As the world undergoes a revolution in how we live and work, more people are blending everyday life with travel. The ability and desire to live and work from anywhere was once considered a short-lived opportunity at the beginning of the pandemic or something for young backpackers. Now it’s a permanent reality for millions of working Americans.
“This revolution really is about flexibility. Suddenly you can live anywhere, you can work anywhere,” said Brian Chesky, CEO of Airbnb at Skift Global Forum on Travel. He believes that this massive adoption of remote work policies is driving the most significant change to travel since the start of commercial flying in 1914.
What Travel Trends Have Already Emerged Due To Remote Work?
While 50-somethings and 30-somethings are currently leading the “live anywhere” trend, new remote-work policies at unprecedented levels mean that at least 36 million Americans have the potential to become digital nomads, according to Skift. Their calculations concluded that even if just six percent of the group chose to take more “workcations,” it would represent a $1 billion travel market.
1. Courting Laptop Luggers’ Wallets
Laptop luggers, or travelers who plan to work while away, planned twice as many trips over the 2021 holiday season. Companies are now vying for a share of their dollars as these spenders have an above-average buying power, were twice as likely to increase their vacation budget, and added three or more days onto their trip due to the option to remotely work.
2. Private Rentals Become Mainstream
While there have always been pockets of Americans who rented other people’s beach or lake houses, going on vacation and staying in a hotel has long been the norm. Resorts still account for most leisure lodging spending, but by the end of 2021, more than four in 10 travelers say they booked a private rental for the first time during the pandemic, and they say they plan to continue.
75% of people who booked a private rental for the first time say they’ll do so again, citing longer trips, home-like amenities, and extra space to work.
3. Americans are Traveling More
Even though Americans have much less paid time off than other countries, previously, they weren’t even taking it all. U.S. workers leave an average of 29% of their paid time off on the table. That tune is now changing. Sixty-five percent of those who have a fixed number of paid-time-off days are planning to use more vacation and personal days moving forward.
Additionally, most Americans say they will take advantage of remote work policies by booking workcations, with parents even more likely to increase this combo-style of travel.
4. Airbnb Trips Are Longer
Workers are seizing their newfound location freedom, setting up an office anywhere with reliable Wi-Fi. Whether that’s from a room in a summer-long beach rental with their families or an Airbnb at a bucket-list beach destination across the globe. In Q3 of 2021, 20% of all stays booked on Airbnb were for 28 days or longer, and long-term family stays grew 75% over the past two years.
It’s The New Normal
“The promise of travel is freedom and flexibility,” Airbnb’s CEO said. It’s not a surprise that those are some of the forces behind The Great Resignation as well. People are realigning and redesigning their lives to match their priorities.
Working in an office got demoted while people simultaneously promoted travel in their lifestyle hierarchy. Priceline’s research found 72 percent enjoy not having to go into the office so they could work from different locations. A recent survey by The Pew Center found that 60% of workers with remote-possible jobs would like to continue work from home full or part-time permanently.
If you’re looking to attract or keep staff during The Great Resignation work, location flexibility is an absolute must. Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed by Deloitte say they have come to expect more flexibility from their employers. In addition, Forbes reports that openings for remote jobs receive 2.5 times as many applications as other positions in the current job market.