The term “digital nomads” has been used for a couple of decades at this point. It originally applied to those who chose to work for themselves via digital technology. Today, that meaning has morphed thanks in large part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, digital nomads are really just remote workers. Once upon a time, remote work was the exception, but during the pandemic, it became the rule. And it’s proving to be surprisingly resilient. The new world in which we find ourselves is one where an increasing number of people are working remotely not because they’re forced to, but because of the benefits doing so can offer.
The rise of digital nomads has implications for all types of industries. However, it is particularly important for small hotels. Of course, to benefit here, you’ll need to tap into the digital nomad mindset and make sure that your property appeals to this growing demographic. Below, we’ll explore key things to consider.
Health and Safety
One of the first things that small hotels need to do when it comes to attracting digital nomads is to ensure that their health and safety protocols and policies are up to date. These remote workers are aware of the threat posed by COVID-19 and almost universally patronize facilities that help them remain safe and healthy.
What does that mean for small hotels? Simply put, you must invest in the right technology.
– remote check-in kiosks, for instance. You also need to ensure that your health protocols are up to par, with frequent handwashing, constant mask-wearing, and regular disinfecting of surfaces in public areas. Consider sanitizing guest rooms and using that in your marketing efforts, too.
Workspace Is Important
Digital nomads work wherever they are, which means that they’ll probably be using your hotel for a combination of work and leisure. This is a great way to help set your small hotel apart – create blended spaces that offer the ability to work and relax at the same time. What might that look like?
It can be just about anything. You’ll need to account for a few things, though:
- A comfortable environment, suitable for working or relaxing
- Work surfaces (tables can do just fine)
- Comfortable seating
- Access to electrical outlets for charging phones, tablets, and laptops
- A variety of seating, from tables and chairs to sofas
- Ample natural lighting to ease the strain of artificial lights on the eyes
- High-speed Internet without data caps
Work Amenities in the Rooms
Don’t assume that digital nomads will spend their days swilling coffee and gazing out your lobby windows while handling their work responsibilities. Many of them will want to work in the privacy of their rooms, so you must ensure that your guest rooms are well-suited to the task. A few important amenities can make that simpler, such as:
- A modern work desk
- Task lighting
- Larger coffee pots
- Room to work in many ways, from sitting at the desk to lying on the bed
- Ample charging options, including USB outlets
A Luxurious Touch without the Luxury Price Tag
Want to tap into the digital nomad mindset and cement your small hotel as a great place to stay and work? Give them luxury without the accompanying price tag. These guests want an experience that stands out, and it’s simpler than ever to do that.
Technology investments for your small hotel can help here. For instance, smartphone-enabled door locks can be a luxurious touch that doesn’t cost your guests a thing. You can also invest in outdoor seating areas with heating so they can be used during cooler months.
Another must-have is comfortable seating. If your in-room desk chairs get uncomfortable after 10 minutes, how do you think your guests will feel after sitting in one for five or six hours? Upgrade to luxury-level office chairs and you’ll make a mark on your guests.
Want to really make your small hotel stand out? Eliminate some of the restrictions that might make a digital nomad think twice about staying with you. For instance, if you have a no-pets policy, you could revise that to attract travelers who have to take their pets with them because they’re away from home for so long.
You should also find ways to create less restrictive space in and around your hotels. For instance, installing a dog park behind the property might be an option. A playground, a small park area, and other spaces that allow people to get out and come together without leaving the property can make stays feel less restrictive and more enjoyable.
Virtual Meeting Spaces
Digital nomads are often part of larger teams and will need to communicate with their team members in meetings, even from the road. You can tap into the digital nomad mindset by adding virtual meeting spaces to your small hotel.
This could be something as basic as a well-appointed room set aside specifically for virtual meetings via a laptop, or you could go bigger. It’s possible to create a conference room that’s fully equipped with everything that a digital nomad might need, from A/V equipment to projectors, and more.
To tap into the digital nomad mindset, you must give some thought to your pricing. That doesn’t mean you need to reinvent your entire pricing structure, though. There are a lot of things you can do to appeal to digital nomads.
- Offer Long-Term Rates: One thing that sets small hotels apart for digital nomads is when they offer long-term rates. Combined with the right amenities, technology, and safety protocols, a great rate could mean a traveler will stay with you for several weeks, a month, or even longer.
- Add-Ons: Because digital nomads crave unique experiences, offering specific add-ons (for an additional price or as part of your incentive to get them to stay longer) can be a great idea. Small hotels can offer excursions, special packages on in-house services, free food delivery from local restaurants, and so much more to tempt digital nomads to stay longer and set their properties apart from others.
- Speak to the Employer: Where most digital nomads were once self-employed, today that’s not the case. They’re employed and the employer is probably picking up the bill. One pricing strategy is to speak directly to the employer. Offer corporate rates and lock them in and you’ll find that you have more travelers than you might have expected.
Digital Nomads Aren’t Going Away
The remote work trend is only beginning. Digital nomads are not going to go away. For small hotels, that means it’s more important than ever before to become one of the top digital nomad places to stay. Use the tips above to set your property apart and achieve that goal.