From filmmaker to full-time traveler, meet Dann Sayegh (@isthatDann): a 28-year-old who has managed to create a life which involves getting paid to travel the world on a full-time basis. Today, he explores the planet while helping hotels create engaging content that attracts new customers and increases revenue. We had the opportunity of chatting with Dann to discuss his journey, and how others can forge a similar career and lifestyle.
Where are you from, and what inspired your passion for travel and content creation?
I’m from Lebanon – a country that embellishes the Mediterranean Sea. My passion for travel began after I graduated from college. My first big trip was to Italy and then I dreamed of doing more solo trips. After visiting Italy, I came back and started sharing my experiences online. I received some great feedback from my followers and they encouraged me to continue posting. Further inspiration came when a few of my posts went viral and got shared by large travel networks. This pushed me to post even more.
How many countries have you visited and which one is your favorite?
I have traveled to 10 countries, most of which are in Europe. My favorite one that I always love to return to is Italy. There is something magical about this place. Apart from the Renaissance, this nation is famous for its art, architecture, food, people, beaches and hidden gems – all things that I love!
What social media pages do you manage and what was the journey like with each?
I started my journey on @isthatDann. It’s my own personal account that I run but I don’t share any private info as it’s geared towards travel. Another account that I run is @myhotelscollection – it provides an opinionated voice on travel, driving conversations around sustainability, and showcasing local, luxurious and authentic experiences. My Hotels Collection pays tribute to family-run businesses and it supports local communities.
The third and final Instagram channel that I post on is the newly created @lebanonbyDann. It’s a network that I recently launched specifically for Lebanon, the country where I come from. Many people requested they would like to discover this country through my eyes, because on other big networks there is a lot of misinformation and misguidance being shared. This is how Lebanon by Dann was born. From the Mediterranean Sea, to sunny vibes, the best food, and most humble people, a country of lush greenery, snowy mountains, and spectacular beaches – Lebanon has it all!
How did you start creating content for hotels and how do you get more clients?
My first client was Myconian Kyma – a design hotel in Mykonos. I’m still flattered that I commenced my content creation career with one of the best hotels in Mykonos. After creating content for them, the audience engagement and bookings started to increase. I realized that “content” can make a big difference. The requests from hotels and brands then came in.
What type of content do you create for hotels and what tools do you use?
I try to recreate the moments that I have personally experienced, through captivating photo and video content. It’s very important to me to keep the work authentic and straight to the point. We also run the marketing side of things (if the hotels are interested) by setting up campaigns and strategies that guarantee the content is reaching the desired audience.
How does the content you create lead to higher engagement and revenue?
Whether it’s posted on our pages or created exclusively for the hotels, our work is always artistically driven. Of course, sharing the content across our network is more effective because when our work goes viral it leads to thousands of new visitors coming across our network, and this introduces them to the hotels we have stayed at. When the content goes viral, it boosts the hotel’s presence with large numbers of people getting interested in booking with the hotel. This, in turn, leads to higher sales.
One example of this was in Positano. While most travelers share standard sunset images from the hotels, no one had captured a photo that really reflected the beauty of the place. After my visit, I created this wonderful shot that I had in mind for weeks. Just minutes after sharing the shot, it went viral and many big travel pages started reposting it. When guests are asked how they heard about the spot, they often refer to this one photo.
What are some of the most amazing hotels you have stayed at and created content for?
Soneva Fushi, Capri Tiberio Palace and 7132 Hotel make up my favorite hotels. Soneva Fushi in the Maldives is one of the top luxury resorts in the world and is leading the way in eco-luxury accommodation – with an unparalleled paradise on offer that has everything: barefoot luxury and a sustainable ecosystem of lush jungle, pristine beaches and crystal-clear waters. Soneva Fushi is the definition of “sustainable luxury”.
Capri Tiberio Palace in Capri Island, Italy is an icon of style and service. This luxury hospitality masterpiece blends contemporary fashion, 1950s-inspired furnishings, vibrant textiles and bold pops of color. This is literally Capri’s most luxurious hotel and staying here was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
7132 Hotel in Vals, Switzerland was another incredible experience. Spa and architecture fans will appreciate this hotel which was built with award winning thermal baths designed by architect Peter Zumthor. It’s a lovely hideaway and an architectural work of art, part of the prestigious Preferred Hotels & Resorts group that reflects the art of the host and perfectly pairs design with nature. Additionally, their 7132 Silver Restaurant was awarded with two Michelin-stars and 18 Gault Millau points – run by Chef Mitja Birlo.
Can you provide tips for other content creators who want to start working with hotels?
Working with hotels isn’t something that comes easy or hard. It all depends on you. Firstly, you need to have a portfolio. The portfolio could be your Instagram account or any media kit that showcases your work as a travel content creator to the hotels and brands that are interested. Indeed, the hotels and brands will look at your previous work as an example of what to expect when working with you. Do your best to create a stand-out portfolio!