In 2020, the business travel industry suffered huge financial losses when the coronavirus pandemic landed flights around the world and forced corporate America to replace business meetings outside the city with Zoom conferences and other forms of virtual communication.
However, with the pandemic entering its second year, the hospitality industry hopes to be able to return meeting the needs of two rapidly growing business populations: remote workers and digital nomads.
Last spring, many employers adopted work at home policies to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since then, several major companies, including Twitter, Microsoft, Salesforce and Spotify, have announced that their employees can work remotely on a permanent basis.
Some hotels are starting to take advantage of the trend to work anywhere, adding amenities for remote workers, such as dedicated workspaces, updated Wi-Fi, in-app services, Internet of Things tools and easy access to local services.
Meanwhile, citizenM, a chain of “affordable luxury” hotels with properties in North America, Europe and Asia, has launched a global passport signature service that allows digital nomads to move freely between its 21 global hotels.
“We certainly think that this new type of lifestyle will attract a certain type of person who also wants to combine their personal interests and passions. [with] not having to be too attached to a fixed location, ”said Ernest Lee, the company’s head of development and investments in North America, in an interview with TechRepublic.
The chain also offers a fixed-price corporate subscription that provides hotel rooms and meeting areas for remote employees who need coworking space.
However, not everything is work. Steven Schumacher, director of sales for the destination marketing organization Discover Dunwoody in Georgia, predicted that remote workers will increasingly mix business travel with vacations in the post-pandemic world.
“I think we will see these two worlds come together, as more and more business travelers choose to bring their families on trips,” said Schumacher. “The bleisure travel trend will become more prevalent.”
Thanks to the remote work revolution, many couples and families can now leave “bizcations” for weeks or months at a time, and properties that offer long-term accommodations, suitable for children and for work, may become more common.
“People are realizing, ‘I don’t have to go home, I don’t have to go to the office,'” Misty Belles, managing director of global public relations for the Virtuoso travel network, told National Geographic. “We are seeing almost how rental contracts, where they are staying in a hotel for two to three months. “