Digital nomadism is a rising trend that presents property managers with the opportunity to attract a unique type of traveller looking to book longer stays.
In this part of our Travel Trends series, we’ll dissect this new traveller segment and look at some of the strategies property managers can use to attract digital nomads.
We’ll also list 6 niche vacation rental websites that specialise in mid to long-term rentals – these are the platforms where digital nomads book their extended stays. Let’s get right into it!
Digital nomads are remote workers, freelancers or location independent entrepreneurs who have the freedom to work from anywhere in the world. All they need is a laptop and a decent internet connection, which enables them to move from one place to another whenever they wish. They travel the world, making one place their home for a few weeks or months, then moving on to the next.
The proliferation of technology and online tools such as cloud-based applications has made it possible for workers in many different fields, from the creative industry to IT and marketing, to start spending more time away from offices. Some digital nomads have a home base to return to in between longer trips, others don’t. Most only choose the nomadic lifestyle for a period of their lives before they settle down, but some stick to it long-term.
The digital nomad lifestyle has become so popular in recent years – and not just among Millenials: 54% of digital nomads are over 38 – that it’s no longer just a niche movement. In fact, some believe that remote work is set to transform the world in the next couple of decades. According to an oft-cited prediction by serial entrepreneur Pieter Levels, by 2035, there will be 1 billion digital nomads in the world.
Property managers should consider targeting digital nomads for a number of reasons.
First off, digital nomads aren’t tourists. They’re a completely different traveller profile.
Digital nomads look for extended stays in flexible-term apartments, monthly rentals or co-living spaces. Not only do they stay longer, but they also behave differently than tourists. They want to be immersed in the culture and lifestyle of their destination; they want to make a temporary home for themselves; they want a place where they can maximise their productivity and work according to their own rules.
This is great news for property managers because it gives them the opportunity to lock in mid-term bookings from guests who will perceive the property as their home for an extended period of time and will likely take care of it accordingly.
Second of all, marketing rental properties to digital nomads is a great way to score off-season bookings, especially with a length-of-stay discount. Digital nomads don’t necessarily travel in tourist season: on the contrary, they often prefer to experience destinations without the high-season crowds.
And thirdly, when occupancy is looking grim for a certain time period, digital nomads can save property managers from the horror of empty units. Since their lifestyle is all about flexibility, digital nomads often don’t decide on where to next until the last day of their previous stay. They often book on a whim, which gives property managers a great chance to bag high-value last-minute bookings.
Digital nomads don’t travel for leisure. To them, travel is a lifestyle which involves working from the places they visit. Because of this, it’s likely that they’ll use your rental as a home office and spend a lot more time in it than tourists would. So how can you convince them that your property will suit all their needs?
When taking pictures of your rental to display on listing sites, make sure you demonstrate how it can serve as an inspiring workspace. Include a shot of a neatly arranged, comfortable desk with lots of natural light. Showcase how different spots in the apartment could be used as workstations. Add a photo of a coffee machine or other amenities that you would find in an office or coworking space. Don’t forget to mention these in the property description, too. It’ll make your listing much more appealing to digital nomads.
They may spend a large chunk of their day working from home, but they won’t stay locked inside forever. Digital nomads love exploring local restaurants, cafés, yoga studios, gyms and coworking spaces. Strike up partnerships with nearby spots and offer your nomadic guests discounts to these attractive places. The more opportunities for networking and meeting new people you can offer, the better.
Getting your property in front of digital nomads is the single most important step. We can’t stress this enough: digital nomads are not tourists, so they will search for accommodation on websites that cater to their specific needs (next to the big players like Airbnb and Booking.com).
By listing your properties on niche listing sites that cater to digital nomads, you’ll be directly targeting a group of travellers who search for mid to long-term rentals with the purpose of finding a temporary home that they can also work from.
Let’s take a look at the best niche websites to list your properties and be discovered by digital nomads.
HouseStay lets property managers rent their units to businesses and individuals looking to book accommodation for 30 nights or more. Operating in Los Angeles, the San Francisco Bay Area, the San Jose Area, Seattle and Washington DC, HouseStay covers some of the most popular digital nomad hotspots in the US. If you want to target travellers seeking monthly furnished accommodation options, HouseStay can give you direct access to this traveller segment.
With more than 60,000 properties listed and over 3 million monthly user visits, Spotahome is a fast-growing booking platform for mid to long-term accommodation. Their team of Homecheckers carefully vets apartments and rooms to be rented out for 30+ days on their platform. Spotahome is a great niche listing site for property managers looking to offer monthly rentals in major European cities like Barcelona, Berlin, Dublin, London, Paris and Rome.
“Live month-to-month without signing a long lease,” says the tagline of Anyplace, a platform for flexible furnished accommodation. Property managers offering monthly rentals or co-living properties can list their units on Anyplace and reach travellers looking for longer stays around the world. Their locations stretch from Bali to New York City and everything in between, covering the world’s hottest digital nomad hubs.
2nd Address offers short-term, month-to-month and long-term rentals to business travellers and digital nomads. Targeting two fast-growing traveller segments, 2nd Address is a great choice for property managers who want to expand their reach. 2nd Address is currently present in and around San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington DC, New York City, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Miami with over 9,000 listings in total.
Flatio is a Czech listing site for short to mid-term rentals (1-12 months). They’ve expanded to several Central European countries, including Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary. Next to furnished apartments, they offer co-living and other shared accommodation options, too. The Flatio website even has a dedicated section for accommodation digital nomads, in nomad-favourite cities like Budapest, Prague, Bratislava and Berlin.
Behere goes beyond accommodation by letting long-term travellers book workspaces and fitness studios next to furnished apartments. The platform is a digital nomad’s dream, with top locations around the world such as Bali, Lisbon, Barcelona and Split. By getting listed on Behere, property managers can market directly to remote workers committed to the location independent lifestyle.
If you want more information about current travel trends and niche listing sites that address them, you’ll find it in our free ebook The Who’s Who of Short-Term Rental Listing Sites. You’ll have access to exclusive data such as Average booking value, Average nights booked, Number of listings, Traffic sources, Fees for property managers, etc.
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Want to learn more about getting listed on niche websites? Book a call with one of our distribution experts!