Meet the Film Producer that Knows the Secret to Instagrammable Vacations
The Origin Story of Gary Kohn’s Luxury Travel Hackers
Last Updated: By TRUiC Team
Working in tandem with a variety of influencers, Luxury Travel Hackers provides curated vacations that customers can purchase directly through social media. “What we determined is that, you know, 80% of travelers choose their next vacation on social media, but no one's really leveraging that content and influence for booking. And so, you're presented with this trip ... that you're watching other people do that you can't do,” says Gary Kohn, one of the founders of Luxury Travel Hackers. It was this concept that drove Kohn and his co-founder Katie Warner to launch a startup that would solve this exact problem.
Dream Vacations Accessible Through Social Media
No stranger to travel, Kohn, a former film producer and actor, is a well-versed global traveler and Warner, his co-founder, boasts nearly nine years of experience in the luxury travel industry. Together, the pair has created a solution that provides customers the vacation experience of their dreams with the click of a button.
Anyone with a social media account has most likely seen an influencer on a dream-like vacation. Perhaps, you have even researched how to have a similar experience of your own. As Kohn says, “We determined that … people spend an average of seven and a half hours of additional research on multiple websites to build a vacation that was just presented to them. And so, we saw an opportunity to solve that primary problem.” Thus, Luxury Travel Hackers was developed to make dreamy, ‘instagrammable’ vacations easy to book using the power of influencer marketing.
The startup produces its own content with the help of prominent influencers in a variety of spheres. With influencers in tow, they travel to desirable, exciting locations where they do activities that are sure to entice a customer base of travel-hungry millennials. But, it isn’t all sunsets and relaxation, says Kohn, “So it's like we're doing the snorkeling with nurse sharks, and the cave canoeing, and the horseback riding to the waterfall, which all sounds really amazing, and to a large extent it is. But, we're up at 4:30 in the morning waiting for the sun to come up to get that beautiful drone shot over the property. And, at the end of the day after we get that last shot after dinner … we're downloading footage and uploading footage for the editors until 11 o'clock at night.”
Not only do the founders have boots on the ground, day and night, to capture the content needed to advertise the trip, each influencer spends time and energy creating the best content possible. “We shoot a lot of content. There's a lot of deliverables. There's a lot of stuff that we have to provide for our customers so they can see the actual experience,” Kohn says. “It is no picnic and no vacation at times.”
Building a Startup for the Millennial Market
Fortunately for the founders of Luxury Travel Hackers, millennials in 2018 spent roughly $200 billion on travel, with 33% of millennials budgeting at least $5,000 or more per vacation, according to The Wandering RV. Essentially, this means that not only are millennials spending money on travel, but they are also spending a moderate amount of money to make their vacations memorable and luxurious. Arguably, due to influencers on social media sharing their lavish travels.
In addition to this, Kohn says, “the interesting statistic, which surprised me actually was, in 2018, 52% of travelers were using travel agents. And in 2019, it was 64%. So the amount of people that are now just saying, you know what, it’s too many options. Let's let somebody else handle this for us.” Both statistics put the company in an excellent position to provide a service that, millennials especially, will find useful in a relatively untapped market.
The Next Destination
With the close of their seed round funding, the future for Luxury Travel Hackers in an industry shifting drastically after the pandemic is looking bright. But, how do Luxury Travel Hackers anticipate the industry to change amidst their launch? For Kohn, it is much more personal. “Responsible tourism sustainability. I think that the way that I've mostly traveled in the past has been really, I would say integrated. I like to really submerge myself into the culture and learn about the places that I'm going. So, I think that should be a really big focus for the industry.” He says, “I think it's made me a better person. It's made me more tolerant. It [has] made me more grateful. It's made me more understanding of what makes us different and what our similarities are.”
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