While the pandemic has totally disrupted global travel, the hospitality sector is responding to the shutdown of traditional tourism by offering workations or bleisure stays.
“Covid-19 has completely disrupted the traditional office culture,” says Mark Kirby, COO of Emaar Hospitality, talking to Trade Arabia.
“The introduction of the workation concept is not just a novel idea, it’s about making adjustments to meet the new market demands, allowing those who are not currently working from their office to enjoy a luxury hospitality experience whilst continuing their work commitments.”
The trend was already gaining popularity in 2019. However, it’s now experiencing a surge as freelancers are joined by a wide range of professionals now able to work remotely. Hotels and resorts are racing to offer all-inclusive packages to lure home workers with an appealing combination of fast broadband and great amenities.
At the top end of the market, Nautilus Maldives’ Work from Home packages start at around $23,250 per week (for two sharing) which includes a desk with a view outside your beach or ocean villa, and a personal assistant.
At the other end of the spectrum, The Hosteller is offering budget staycations at its hostels in India. The chain hopes to appeal to younger workers with a range of events from movie nights to community dinners, alongside high-quality wifi.
Right around the globe, from Alaska to the Bahamas, from Canada to California, hotels are offering all-inclusive packages. Some countries, such as Spain and Germany, have even introduced a Remote Work Visa, aimed at supporting their tourist economies.
While workations usually attract child-free workers, the Moon Palace Resort in Jamaica has set up a Make Paradise your Classroom package. Children and teenagers stay free during 2021 and their remote learning can be boosted with state-of-the-art learning centres fully equipped with computers, printers and a wide range of learning resources.
It’s not just large hotels, retreat centres are also cashing in on the trend – adding a wellbeing element or bookending the working day with yoga or meditation classes.
Suryalila yoga retreat in Spain offers “a safe international community where open-minded people come to connect and create” from €1,300 per month fully-inclusive. The centre promises great internet connection, a co-working space with desks, breakout area and access to a dedicated Zoom studio. Once the day’s work is over, guests can enjoy yoga and dance classes, meditation sessions, and forest bathing.
Meanwhile, Yobaba Lounge in the south of France is offering something similar with prices ranging from €750 a week or €1,700 a month all-inclusive. “One silver lining of last year’s turmoil is that it has led us to re-imagine how we want to rebalance our lives,” says founder Gertrud Keazor. “With many of us now able to, or having to, work remotely, we are also reminded of the benefits of connection to nature as an integral part of our life-work balance.”
This seems likely to become one trend that’s likely to grow and grow. After all, why work from home when you could work from the beach, the mountains, or overlooking olive groves?
Theme parks often add luxury, themed or innovative accommodation to entice visitors to extend their stay, and now museums are getting in on the hotels act too.