According to predictions made by Pieter Levels, by the year 2035, there will be nine billion people on earth. Of these nine billion, six billion will be of working age – and around half of these will be freelancers. Levels also estimated that one-third of these freelancers will be digital nomads. That means we’re looking at one billion remote workers in the next two decades (or sooner!).
With the sudden rise of flex work and freedom to set up an office just about anywhere, many people are packing their bags and exploring the world with a laptop in hand. Digital nomads are quickly becoming one of the largest audiences in the vacation rental industry. How are you going to be receptive to their travel needs?
What is a digital nomad?
Let’s start with what a digital nomad is exactly. There’s much confusion between digital nomads and remote workers, but there’s a distinction. As Wikipedia puts it, digital nomads are a “type of people who use telecommunications technologies to earn a living and, more generally, conduct their life in a nomadic manner”.
They’re a growing sector of the working population who, due to the flexibility of the role they carry out on a day-to-day basis, can perform their work from anywhere around the globe with little more than a working internet connection. Their lives center around their travels and opt to jet-set whenever and wherever they want. These “location independent entrepreneurs” are pioneering a new path towards work freedom, all while traveling the globe.
Why should you market your vacation rental to digital nomads?
If you’ve been looking to expand your business into new markets and target different audiences, the digital nomad crowd might be right for you. They can be a fairly low-maintenance audience with just a couple of office-oriented needs. They’re also far more likely to keep your property in good order since they’ll be spending a chunk of their stay working.
Once you’ve tapped into the digital nomad market, you’ll be happy you did the initial work. Digital nomads talk: to each other, within digital communities, and on online review platforms. By targeting this group and offering a great experience, you’ll be sure to reel in profits and host incredible guests from near and far.
Identify digital nomads’ needs
The very nature of being location independent – that is, able to work without an office or much equipment – means that there are few requirements for digital nomads. Let’s take a look at the top ways you can attract this alternative type of business traveler to your vacation rental.
Have the right amenities
First things first, in order to attract remote workers to your rental, the amenities you provide are key. Digital nomads will spend a lot more time at your property than regular travelers as they will likely fulfill their working obligations at home, too.
That’s why a variety of clean and comfortable workspaces, fast Wi-Fi and home-from-home comforts such as fluffy towels and a stocked pantry are all must-haves. The remote workforce will probably have different working hours than regular 9-to-5 jobs, so offer numerous spots around your home where they can set up their workstation without missing out on daylight!
Promote off-season deals for longer stays
Many digital nomads decide their next destination the same day they leave the previous one. Others, however, will plan in advance where is best to spend summer, winter and so on. If your property fails to attract guests at certain times of the year, you could use this opportunity to offer irresistible discounts for long-term visits. That way, your property won’t be vacant in the low season, and a remote worker may just fall in love with your area!
Showcase attractive spots nearby
Part of the appeal of being able to work from anywhere is the freedom of deciding how to divide up the day. For this demographic, it’s not just the accommodation that makes a place worth visiting. Cool coffee houses, independent shopping and trendy yoga studios are also part and parcel of the digital nomad lifestyle. That said, if your home boasts a great view, private pool or any other unique feature that will catch a guest’s eye – be sure to highlight it on your homepage, along with any local attractions that will help seal the deal.
Advertise in Facebook groups
There are hundreds of groups on Facebook brimming with thousands of like-minded professionals who all work remotely or want to. One of the main ways they find out about opportunities or ask for advice? You guessed it – Facebook.
The social network is, therefore, a great place to advertise your vacation rental if you’re looking to attract online freelancers to your property. Always be sure to direct them on to your vacation rental website to make their booking securely.
Partner with a coworking space
Coworking spaces have also gained a lot of popularity in recent years, not only due to being a good match for remote workers’ flexible careers, but also the opportunities for networking and community building they provide.
Many entrepreneurs seeking out a new location for their next gig will peruse the coworking options available to them before making their decision. Because of this, consider striking up a partnership with a local coworking space and place a small advert on their website or in-house notice board. This will help attract members of this demographic to your home – as they’re either already situated in your area, or looking to stay there.
Accept last-minute bookings
Location-independent workers are a savvy bunch – and they will probably attempt to negotiate the best deal with property owners. By accepting last-minute bookings, you open up your property for a bidding war between competitive travelers. Ensure that potential guests have a way of contacting you directly (i.e. through your own website) as this will allow them to start a conversation. Last-minute bookings are a great way to fill those awkward-length calendar gaps left by other guests who arrive and depart on weekends.
Host influencers and famous digital nomads
Despite their nomadic nature, this group of travelers is quite communal. They interact regularly on different online forums, follow nomad blogs, and stay connected with influencers and other well-known digital nomads in the field. Inspire your potential audience by proxy. When you host digital nomad influencers, you open yourself up to a wider audience of potential guests.
Some Instagram stars can be rather particular, so it’s not enough to just offer a free weekend. Learn how to attract influencers to your vacation rental and get ready to connect with digital nomads in a whole new way.
Use niche listing sites for digital nomads
As we mentioned, digital nomads maintain a heavy presence online. After all, their jobs and life circles around it. There are some niche listing sites out there that specialize in digital nomad accommodations. They boast amenities like high-speed internet and multiple on-site work locations and they focus on nomad-favorite cities.
Some of our top favorite digital nomad vacation rental sites include 2nd Address, Plum Guide, and 9flats, just to name a few. Each of these sites has its own specialties and interests geared towards digital nomads. Even some of the big-name OTAs have caught on with the trend as Airbnbs for digital nomads and Vrbo’s remote-work amenities have become a top highlight on their pages.
The number of digital nomads is set to increase dramatically in the near future, so it’s a great time to start thinking about how to expand your target guest market and include this sector of the population. Follow the tips above to market your vacation rental to the growing remote workforce!