Traveling for work is nothing new. But since the pandemic, the ubiquitous business trip has seen a plot twist. With more people than ever engaged in remote work, many are enjoying the advantage of working literally anywhere that has wifi. That has thousands of guests combining work with travel in pursuit of new experiences and fresh surroundings in what’s been coined a workation. While your hotel may already have work desks and coffee in every room, is it enough to attract workationers over the competition? We collected ideas from hotels around the world to inspire you, from in-room must-haves to onsite essentials. Using our marketing tips, it won’t be long before workationers flock to your hotel.
There are two types of workations: those that begin with a business purpose—such as a conference, meeting, or sales trip—and incorporate or extend into a vacation (traditionally known as bleisure travel) versus trips taken by “digital nomads” who are free to work from any location (workation travel). The latter category has grown exponentially as of late due to the increase in remote work.
In a bleisure travel survey conducted by Expedia, trends reveal that in the United States alone, there was a 40 percent increase in bleisure trips between 2016 and 2018. Anecdotally, we know this number has grown by leaps and bounds recently. While remote workers come from across the business spectrum, including sales, manufacturing, education, and healthcare, the largest represented industry by far is technology.
Where are workationers going? Vacation hotspots like tropical locations and tourist capitals may seem like an obvious choice but, in fact, 88 percent of bleisure travel in the United States is domestic. In the United States, the average workation is just over six days long, with 59 percent of the time for business and 41 percent for leisure.
What does this all mean? In summary, workations are a growing trend. Domestic travel is favored due to business purposes but the digital nomad demographic is growing. Stays are nearly a week long, so it’s a worthwhile demographic to capture. Business and leisure priorities are nearly a split so marketing initiatives and hotel amenities must meet both objectives.
In-room Must-haves for Workationers
Appeal to workationers by offering room amenities that support their work. Spacious work desks, ergonomic chairs, and free high-speed wifi go without saying. With the majority of workationers in the technology industry, we can’t stress enough the importance of wireless charging stations and high-quality internet. This demographic will also appreciate smart rooms that may be tailored to their specifications from the comfort of their mobile devices, from lighting to room temperature to ambient music and sound.
Other factors that can help win over workation guests include high-quality pillows, linens, and mattresses, luxurious towels, and lots of complimentary coffee and tea—because their room is not just a place to rest their heads for a night. They need to feel rested and refreshed, ready for work.
If your hotel offers suites and kitchenettes, this is perfect for encouraging extended stays. If that’s not an option, it’s not a deal-breaker. Guests are visiting to get away from it all so sell the advantage of room service and your other onsite and nearby facilities.
Hotel Amenities Workationers Expect
Traditional hotel amenities go a long way to appeal to business guests, from workout rooms to room service, dry cleaning to printer service. The amenities your hotel already has need to be positioned in a way to appeal to the workationer. For example, if you have an onsite coffee shop, ensure ready-made meals are available for lunch or breakfast on the go. But as many of these types of amenities are standard across hotels, how can yours stand out from the crowd? Here are a few out-of-the-box ideas we’ve seen to entice more workationers to your hotel:
- Daycare or holiday kid club: allows families and single parents to enjoy a workation while keeping kids busy during work hours. The Bluefields Villas in Jamaica have really stepped it up with guests’ own dedicated staff, which includes a professional nanny!
- Doggy daycare or pet walking service: it’s hard to leave Fido at home but leaving him in a hotel all day isn’t fair either. The employees of the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge love dogs so much the majority participate in their dog-sitting and walking program.
- Lobby dog: those often on the road won’t be able to tote a dog around. Offer them the chance to hang with your hotel hound and take it for walks instead! Inn by the Sea in Maine has a wonderful program where a foster dog greets visitors—and if there’s a match, that lucky dog will go home with someone.
- Co-working space within your hotel: remote workers appreciate the opportunity to meet other digital nomads for networking, while others need people around to focus. The Hotel Schani Wien in Austria offers individual workstations plus shared spaces for making new connections. If you don’t have the space to offer this, perhaps a partnership with a local co-working space is just the ticket.
- Flex space for hire: for business meetings, zoom calls, or deep work.
- Networking cocktail hour: invite workationers for a happy hour to meet other business folks, like a recent event at The Aloft Hotel WXYZ in Tampa that offered free headshots for your LinkedIn bio!
- Host business talks: attract locals and guests alike to attend talks about general business topics, such as teamwork, stress in the workplace, or remote work best practices.
Workationers appreciate a personalized experience and we recommend a frequent-visitor program to encourage repeat bookings and make your digital nomad feel special. A guest CRM is essential on the backend to treat your guests like executives on the front end. You’ll be able to ensure their favorite newspaper is provided, for example, and greet them by name.
As the majority of workationers are from the tech sector, they’ll appreciate remote guest registration and check-ins. A keyless entry system will allow them to use their mobile phone to gain entry to their room—allowing them to bypass the front desk altogether!
We already gave a nod to smart rooms, but the versatility it offers guests to personalize their experience bears repeating. From voice control to tablet control hubs, these future hotel trends appeal to your tech workationer guests now.
Offsite Attractions with Workationer Appeal
Whether workationers are traveling to a destination for a work purpose or for a change of scenery, when Expedia asked workationers what makes a great bleisure destination, the majority agreed upon food and restaurants, beaches, natural sightseeing locations, weather, sightseeing, culture, and outdoor recreation.
In addition to marketing your onsite and in-room amenities, highlight your region’s attractions and your hotel’s proximity to them. Create workation packages that incorporate local activities, or offer add-ons that can be reserved during the booking process. Partnering with local tour companies not only helps your local economy but is a bonus for guests wanting to explore the area without the hassle of figuring it all out for themselves.
Marketing to Workationers
In determining your messaging, it’s important to consider who exactly your business traveler demographic is. Consider creating guest segments so you can tailor your messaging and offers. You may have solo workationers, those seeking a family vacation, or working couples getting away from it all—all from different generations. Boomers with side-line consultant work will have different priorities than older Gen Z’s who may be looking to combine daytime work with an active nightlife. Since the average bleisure booking can be upwards of six days, promoting extended stays is also worthwhile.
With more remote work available than ever before, the work-and-travel trend is poised for exponential growth. Think beyond your image of the average business exec to those who prefer to trade in their suit and briefcase for Bermuda shorts, sundresses, and walking shoes! Many hotels around the world are proving to workationers that work can be fun, exciting, and relaxing.
If all this talk of bleisure travel has you wanting to take a trip yourself, guess what? You can! With WebRezPro, you can manage your hotel from anywhere, anytime with secure mobile access to your property management system. After all, visiting other workation destination hotels is just good market research!