Like unleashed puppies at a doggie park, more workers are discovering life as digital nomads. The newly freed global workforce has hotel brands rethinking their short-term business models. The hotel-as-office “workstyle” is gaining investment buy-in. Is this a short-term reaction or long-term movement? The answer lies in our human nature.
Human Nature Hasn’t Changed
People have been explorers from the beginning. Whichever beginning you choose to believe in. It doesn’t matter.
It’s an exploration to find a happy place. A place to call home or home for awhile. Once we find a happy spot, we tend to stick around. To discover our special place, we must travel.
Human history depicts a strong desire for travel in lockstep with also finding a home base. People leave one place and take root somewhere else.
There are exceptions. Some prefer to always be on the move without a permanent address True nomads, vagabonds. Or, others that don’t want to explore/travel at all.
What can travel companies glean from history? Assume it will repeat itself.
Bets On Youth Movement
Younger people will travel more especially with remote work. Some will travel for years going full nomad. Others will explore a spot for a week or month as a mental refresh while maintaining a home base.
We know this because Gitlab has been remote from inception. Darren Murph, Head of Remote, discussed during the Skift Global Forum recently that their employees follow a similar pattern.
The travel companies that can combine places to stay with meeting others to share experiences will do well in this future. Know why? It’s already been done. Ever heard of hostels? That’s basically what they offer at an affordable price.
The big brands are not after the gap year traveler looking to spend as little as possible. They’re after remote workers with disposable income. Think hostels on steroids. But, they still need to make it affordable with maximum value.
Go Big Or Stay Home
Where would you go with this new freedom?
Las Vegas is betting on its’ vices as a destination that’s an ideal work/play place.
The Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group is offering a “Work From M.O.” as a sort of ‘work-cation’ day. A day use-only option anywhere they have a property.
The Selina platform caters to anyone looking for travel lifestyles to mix business with pleasure. They have a “Nomad Passport” which provides such a style to explore the Americas, a bit of Europe, and the Middle East.
Expect to see more weekly/monthly subscription hotel stay models tested. Long-term success will depend on affordability and if the model is sustainable/profitable.
This is a mere taste of the options coming out. But, you get the idea.
Short-Term Will Feed Long-Term Changes
We’ll have to see which ideas stick and the gimmicks that fad into the ether. That’s how it always goes. The ideas that provide profits stay.
In the short-term, newfound freedoms provide a big bump of interest. People, especially younger workers, will explore becoming digital nomads. The travel companies should focus on getting those dollars.
This increased flexibility will undoubtedly lead more parents and childless couples to leave for a month or longer to escape colder climates. However, many parents with children are tied to communities via relatives, religious groups, schools, sports, etc. They won’t be keen to leave those roots for too long before returning. Digital nomads with kids without a home base will remain a small percentage of the population.
Retirees will continue the travel trends we’ve seen for decades. You know, the go-go years, the slow-go years, and the no-go years. Travel takes it’s toll physically. The older you get, the harder it is to travel. They too will have a home base and travel as able.
But, the true digital nomads will comprise the younger generations with more freedom to explore. And, the cycle of life continues to repeat itself.
Read. Plan. Travel. Repeat!
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