An influencer has revealed he’s earned a staggering £44,000 in just 18 months after being paid to nap his way around the world in luxurious hotels.
Alex Shannon, 35, who was born in London but is now based in Los Angeles, launched his Instagram account @followthenap over a year-and-a-half ago – and has since been inundated with messages from hotels, luggage companies, airlines, and pyjama brands eager to work with him.
While the influencer, who still works as an Editorial Director, isn’t yet a millionaire – he certainly lives that lifestyle and has stayed in the likes of the Four Seasons in San Francisco and Armani in Dubai.
Speaking exclusively to FEMAIL, he recalled some of his highlights and explained: ‘At San Francisco Proper, they made every single item on their breakfast menu for me to sample.’
‘At Beverly Wilshire, I was given over £36,000 of jewellery from Jason of Beverly Hills to wear (and photograph) during my stay. And of course I’ve tried the 24K gold cappuccino and Home Alone ice cream sundae!’
Despite what his social media pages may suggest, Alex, who boasts 14.5k Instagram followers, wasn’t born into wealth – but says he’s always been ambitious, creative and enjoyed luxurious experiences.
‘I’ve worked as an Editorial/Creative Director (both freelance and full-time) in the fashion industry for the past 10 plus years, and as such, oversaw a lot of social media and influencers marketing for major brands,’ he explained.
‘I realised that so many influencers create almost identical content and that there was a major gap in the market, and the potential to do something really unique, fun and tongue-in-cheek.’
Alex was keen to find an innovative and entertaining way to live his dream – and to share it with other people.
‘The idea for @followthenap actually came to me in my sleep (seriously),’ he explained.
‘I’ve always been passionate about sleep and it’s a big joke amongst my family and friends that I can take a nap anywhere and everywhere.’
Alex, who has always loved to travel, thought it would be a ‘dream come true’ to combine the two and get to experience (and rate and review) the most amazing and luxurious places to sleep in the world.
‘I took a chance to see if I could live the lifestyle I dreamed of and to also create something entertaining at the same time,’ he added.
And the influencer says he still finds it interesting that people assume he’s this ‘insanely rich guy who just travels for fun.’
‘While I’d love that to be true, the reality is very different,’ said Alex. ‘I still work full-time and do this on the side as a means to experience a lifestyle I wouldn’t be able to otherwise.’
In addition, the influencer says people fail to consider the work that goes into getting a great shot.
‘There’s so much planning involved,’ explained Alex. ‘You need the right location, props, clothing, photographer, lighting and perfect timing.’
‘There are always unexpected roadblocks – torrential rain, broken lenses, hotel mix ups or even unexpected desert animals – but adapting to those things becomes part of the fun.’
‘Once you get the shot, you still have to make selects, retouch, edit, write a great caption and then contend with Instagram’s algorithm.’
In terms of how much the influencer is paid to stay, he says it varies massively based on the client, number of posts and length of collaboration – but it’s a significant portion of his income.
‘Overall, I’ve likely been paid in the tens of thousands to sleep,’ he said. ‘Sometimes I pay for the stay myself if I know I’m going to get amazing content, other times the stay is paid for, and sometimes the stay is paid for and I’m compensated as well.’
He continued: ‘For me, the true value is in getting to stay in places that I would never be able to experience otherwise – and to share them with my followers.’
Alex has just partnered with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and visited their Paris property.
‘Their new Parisian Apartment is like nothing I’ve experienced anywhere else on my travels and definitely has the number one spot as the most amazing hotel suite I’ve ever seen,’ he said.
‘It’s the most luxury I’ve been offered. I arrived at my suite to find a table full of gifts: chilled pink champagne, fresh fruit pastries, flowers, designer aftershave, a hand-written note and a chocolate sculpture of the Eiffel Tower.’
He continued: ‘I was given a full tour of the hotel by the Marketing Team, and when I got back to my suite there was a cart filled with every indulgent cake and pastry that the hotel makes, plus more champagne.’
‘I also got to sample their various breakfasts, including their French, Tokyo and Hong Kong-themed offerings. I was also offered a personalised guide of things to experience in Paris during my stay. The service and level of attention was unbelievable.’
‘Another of Alex’s top hotel stays was Amangiri in Utah. Everything from the location to the design to the amenities to the service was absolutely exceptional.’
‘It was like heaven on earth! I’m dying to visit more Aman properties around the world.’
This article has been adapted from its original source.