The youth and student travel market, which makes up about 23% of all international travel or 370 million travelers each year, saw business declined by 60% in 1Q 2020 compared to the same period in 2019, Phocuswire reports.
While the student and youth travel market has slowed, many companies catering to these travelers also work with digital nomads, a consumer segment that’s expected to grow.
Digital nomads — people who work remotely while traveling long-term — are still ready to travel and connect amid Covid-19. Their numbers are also growing. As more people start to work from home, they realize that their work can be accomplished from anywhere in the world.
Staying Open to Support Digital Nomads
Some companies are changing their strategies to continue supporting digital nomads. Co-living and co-working network Outsite operates 29 spaces with 1,000 members across the globe. The company debated closing down their spaces before deciding to stay open and serve their community of digital nomads.
Outsite stepped up cleaning procedures in its spaces, but social distancing is difficult in a “co-anything” environment. Residents are encouraged to be responsible and keep each other safe.
The company said that some of their guests are extending their stays, and demand is growing in some of their remote locations. Riding out the pandemic could put Outsite in a position to capitalize after the crisis ends.
Agile Companies Shift to Online Events
WiFi Tribe is a company that organizes retreats for the co-living and co-working market. They’ve canceled all of their in-person events for the duration of the pandemic and were forced to shift as business slowed.
The company has worked to bring their events online as a “startup incubator” — giving their community the chance to meet, share skills, and brainstorm ideas.
The gist of it is a combination of growth, social time and accountability,” said WiFi Tribe cofounder and CEO Bejarano Gerke. “A lot of that stuff we’re currently missing because life’s been thrown upside down.”
The Start of a Shift to Remote Work
The number of digital nomads is likely to grow even after the eventual end of the coronavirus crisis across the world. Airbnb advisor Chip Conley spoke on his thoughts at a recent Plug and Play Tech Center event.
“What I think we’re going to see is a growing number of people who are going to say, ‘No, I don’t have to live in the place that I’ve always lived, because I can work remotely. I can travel and work from some other place, and therefore I can actually be a little bit more footloose and untethered in terms of where I want to live.’”
photo credit: Outsite