What remote workers want: Addressing the evolving trend of workcation in India

A majority of Indian travellers are game for workations - a combination of work and vacation, leading Ritu Mehrotra, regional manager, South Asia of Booking.com to identify what accommodation providers must offer to win over this segment of customers.

The pandemic has slowed travel across the globe, but as people experiment with new ways of working while traveling, the rise of the digital nomad is likely to accelerate.

As a testament to the evolution of the growing trend of workcation, 68 per cent of Indian travellers have already considered booking somewhere to stay in order to work from a different destination, as per the findings of Booking.com’s Future of Travel report. The trend has led to a shift in traveller needs, who now increasingly look to combine work with travel. As a result, accommodation providers today need to be agile in catering to the evolving traveller demands.

With homes and apartments offering work-friendly amenities to attract these valuable guests, as well as hotels and chains rolling out work-oriented programmes, many in the travel industry are already adapting to meet this trend. However, what travellers working from the road really want is quite simple: Steady Wi-Fi, a workstation, amenities catered to health and wellness, and home comforts.

Steady Wi-Fi and workstation: The backbone of workcations
When it comes to determining a suitable accommodation for a workcation, fast and reliable Wi-Fi tops the chart since it is the backbone of remote working. Location, price and a comfortable workstation are other considerations for travellers. Besides providing the service, demonstration of services across customer platforms is as important. For instance, Matthew Kepnes, author of popular travel blog Nomadic Matt and Ten Years A Nomad: A Traveler’s Journey Home, recommended accommodation partners to consider including a screenshot of a typical Wi-Fi speed test performed at the property. And it is a great way to get guests to notice their attention to this crucial detail.

Health and wellness: Icing on the cake
Change in lifestyle during the pandemic has put the spotlight on health and wellness, as a result of long screen times and being stationed at one’s home desk for a significant amount of time. In such a scenario, accommodation with accessibility to gyms, fitness clubs or healthy restaurants can have an edge in being the preferred choice for a workcation traveller. Additionally, for properties located amid natural landscapes such as hills or beaches, extending beyond just accommodation and supporting travellers with nature-oriented activities such as hiking can also drive deeper relevance and attraction for the accommodation. Travelling responsibly during the pandemic is also a strong concern, so having information about where guests can take Covid-19 tests could also be very helpful.

Digital nomads: Beyond backpackers
Digital nomads are very different from backpackers and business travellers. They are not necessarily driven by value-led accommodations and may not need services fit for a luxurious experience. The key to understanding them is to cater to their need for routine and focus on work. In their quest for routine and normalcy during their long stays, travellers on workcation may prefer home comforts, such as a kitchen to make their own coffee and breakfasts. Welcoming travellers by making them feel at home should be a key priority for accommodation providers.

Their journey – and work – continues
Despite the pandemic, there is travel optimism among digital nomads and others alike, where they look forward to collecting travel experiences and sharing them with their communities. The pandemic has seen travellers who normally stay in hotels gravitate to more socially distanced short-term rentals and explore unique accommodation and experiences. As enablers of travel experiences, accommodation providers have a key role to play in providing holistic and fulfilling experiences. And with the onset of the pandemic and ever-evolving travel behaviour and preferences, they must be able to quickly adapt to new traveller demands in a more meaningful way.

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