Iowan Uses Social Media to Travel the World

URBANDALE, Iowa –Most of us use some form of social media every day. One man from Iowa now uses it to help him travel the world.

The lobby of the Hotel Renovo feels like a home away from home for Zach Benson. "I'm a digital nomad. I live in Mexico, Korea and in hotels," he said.

Benson grew up in Iowa, but only returns on occasion. "I'm a TED speaker, Instagram influencer, hustler, world traveler and connector."

This time he's back on business. He is the founder and CEO of a two-year-old company called Assistagram.us. He said, "Think of it as your own personal assistant that's hyper focused on your Instagram account."

He works with hotels around the world, building their brand on social media, specifically Instagram. "It's about consistency. I always tell people to post one to two times a day, sometimes six times a day."

Now, he's collaborating with Hotel Renovo in Urbandale. "Every time we can collaborate with somebody who has a lot of followers already. It opens the door to a whole new set of potential guests," said Michelle Sparkman with Heart of America Group.

Benson's company uses its travel pages with thousands to millions of followers and gives shout-outs to destinations. Benson showed a recent post on one of his accounts about Hotel Renovo that had more than 6,000 likes in just a couple days. “Then we actually create a social media strategy, so they can do it themselves," he said.

Benson graduated from Urbandale High School in 2004, went on to Central College to study Spanish and health promotion and never imagined he'd be traveling the world doing this. "It was a lot of hard work. It was always a dream of mine to travel the world, to teach people how to make their business better, how to make their lives better. It's like a passion of mine. I love it."

That passion could expose new followers to his home state. "It must be really cool for some of his followers in other areas to see a hotel like this and think, oh wow, that's in Iowa. Because people outside of the Midwest have a really different view of what Iowa has to offer," said Sparkman.