The pandemic may have dealt the hospitality industry a big blow, but it’s also bringing hotel owners new opportunities. Consider the digital nomad lifestyle. It’s nothing new, but it did gain popularity due to pandemic-induced remote work lifestyles. Statistics show the number of Americans who consider themselves digital nomads has grown 112% since 2019—to 15.5 million. Hotel owners can get in on this trend by making their properties attractive as nomad housing.
Just over half (52%) of digital nomads cite finding reliable WiFi as one of their top challenges—and 42% say finding a suitable place to work while traveling can be difficult. Hotels that offer these necessities are more likely to draw digital nomads to their properties. They also build a loyal customer base who return for weeks at a time.
This guide explores who digital nomads are and how you can leverage your resources to tap into the nomad housing market.
What is a Digital Nomad?
A digital nomad is someone who works remotely—either part-time or full-time—while trotting the globe. Unlike remote workers, who have moved from a business location to a home office, nomads travel from place to place.
They often work in public libraries, coworking spaces, hotel rooms, and coffee shops. Their “mobile office” is their laptops, smartphones, or tablets.
The nomad lifestyle offers flexibility, freedom, and adventure. Nomads can choose their schedule and travel time. They can also blend work days with play instead of waiting for the weekend or their annual leave, also known as bleisure.
Since they aren’t limited to a specified two-week leave period, they can arrange long stays for a few weeks or even months. While many like to globe-trot alone, others prefer joining digital nomad groups. A key requirement for any nomad is good housing that caters to their needs without blowing their budgets.
What types of hotels and housing do remote workers look for?
Business travelers and holiday-goers prioritize different things when choosing accommodations. The digital nomad, however, needs a blend of everything. They generally have a list of deal-breakers and will quickly look for other housing if your facility doesn’t meet their needs.
While some nomads prefer traditional hotels, others are drawn to options with specialized experiences, co-living scenarios, or entirely independent apartments. Regardless of the building layout, there are some non-negotiable features.
Private & communal workspaces
Ideally, you want to offer communal workspaces and in-room work areas. To cater to the digital nomad, your facility needs:
- A variety of seating options, including lounge seating and desk areas with access to electrical outlets
- Dedicated communal work areas separate from social areas
- Good lighting
- High-speed uncapped Internet
- In-room work desks and task lighting
- Various charging options, including USB outlets
- A printing facility
- Optimal temperature regulation (heating and air conditioning)
- Easy access to coffee and refreshments
Virtual meeting spaces
Digital nomads are often part of a bigger international team and will need to engage in conference calls. Areas to accommodate this can include soundproof booths as well as bookable conference rooms with AV equipment and projectors.
Offer open and inviting social spaces that are separate from work areas. This lets guests socialize or relax without leaving the property. It brings play and work together—exactly what the nomad craves. It also makes your facility feel less like an office and more enjoyable.
What the digital nomad lifestyle means for the hotel industry
Digital work trends aren’t going anywhere. When you cater to work nomads, you simultaneously cater to guests who travel purely for business or wish to incorporate a few days of leisure travel after their work trip.
Many nomads opt out of hotel lodging because of the lack of long-term stay discounts. Extended stay properties that offer monthly and daily rates have a great advantage in this area.
Nomads aren’t looking to splurge on luxury accommodations; they want to match or decrease their home living expenses. If they get a discount for a few extra days, they will generally stay longer to get the discounted rate.
To fully tap into the nomad mindset, offer a package that includes their tech needs in your pricing strategy. You can also offer add-ons for adventure activities, in-house catering services, and additional in-room tech equipment such as an extra monitor or a printer.
Multi-location hotel groups can offer corporations a rewarding package deal. Many digital nomads work for a company, and some of these businesses contribute to employee expenses.
Hotels can take advantage of this by speaking to employers directly and offering corporate rates to lock them in. Not only can this bring your hotel group more travelers, but you can also leverage this to host team getaways or conferences.
Quick tips to encourage digital nomads to stay at your hotel
Digital nomads choose this lifestyle because it allows them to have regular adventures instead of living an eight-to-five humdrum. The lifestyle does, however, come with its challenges.
Logistics and travel are exhausting, living out of a suitcase can be limiting, and there’s little guarantee that each new remote “office” will have all the amenities they need. Plus, getting sick in a foreign place is never fun, and replacing broken or lost tech items can be frustrating and costly.
To set yourself apart, ensure that these uncertainties are taken care of, and guests know they can find support easily. Additionally, offer guests unique experiences to tick off their adventure needs.
It’s noteworthy that many American digital nomads travel within the U.S. only. Offering mid-week specials, day rates, and subscription plans can cater to remote workers' varying needs and hybrid workers who aren’t completely exempt from office life throughout the year.
Stay ahead of the competition with effortless nomad housing integration.
There has never been a better time to tap into the nomad housing market and leverage hotel facilities for remote workers. While traditional business and leisure travelers will continue to come and go, digital nomads offer you the opportunity to make up for the pandemic and build a loyal customer base for long-stay returns.
Integrating and managing the needs of digital nomads could add complexity to your existing services. You can streamline your back-end operations overall by using a smart solution like Wrkspot that enables your team to manage back-end hotel operations, employee schedules, maintenance, and safety & security in one platform from anywhere at any time.
You can also problem-solve pressing issues and streamline task allocation in real time with the mobile or desktop app. Efficient, simplified workflows and on-demand reports mean reduced workloads, higher productivity, improved operations, and lower costs.
With Wrkspot’s easy-to-use mobile technology, you can expand your offering while empowering your team to provide a five-star service.