Each month we chat to a different luxury travel expert, this month it is the turn of Alex Shannon the brains behind Instagram profile Follow The Nap. Read on to find out more about Alex and his thoughts on the luxury travel sector.
Please tell us about yourself and how you discovered luxury napping could be such a popular topic.
I’m originally from London and have been living in L.A. for the past 12 years. My career up to this point has been in editorial direction, copywriting and social media at various fashion brands. As part of that world, I saw the rise of influencer marketing as it started to become the crazy phenomenon that it is today and realized that nobody was really speaking to the lifestyle I aspire to… traveling and lounging in luxury! I decided to leave my job so that I could freelance, travel and actually try to live the life I had always wanted to.
I think the originality of the concept is what caught on so quickly and hopefully what makes it a popular and enjoyable topic for people. There are so many travel influencers, fitness influencers and fashion influencers but I might just be the very first one for sleep!
Why do you think people enjoy your content, what makes you stand out?
I think the uniqueness and how relatable the idea is. I’m never going to be the guy scaling a cliff face, hiking to some undiscovered spot or doing sunrise yoga on my vacation. I’m going to be the guy in bed hitting the snooze button until I can go nap on the beach, and I think a lot of people appreciate that they would do the same. As much as there’s definitely an aspirational aspect to my content, I always try to keep it tongue-in-cheek. I also don’t take myself seriously AT ALL or feel like I’m equipped to give motivational life coaching in my captions, which a lot of Instagrammers seem to.
Describe a typical day for you – if such a thing exists and how much of the day to you spend napping!
If I’m traveling, no two days are the same so I won’t even try to describe that in detail, but it’s usually a mixture of freelance work, shooting content and trying to experience wherever I am as much as possible. If I’m at home, I’m usually working from home, catching up with friends and definitely enjoying a catnap or two with my cat (she’s the best nap buddy ever).
Where has been your favourite place to wake up to so far and why?
There have been a few. I was absolutely blown away by Amangiri in Utah and it still occupies the top spot in my Nap Ratings. The scenery was just indescribably beautiful and everything about the resort—from the service to the actual rooms—was as close to perfect as I’ve experienced while traveling. I also loved waking up at Al Maha in Dubai just for the sheer craziness of opening your eyes to such a vast expanse of desert. A little closer to home, I love The Parker in Palm Springs and always wake up there feeling like a 5-year-old at Disneyland with so much to do and explore!
Where is still on your travel to do list and what appeals so much about this place?
I’ve always wanted to visit Japan—everything about it appeals to me, from the food to the culture to the fashion and natural beauty. It’s been #1 on my list for a very long time. Greece and Morocco are up there too, but I’m hoping to visit those later this year, fingers crossed. I also want to go back to Norway and spend some time in Iceland… so a lot of places.
Luxury means different things to different people, what epitomises luxury travel for you?
Service. For me, what defines a true luxury travel experience is the level of service at any given resort, on any given airline, etc. A well-appointed room and cool amenities are great but if the service isn’t up to par, none of that matters. That’s partially why I fell in love with Amangiri, Al Maha and The Parker—I felt like I could literally call the front desk at 3am and ask for truffle risotto, an alpaca blanket and a Siberian kitten to pet and they’d figure it out. Not that I ever recommend doing that!
How do you see the luxury market sector and social media evolving over the next 5 – 10 years?
I can only speak from my experience but I think both the luxury sector and influencer marketing are becoming insanely oversaturated and we’re going to see both becoming narrower and narrower in the next few years. Brands relying on influencers has, in my opinion, become really excessive and needs to be much more targeted and strategic to be effective. I also think people are going to tire of generic influencers who aren’t contributing anything original. I mean, how many blonde, tanned girls in floaty summer dresses looking out at the ocean with a caption like “Live. Laugh. Love.” can you have? How does a company looking to sponsor even distinguish between them? I would hope, somewhat selfishly, that originality will become more of a commodity in both luxury and social media.
What is the single best piece of advice you have ever been given and why?
It’s not a single piece of advice, but essentially everything my mum instilled in me as a child and continues to every day. To do what I love, to worry less, to be a decent person and to not base anything on what other people think.
You can follow Alex on Instagram