Creator Jaquory Lunsford Talks How Travel Influencers Can Utilize Airbnb
By: Alyssa Jorgensen
As social media continues to open up a wilderness of possibilities for creators, influencers and brands to share their work with the world at the click of a button, the demand for instantaneous and consistent quality content creation is now essential for survival.
Jaquory Lunsford, powerhouse social media creator and influencer with a garnered reach of 61.2K+ followers on Instagram alone, knows a great deal about producing massive amounts of distinct and original content. At 21-years-old, he is an accomplished photographer who has already shot for some of the top millennial fashion houses in the world: Urban Outfitters, Brandy Melville, Pac Sun, and Aéropostale, to name a handful.
Lunsford belongs to a community of young and ambitious creators and influencers on Instagram who have made the endless-summer-esque wonderland of a Teen Vogue photoshoot their reality: his Instagram feed tells an ongoing story of California models frolicking around trendy spots in Los Angeles and Orange County, clad from head to toe in the brand-name apparel most every teen to twenty-something woman wants in their wardrobe.
The lifestyle is as it seems — picture perfect — but many wonder how young creators like Lunsford can fund an existence lavish with beachfront views, infinity pools, and European vacation homes, while also juggling multiple projects at once for elite brands.
His secret? Airbnb.
Lunsford spoke to Influencer News exclusively on the ways in which creators, travel influencers, and photographers alike can utilize Airbnb's online hospitality services for their advantage:
1. Airbnb offers "pre-curated, unique" environments for on-the-go shooting
For the run-and-gun lifestyle of a creator, constantly traveling and shooting content, renting out an Airbnb for a shoot can work as a 3-birds-one-stone strategy. That is, the spaces have already been interiorly designed, and the online service offers an infinite amount of spaces with diverse aesthetics, architectures, and vibes within different communities to choose from.
"The places you rent off Airbnb already have their own histories and stories and have held life," Lunsford said. "Most Airbnb’s are awesome and unique on their own, and it basically takes out one-third of the struggle as a creator during the shooting process when you can find a pre-curated location."
"I’ve used Airbnb rentals on multiple occasions for doing shoots for brands," Lunsford added. "One that really stands out was when a group of five influencers and I stayed in this beautiful Airbnb in Point Reyes for two nights. We ended up creating content for seven-different brands -- each brand uniquely different on its own -- in one location. We used both the area around the Airbnb and the interior of the house itself to knock out seven different campaigns. That’s pretty amazing."
2. Airbnb offers stunning, affordable alternatives to high-budget shooting locations
Airbnb is known and lauded for its affordability among young adults. For a creator in particular, booking with and shooting at an Airbnb is one economical, strategic alternative to booking high-budget shooting locations.
"I’m a young millennial with an income that is not disposable," Lunsford said. "[Airbnb] offers an alternative to the ridiculously expensive shooting locations I can't consistently afford."
Lunsford particularly recalled his favorite and most economically-friendly Airbnb from his business trip in Europe over the summer of 2016: a two-story, naturally-lit loft in the center of Edinburgh, Scotland.
"Imagine every morning wanting to be up before the sun so you could make coffee and watch the light come up through the skylights, that's what this space was like," Jaquory said. "The place had this very soft, opal tone with four huge skylights over the kitchen area, a light yellow rug that was probably from the 70’s, and all of the furniture was crisply white. It was so wonderful, like a breath of relaxation."
"And, the best part -- it was super cheap to stay in," Lunsford continued. "There were eight of us, four bedrooms, and it was both a place and an experience. For four nights, it cost me $170 for the entire stay. We got to live there, work there, and have a central, homey place to stay in the city."
Another favorite of Lunsford's was the Hilltop Desert Estate located near Joshua Tree, CA. The price for a view of the entire Coachella Valley, four bedrooms, four baths, a gigantic pool, and a covered patio with an outdoor fireplace: $500.
"The Hilltop Desert Estate is this beautiful home with an amazing pool, and around thirteen influencers and I spent one night there while we were working with four different brands," Lunsford said. "We shot both photo and video content from sunup to sundown. I got to shoot for one of my favorite brands, Birksun, and their solar powered charging backpack matched perfectly with the desert vibes. We could see the windmills spinning in the distance, the entire Milky Way at night, and it was just beautiful."
3. Location, location, location: just as important, if not more important, than subject or outfit
As a lifestyle photographer working within a unique genre of his own making -- a mix of boho-travel-chic lifestyle photography with the composition of street photography -- the subjects of Lunsford's photographs are all demographically similar: "twenty-something, energetic, amazing-looking" female models. Diverse Airbnb locations, therefore, help him tell different stories despite this homogeneity.
"I love to create with the same kind of people," Lunsford said. "So, I end up hitting a hard place where I can only make a person look so many different kinds of ways. Location plays just as much in terms of the vibe as the person itself."
"Location is underrated," Lunsford continued. "Location dictates a lot of what happens when you shoot, and people are more than just a colorful background. Their personalities show in the places that they are."
4. Airbnb can foster lifelong business connections and personal friendships
Unlike hotels or many location-specific shooting spaces, Airbnb connects its parties on a personal, first name basis. For Lunsford, fostering connections via Airbnb has not only provided him with lifelong business connections, but has also afforded him great deals with certain Airbnb owners.
“If you're smart enough, you can ask for someone's Airbnb in exchange for content, for instance, offering to update their photos on their Airbnb accounts in exchange for lodging," Lunsford said.
Lunsford has connected with many Airbnb users over the years and has traded his services for their hospitality. One relationship he specifically mentioned was with the owners of the famous Joshua Tree House.
"Sara and Rich, the owners, live out in Joshua Tree with this awesome late-eighties Range Rover and own an extra house there that they rent out. It is highly curated by them and it is beautiful," Lunsford said. "We follow each other on Instagram, and the owners are like, 'If you ever need the space, let me know. All you have to do is shout us out in your story whenever you visit.' They’re awesome, wonderful people."
5. Airbnb can provide the comfort of a home while traveling
"When I last visited Europe, I spent a lot of time in Airbnb houses." Lunsford recalled. "Just as much as they are great for traveling, they are great for working. If I’m in full-time shoot mood, I’m traveling almost everyday. An Airbnb feels like a home. It’s great being able to stay there and not just shoot there. For me, it’s unreal getting to feel that comfort."