We have been talking to brands and destinations for years about the future travel trend of remote work and how to attract digital nomads to a destination but now what could have been a new travel niche might now become more mainstream or even a necessity for some destinations to survive as we learn more about what travel will look like in the future.
How To Attract Digital Nomads To A Destination
All the way back in 2017 we created a first-of-its-kind campaign called Swap London For Cape Town in partnership with Wesgro and we took 10 startups/remote workers from London – Cape Town to experience the city as a digital nomad destination and off the back of this campaign a few months later we created a Digital Nomad Safari to enable remote workers to experience South Africa and a specially designed coliving/coworking adventure which would enable them to disconnect from work and find a healthy work lifestyle balance.
Adapting Tourist Destinations For Digital Nomads
In their February 9, 2021 webinar ‘Adapting Tourist Destinations For Remote Workers & Digital Nomads In 2021,’ Island Innovation made the following recommendations for destinations looking to attract digital nomads:
- Provide a temporary worker visa that is easy to access, navigate, and understand
- Help visitors connect with each other and the local community
- Offer extended stays and develop remote work villages
- Prioritize high-speed, cheap, and reliable internet throughout the destination
- Have a safe and effective airport health screening and tracking system.
In addition to these recommendations, ATTA’s Produced A Report and its findings also focus on the need to help digital nomads disconnect from work and embrace their time off. This could include areas of accommodation that encourage visitors to turn off their devices and interact with others or relax without technology.
On the other hand, loneliness is a common occurrence for digital nomads. Offering ways to connect with others locally and their friends and family back home can be beneficial, for example having widespread internet access in all parts of a destination. Tour operators and activity providers can host events or offer socialization opportunities for digital nomads living there temporarily. ATTA’s survey found that food is especially important for this group—they spend almost half as much on food as they do on their lodging—events and activities centered around local cuisine may be especially well-received.
Overall, community was a common thread within our research and findings from Island Innovation. Digital nomads use Facebook groups heavily to connect with others locally and get recommendations on places to go and things to do. Contributing to these groups in a helpful and professional way can assist businesses to connect with digital nomads and attract the ones in their local area.
What Do Digital Nomads Need
Below is a list of general suggestions for destinations looking to attract digital nomads; Download The Full Report From ATTA for more specific recommendations for destinations, accommodations, and tours and activities.
Offer Ways For Them To Unplug
All kinds of destinations can do something to help alleviate the pressure these travelers feel to always be connected to work. Cafes and other gathering places can have a section of their space dedicated as a “device-free zone,” instead of offering alternatives like board games, displays about local history or events, activities such as cooking classes, and other ways to encourage in-person interaction to be present in that moment.
On The Other Hand
Also, offer ways for them to easily connect with people at home. Although digital nomads want to interact with other travelers, they also want to maintain their connections with friends and family at home. Amenities such as quiet video calling areas identified points at attractions with a reminder to take a selfie and post it on social media, and other reminders of their contacts at home will help alleviate this concern around losing contact.
Combat uncertainty and do not apply too much financial pressure as most digital nomads are freelancers or own their own business, meaning financial uncertainty is common. Businesses can offer discounts for paying in advance or suggesting flexible payment arrangements. Advertising long-term stays and any other ways of providing a routine or other stability is likely to be appealing.
Provide ways for digital nomads to build a local community to avoid loneliness. In addition to staying in touch with friends and family at home, digital nomads want a sense of community locally, by meeting other travelers and interacting with the local people. Destinations could organize special events for this purpose, or make efforts to communicate existing local events to digital nomads.
Make sure digital nomads can collaborate with the people they need to work with. Following the connection theme, the first priority of many digital nomads is making money to support their travels. They are going to be attracted to places with good internet, 24-hour workspaces to accommodate global schedules, and amenities like a coffee and snack bar to keep them fueled at all times of the day.
Which Destination Would You Choose?
Some destinations around the world already have digital nomad visas with many more looking to attract them for extended periods of time and Cape Town announced its intentions only last week as the Mother City Targets Digital Nomads and we hope just some of them can join us on a unique Coworking Safari.