiful Destinations media brand to expand on ways we can be the source of daily inspiration for this global audience.
What’s the key to social media success?
Have a brand and stick to it. From day one, we’ve aimed to inspire our community with our beautiful imagery and videos. No matter what new technologies or social platform developments are introduced, we continue to stick to this mission and evolve the way we share our brand and capture content.
This word is always overused, but authenticity is so important. We’ve never sold sponsored content to advertisers, and you won’t find any ads on our social media. Our audience recognises and appreciates this, which is how we’ve been able to grow our brand and create success on social media.
Do you think social-first content will replace many of the traditional ways of advertising?
I don’t believe social media will completely replace traditional ways of advertising anytime soon; however I do see marketers drastically reallocating their budgets and giving social and content a much bigger piece of the pie than years past. At least they should be if they want to keep up with today’s media landscape!
You’re originally from Scotland, do you ever get homesick when you’re travelling so much?
The most difficult part of my job is not getting to see my friends or family as much as I’d like to, but I am extremely fortunate that I get to work with my brother Tom every day, who heads up partnerships for the business. He’s been my best friend since we were very young, and he helps bring “home” while I’m at the office or travelling.
Where should we be booking to go on holiday this year?
Every week on my personal Instagram I share destinations that people should add to their bucket list. Recent destinations I’ve highlighted include Long Beach in California, Mykonos in Greece, Dunedin in New Zealand and La Digue in Seychelles. Other destinations people should explore this year include Finland, Macao, Sri Lanka, Malta and the Philippines.
What have been your most memorable travel experiences?
-Watching the sunrise at the Taj Mahal
-Watching the Aurora Borealis in Finland
-Bungee jumping off the Macao Tower, the tallest commercial bungee jump in the world
-Swimming with the Exuma Pigs in the Bahamas and helping share their story about responsible tourism
-Swimming with sharks in Tahiti, Philippines and the Bahamas
-Visiting an elephant orphanage at Pinawalla in Sri Lanka
-Volunteering at the panda sanctuary in Chengdu
-Riding a quad through the Dubai desert
-Helicopter rides with extraordinary views in different parts of Asia
Do you have any top tips for surviving a long-haul flight?
Adjust your phone, computer and watch to the time zone you are landing in a few hours prior to take off, so you know the local time before you land. And have a teaspoon of organic honey! It helps you sleep 🙂
What’s the best short haul destination?
And the best long haul destination?
The one place everyone should visit once in their lifetime?
Finland to see the Northern Lights. It was one of the most magical experiences of my life.
Most romantic destination?
Santorini, Greece is up there on the list! There’s nothing more romantic than watching one of the most beautiful sunsets in the world in Oia with your loved one.
For people wanting to work in travel, what’s your advice?
You should be disciplined and prepared to work outside a normal routine. In many cases, having a 9-5 is a lot easier than an entrepreneurial schedule, decisions are made for you and there is a consistent pattern to your day. That is not the case when you’re out on your own and even harder if you’re juggling different time zones and flights. If you’re passionate about what you’re doing, you’ll make it work.
What are your next goals for your business?
Beautiful Destinations is continuing to work with new partners under its creative agency including the tourism board of California and Waldorf Astoria Hotels. Mark Zuckerberg mentioned recently on a Facebook earnings call that he sees video as a mega trend, same order as mobile, so we’re aligned with this sentiment and are putting more resources into our video capabilities and team.
A focus of ours this year is expanding our media powerhouse and creating more Beautiful Destinations original videos, like the “Let’s Go – Vancouver” video we launched on our YouTube channel this week. With today’s mainstream media dominated by negative and “fake” news, it’s important we remind everyone that the world is an amazing place if we get out and experience each other’s countries, cultures and differences. As U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said, “Travel has become one of the great forces for peace and understanding in our time.”
We’re also tapping more into the entertainment space. You’ll hear more about a Beautiful Destinations TV show later in the year!