Traveling has been changing at its core during the past years, a change driven by the newfound flexibility of remote work or telecommuting. First, the steam engine made it possible to design the first trains and ships, which helped create the concept of tourist destinations for the most privileged; then the mass-produced automobile made road travel available for all, and finally, commercial flights allowed cross-border travel, among many others… so, is remote work the cause for new reasons for travel?
Zoom and other videoconferencing apps are the latest software innovations that have changed the way we travel. However, unlike trains, ships, cars and airplanes, these teleconferencing apps have not only allowed us to travel faster, further and spend less, but also given us the possibility of not having to travel for work reasons, or traveling anytime and anywhere, as remote workers and their families often do.
Video calling has allowed remote work to rapidly transform the reasons for travel (and even cross-border travel, which is now beginning to recover). The more software and technological innovations for telework appear, the more flexible remote working policies will be, especially in new companies.
A survey by Airbnb in six countries revealed that young adults (aged 18-34) spend the most time telecommuting and are also the ones who have traveled the most. On the other hand, full-time remote workers are more likely to be between 35 and 44 years old.
Desire to Travel Again
Airbnb believes that travel will return stronger than ever, but not the way it was in 2019. People have been isolated on such a level and longer than ever in history, so they are eager to get back together. Airbnb expects a significant change in worldwide travel, as reunions with family, friends, or work colleagues have become more important than ever, while the lines that separate travel, work, and personal life continue to blur:
Longer business trips that combine work and pleasure will be part of the future, as trips are organized less around week-long vacations, and more around places where people want to enjoy experiences and work.
According to the survey, the number of long-term stays on business trips has increased 2.5 times, and that these trips (now more than 28 nights on average) were the category that increased the most in terms of duration for the second quarter of 2021.
Zoom and Video Calls Usefulness
Zoom may not be as useful for business trips, but it is great for family trips, and it eases long weekend stays that combine work and pleasure. Part-time remote work can be expected in the future.
In the United States, extended weekends are on the rise: 3 and 4-day family weekends have increased by 70% from the second quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2021.
More Reservations for Long Vacations
Employer-worker agreements to telecommute will also offer individuals flexibility to book vacation rentals. In the first and second quarters of 2021, there were more long-stay bookings in Florida than in any other quarter in the history of Airbnb.
People are attracted to the idea of travel blending work life and personal life. When Airbnb launched its Live Anywhere program for a year, more than 300,000 people from around the world applied in just three weeks.
More Family Trips
As friends look to live or move in together, families meet again, and co-workers (who work remotely) get together to know each other, there will be an increase in accommodations and spaces exclusively designed for them.
From January to August, there has been a significant increase in reservations for large accommodations (four bedrooms or more) and nights booked for family travel compared to January-August 2019.
Ultimately, technologies like Zoom will allow remote workers to have more and more flexibility in terms of when and where to work and live. The reasons for travel have changed.