Despite the possibility that society is slowly returning to normal, remote work is here to stay, proving to be more and more popular for many companies. With the advent of remote work, comes the possibility of enjoying a vacation whilst working simultaneously, hence, “workation” was born. An amalgamation of “work” and “vacation” that somehow works for some people, blurring the line between fun and professionality a lot further than any other work style.
While not exactly a novel concept, this practice is becoming more and more popular around the world, as COVID-19 brought forth the possibility of remote working. The main idea that entices people towards this innovative work concept is that you get to take a break somewhere far away from your workplace, but you can continue to work as you wish, with all the mental benefits that a vacation might bring.
In 2020, Booking.com surveyed a total of 20,000 travelers in 28 countries around the world on whether they have considered booking a vacation spot where they could stay to do a “workation”. The result was that 37% of these travelers have considered it, proving the popularity of this new form of workstyle.
Despite the level of convenience, it also means that the line between work and personal life becomes blurred. This is more of a personal problem that can be acceptable or unacceptable depending on the person. However, workation opens up a slew of possibilities for many people, giving them the chance to design their own life.
Many countries now have packages, offers, and policies that cater towards workation workers. For example, Dubai has a remote visa program that allows workers from all over the world to come to UAE and enjoy an exceptional remote-working experience, which has attracted over 16.000 workers in the span of two months, from December 2020 to January 2021.
Types of workation
Currently, three main types of workation differ by their lengths, from short-term (a few days), medium-term (a few weeks) to long-term (a few months or more), which is what many people are talking about the most.
But not just that, the workation market also has two main types of customers, one is the customers who first came to a destination for business purposes such as conference, meeting or sales trip, but decided to extend it into a vacation or incorporate vacation into their work-life. The second type is now becoming increasingly popular, and is the main market for this kind of travel style – digital nomads, people who utilize the company’s work-from-home policy to live a nomadic lifestyle and work from anywhere. This particular market has grown exponentially in recent years due to remote work becoming more and more popular. And because digital nomads often have very high spending power, many hotels are now working on ways to benefit from this new market.
What are workationers interested in?
One important thing to note is that even though workation in a foreign country is possible, a large part of the markets is domestic travel, due to the needs for business travels as well as all of the hassles that may come with acquiring a work visa. As such, hotels should be concentrating on the domestic market if they want to expand themselves to workationers.
Amenities that can support workationers with their work are a priority that all hotels should consider. Things like spacious work desks, ergonomic chairs, and high-speed wifi are some of the basics of a workation-friendly hotel. Because workationers aim to feel rested and refreshed for work, high-quality beddings and a large supply of complimentary tea or coffee can also win over the heart of these customers.
Recently, some hotels around the world have also started to integrate co-working spaces for people who can only focus on others’ presence, as well as giving digital nomads the chance to meet others like them for networking purposes. An example of this is Hotel Schani Wien in Austria, which offers individual workstations as well as shared workspaces.
Because a large part of this customer base comes from the tech industry, more so than any other business like healthcare, sales, education,… digital nomads are very tech-savvy and are often highly appreciative of hotels that utilize smart technologies in their services and amenities like remote guest registrations, online check-ins, and smart appliances that can be controlled by a flick of the phone. Smart appliances also allow guests to personalize their lodging experience, couple this with a frequent-visitors program, and digital nomads will be more inclined to either stay longer or come back for another workation the next time they’re in the area.
In a study conducted by Expedia, when digital nomads are asked about what they enjoyed the most when they were on a workation, most of them prefer things like food and restaurants, beaches, natural sightseeing locations, weather, sightseeing, culture, and outdoor recreation. As such, hotels should also highlight nearby tourist attractions in their marketing strategy, and not just focus on the “work” aspect of workation. Another method is to introduce local activities, either as a part of the workation packages or as add-ons that can be reserved during the booking process.
Workation in Vietnam
Currently, many young Vietnamese has started to try out workation as a form of relaxation, and the trend has started to catch on to a lot of people. However, because Vietnam’s internet speed is still very slow in many areas, even in highly developed cities like Ho Chi Minh, Ha Noi, and Da Nang, workation as a trend is still very small.
On the other hand, for international workationers, Vietnam is one of the more popular places in Asia for digital nomads, with popular spots being Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Da Nang, and Hoi An. Best known for their rich coffee culture, all of these cities have a lot of coffee shops and coworking spaces, as well as a low cost of living for many foreigners, which has proven to be very popular for digital nomadism. Despite this level of popularity, there is still no special visa program for people who are interested in workation in Vietnam, so digital nomads can apply for a visa the traditional way, which can allow for a 14, 30, or 90-day stay depending on the nationalities.