If you run a hotel, or any other form of hospitality business for that matter, you have probably heard the term ‘workation’. Yes, it’s one of those irritating terms that have sprung up over the past couple of years, and basically means a working holiday. But times have changed and millions of us are suddenly faced with the possibility of taking extended trips, or even travelling the world (Covid-allowing), while continuing to do our regular jobs remotely.
It’s no surprise then, that the trend for workations is on the rise and that hotels around the globe are starting to respond with tailored products and packages specifically for this market.
Here’s what you need to know about workations and what you should be doing to meet demand for accommodation and services that tick the boxes for workationers.
What is a workation?
If you love to travel, you will have probably become pretty frustrated at the lack of opportunity to do so over the past couple of years. In fact, you’re probably frustrated by the lack of time you have available to travel because of work too. Aren’t we all?
Imagine an extended holiday where you still get paid and keep your job. Well this is exactly what a workation is. The only hitch being that you actually have to work while you’re away. It’s the opposite of that other highly irritating term that’s become so popular since 2020 – the ‘staycation’. Instead of taking time off work and staying at home, a workation is all about going away somewhere new and exciting, without taking time off work.
This type of travel has only really become a reality for many of us as a result of the rise in remote working that has come about due to the Covid pandemic. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released a study in summer 2021, which found that 24% of employers were planning to introduce more working from home opportunities for employees going forward, pandemic or no pandemic. The percentage of adults who worked from home in any capacity over the 12 months to May 2021, rose to 37%, up by 10% on the year before.
When you consider the proportion of people that do jobs that simply can’t be carried out at home, working from home has clearly become normalised among those who can. So, if you can do your work from home, surely you can do it from the Caribbean, or Majorca, or Shanghai, or even Liverpool or the Lake District right?
And, with Covid being a global event, this trend for remote working isn’t just happening here in the UK. Travellers from other countries will be coming to the UK for their workations and it’s up to you, as a hospitality business owner, to attract them in with tailored services.
What services do workationers want?
Perhaps most vital to a workationer is a good WiFi signal. Without strong and reliable access to the internet, a workation is never going to go well. Second, is a space to work. A comfortable desk is ideal and access to services like printing and scanning can be a real bonus.
Then there are the touches that help workationers enjoy their stay that little bit more. In-room dining options are essential to solo workationers, so offering an easy digital menu and ordering tool like Leslie, with food collected from the reception or kitchen when it’s ready, offers a fresh, easy and unobtrusive option for those who want hassle-free dining night after night.
Some hotel chains are introducing rates that are specifically aimed at those who work from home and want a change of scene. Remote workers can pay a rate to use a room for an entire working day, either opting to leave the room at the end of the day, or stay overnight. This gives people the chance to have a tiny taste of a workation, perhaps combining a day’s work with a day’s sightseeing or relaxing and using the hotel’s facilities.
The key to attracting workationers to your business is to put yourself in their shoes and consider what it is that they would want from a hospitality provider. Think creatively and don’t be afraid to adapt the way you have always done things and shake things up a bit. After all, the world has changed forever and so have our attitudes to holidays and travel. With a little flexible thinking, you could capture a whole new set of customers.