How the new normal will grow the nomad traveller segment
Nomad travellers are those travellers who constantly travel from place to place. The early concept of nomad travellers are those who were not settled in cities and towns and moved from one area to another to survive. The priorities of a nomad traveller or a nomadic community was to sustain themselves wherever they could find the means and for many communities it meant exploring the world finding for new markets and opportunities. However, in today’s day and age, people often prefer to stay in one town and city and achieve their means of livelihood over there. Today, a nomadic traveller is associated to an individual who wants to achieve freedom and independence by travelling around the world and not settling into a town or a city. With the rise of easily accessible internet around the world, nomadic travellers can work anywhere in the world with flexible timings while also exploring new cultures. This allows nomad travellers to financially sustain themselves while also engaging in travel for leisure.
Unfortunately for Nomad Travellers, The COVID 19 Pandemic created stop-still for travel, severely effecting all stakeholders of the travel industry. Nomad Travellers are one of the most effected stakeholders of the pandemic due to the stop-still. However as the global vaccine program is rolling out now, and locations around the world are opening up, nomad travellers are the most to gain as companies around the world have opened up to the idea of remote working even as we transition the pandemic and lockdowns. Employers are recognising the economic and ergonomic benefits of remote working as productivity rose during the lockdown. Employees also highly benefit as they are able to stay connected with their family and do not have to worry about various issues associated with travelling to work. Research by MBO showed that in 2018, there were 4.8 million digital nomad workers and since then digital nomadism has been a growing phenomenon. Today, the idea of a digital nomad is cultural trend due to the romanticism associated with moving away from structured and inflexible work environments. The nomad traveller according to Mancinelli are individuals adapting to the socio-economic and cultural changes that are presented to them. The global economy is evolving from an ownership to a subscription model where items we consume are subscribed to on a monthly or annual basis, like the rise of rented housing and other services like transportation, entertainment and we are also now seeing a rise in co-working and co-living spaces across the world. These shifts in the global economic and social structure are giving many people the opportunity to travel and explore the world while finding opportunities to financially sustain themselves.
The nature of the pandemic and the consequences of lockdown has led to a “new normal” where employers are opening up to remote working and thus nomad travellers can now access a wider range of jobs while travelling around the world. As we see the rise of nomad travellers, the various stakeholders of the travel industry must prepare themselves to meet the demands of the market. Travel companies can work with the airlines and railway industry to create flexible travel plans for nomad travellers so that it is easier and more cost effective for nomad travellers while also benefiting travel companies as they can start catering to nomad travellers. One of the key features of nomad travelling is to be frugal in their expenditures while maximising the most. Therefore a nomad traveller would look to find a co-living space which also provides access to work infrastructure mainly high speed internet. The growth of the nomad traveller persona has also seen a growth in affordable co-living spaces where travellers can share rooms, access work spaces and engage in fun events organised by the community. Hospitality brands that create co-living and co-working environments must now capitalize on this new demand and work on making their accessible and to bring a more diverse demographic to maximize growth. The pandemic shifting work culture and with the slow easing of travel restrictions, communities all around the world are building infrastructure to accommodate the rising demand of nomad travellers. In Portugal, the establishment of the digital Nomad Islands in Madeira has seen an unexpected amount of applicants while countries like Estonia, Jamaica and Barbados have introduced visas for remote workers. As the travel industry works to build infrastructure for nomad travellers and we see the continuous rise of nomad travellers, we are going to see a shift in travel culture and ultimately a “new normal” in the travel industry.