The world of travel and work has changed dramatically in recent years.
Many businesses have adopted hybrid and remote working models and, as a result, a new generation of travellers has emerged: digital nomads and bleisure travellers.
Bleisure travelers are people who combine business travel with leisure activities. Bleisure travelers may stay an extra day or two after a business trip to explore the city or region, or they may plan their business trip around a specific event or attraction.
Digital nomads are people who work remotely and travel frequently. They may work from different locations around the world, or they may stay in one place for a few months at a time.
Today, employees have more freedom than ever before to combine work with travel – and with 74% of employees reporting they feel happier when they work remotely, it’s no surprise that more businesses are going remote.
For hospitality businesses, there is a real opportunity to tap into this growing segment. With the help of technology, hospitality brands can create different concepts and experiences to cater to both the traditional guest and bleisure travellers – but understanding what today’s digital nomads want is key.
Some hotel brands are already ahead of the game. Recent years have seen several hotel groups create designated co-working spaces to appeal to the bleisure traveller, whereas others have updated rooms with work-friendly amenities to meet the needs of employees on the go. We’ve also seen traditional hotels rolling out extended stay brands to cater to those travelling for business (think Hyatt Studios and Echo Suites Extended Stay by Wyndham).
There has also been an increase in brands specifically targeting those combining work with leisure. Selina is a great example of this, offering a network of quality properties for guests to stay, work and travel indefinitely.
Above all else, bleisure travellers and digital nomads want flexibility and convenience. They want somewhere comfortable to work, high-speed WiFi, the ability to book and cancel trips easily, and amenities that enable them to work from anywhere.
For employees on the go, time is of the essence. Bleisure travellers don’t want to wait in long queues to collect their room keys or visit the front desk every time they have a quick question. Instead, they want convenience, speed, answers at their fingertips, and an easy check-in process that gives them quick access to their room. Hospitality businesses offering contactless check-in, smooth payment processes and self-serve checkouts will be the ones that most appeal to these types of travellers, providing them with the convenience they desire.
A great example of this in practice is STAYERY, which combines the comfort of an apartment with the top-level service of a hotel to offer extended stays that appeal to both leisure and business travellers. With a focus on design, local community, and an end-to-end digital guest journey, STAYERY is the perfect hub for digital nomads looking to mix work with play. Guests can mingle with like-minded bleisure travellers in communal areas, yet enjoy the privacy of their own apartment equipped with a desk and high-speed WiFi for ultimate productivity.
The world of business is unpredictable. When visiting an area for a conference, for example, an employee may choose to extend their stay by a day or two or take a client out for a last-minute lunch. Equally, a client may cancel, resulting in the need to call off a trip. Brands looking to appeal to those travelling for work should look to offer flexible booking terms that enable travellers to amend their stay with ease.
Modern operator citizenM has perfected the art of flexibility with its hotel membership mycitizenM+. Members can enjoy free late check-out, a ‘first in queue’ chat service and a guaranteed room in busy periods if booked 48 hours in advance – small touches that offer unparalleled flexibility and convenience for bleisure travellers.
According to Expedia’s 2023 Traveler Value Index, here are some of the most important aspects people value when booking:
The ability to get a full refund on cancelled bookings
Flexible policies to change bookings without fees or penalty
Enhanced and frequent cleaning methods
A contactless experience throughout the trip
Premium, first-class benefits and upgrades
Environmentally friendly policies
As well as convenience, digital nomads still want an experience that is unique. Gone are the days of the white-washed hotel room; in order to stand out and attract digital nomads, hotels should look to offer something a little different. Many digital nomads want to live like a local, so incorporating local elements (such as decor inspired by the local area) can be the extra touch that encourages them to book.
Many bleisure travellers also look for accommodation that provides a sense of community. Working on the go or travelling for work can feel lonely at times, so many prioritise hotels that offer co-working, meeting and community spaces in which they can work amongst other business travellers. Offering these spaces to bleisure travellers will ensure a brand stands out in the market.
The hospitality industry is evolving to accommodate the changing needs of digital nomads and bleisure travelers. By prioritising convenience, flexibility, unique experiences, and a sense of community, hospitality brands can thrive in this new era of travel and work, capturing the custom and loyalty of these forward-looking travelers.
In order to meet the evolving needs of guests and travellers, it’s crucial to have a property management platform that is customisable and flexible while ensuring all of the operational needs of a business are met.
Get the latest hospitality tech insights to your inbox