Why I am not a Dubai Influencer

My name is Shaun, and I’m not a Dubai Influencer. And that’s a good thing.

I don’t call myself an expert either. Because if I have to tell you, then I’m clearly not.

What I am is a traveller, a helper, an educator, and (hopefully) an empowering inspirer.

I’ve spent the vast majority of each year away from home travelling.


Why I'm not a Dubai Influencer

Why I’m not a Dubai Influencer



I’m not a ‘Digital Nomad’ either

Unlike some of these so-called digital nomads, I have lived rough in places such as :-

  • 4 months in a tent in a Kenyan National Park
  • a six-week expedition through the Empty Quarter in Saudi Arabia
  • 2.5 months on the shore of a Belizean Caye
  • 3 months in a cabin on the 2nd highest mountain in the Falkland Islands

It’s not all roughing it though, as I’ve managed to attain Elite status (Platinum, Diamond etc.) in most major hotel loyalty programs. Some years, I’ve stayed more than 200 nights per year in hotels.

Safe to say, I know hotels.

I’ve achieved high-level status in airline loyalty programs – often due to working ‘on rotation’ worldwide – along with several hundred thousand points and miles.

I’ve flown First and Business Class for free many, many times. I’ve been upgraded even more times, often discretionarily (i.e. without asking)

  • Safe to say, I know business travel.
  • Safe to say, you could call me a ‘Road Warrior’. I know what it’s like to live and work on the road.
  • Safe to say, I’ve never posed for a cliched photo of me in a dressing gown on a hotel bed.

So remember that, when you’re looking at the next so-called review from a ‘Dubai Influencer’ about their freebie ‘staycation’.

Think for a moment whose judgement you would trust….

  1. The article seductively showing a luxury hotel and all positive features, even if it’s exactly the same content as the last PR-driven fluff
  2. The article that points out the very same Dubai hotel – the design-led epitome of the luxury business brand – neglects to feature a working space or desk suitable for a laptop in any of its rooms or suites.

If you’re more interested in the latter, then you may like my content. I know hotels value their Elites rather than Influencers, even if PR & Marketers may not.

So why am I not a Dubai Influencer?

  • because I don’t chase freebies
  • because I produce my content for my audience, not myself
  • because I believe my content, my advice and my insights are more important than selfies
  • because my views count – I not only have an opinion, but I’m forthright too, and it’s based on experience
  • because I don’t compromise my traffic or audience to attain invites or ‘stuff’
  • because I believe visits/stays should be anonymous to get the truest experience
  • because it’s about assessing the operations side of a venue – what works, what doesn’t – rather than marketing or promoting
  • because I put myself in the position of a customer, not a passenger out for a free ride

If I’m not a Dubai Influencer or digital nomad, what am I?

  • I am a trusted travel writer – several million views on Quora for instance.
  • Though I don’t publish myself as a ‘travel expert’ (because many that aren’t, do), I’m often the first call for several Dubai personalities, celebrities and respected people to get the best travel deal for them.
  • I’m the founder and Editor of a Dubai blog that in less than 12 months, has traffic as good as the ‘main’ Dubai blogs that have been established for years.
  • I’m a travel hacker that hardly ever pays for flights, tries to always turn left on a plane, and enjoys elite benefits and free nights at hotels many times a year.
  • I am an experienced traveller – both business travel and leisure – that wants to help other travellers travel better (easier – cheaper – blingier)
  • I have a background in Project Management, process and Continuous Improvement. I have consulted with several hotels to improve service and operations shortfalls.

Because of the success and cachet of Eat Drink Stay Dubai, built on integrity and sound values, sponsored work does find its way to me. However, there is always full disclosure in all produced content to provide a clear delineation between reviews/opinions and advertorials/sponsored posts.

I hope that doesn’t mean I’m becoming a Dubai Influencer.