Brands Benefiting from the Workcation Acceleration
Among the many ways the pandemic impacted American society was the massive shift to remote working for a large part of the labor force. Nicholas Bloom, an economist and senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), estimated 42% of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time.
This shift taught us remote working doesn’t necessarily mean a decline in productivity. A two-year study by Great Place to Work, the global research and analytics firm that produces the annual Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list, found that most reported stable or even increased productivity levels after employees started working from home. The survey involved more than 800,000 Fortune 500 employees.
While this trend resulted in a sharp increase in online communications and project management platforms such as Zoom Video Communications, Inc. (Tii:ZM), Microsoft (Tii:MSFT) Teams, and Trello, an Atlassian Corporation Plc (Tii:TEAM) business, it also led to more employees leaving their home offices, packing their bags to work from more scenic locations. A survey conducted by YouGov, a market research/analytics firm, and Airbnb, Inc. (Tii:ABNB) found that one in four respondents said they saw themselves taking on more extended travel and working while they were away. As a result, Airbnb has been gradually shifting its model to suit longer-term travelers, noting a 14% increase in its platform’s users looking for stays longer than 28 days.
With international destinations like Portugal, Croatia, and Germany offering extensive free Wi-Fi, here is a look at a few companies whose products and services also cater to the “workcationer.”
T-Mobile US Inc. (Tii:TMUS) has undertaken a massive rollout of its 5G network – which is now the largest of its type in the U.S. The mobile communications provider reported the strongest financial results in its history during its most recent second quarter, posting an 8x increase in net income on 13% higher revenues. During that quarter, the company also added 1.4 million new customers to bring its total to a record-high of 104.8 million. T-Mobile says it is “on track” to cover 200 million by the end of 2021. Catering directly to the workcationer, Verizon Communications Inc. (Tii:VZ) offers a suite of mobile routers, modems and other hotspot devices, including the Inseego Jetpack MiFi 8800L that can connect up to 15 Wi-Fi-enabled devices to the internet.
Because not all work can effectively be performed on a mobile phone or tablet, a powerful but portable laptop is another key ingredient to a successful workcation. According to global research and advisory firm Gartner, Inc., worldwide PC shipments increased 10.7% to 79.4 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020 as a result of the pandemic. The computer manufacturers leading the way with increased shipments for last year’s fourth quarter include Lenovo Group Limited (Tii:LNVGF), Dell Technologies Inc. (Tii:DELL) and Apple Inc. (Tii:AAPL).
Anticipating a continuation of the workcation trend, Hyatt Hotels Corporation (Tii:H) designed several initiatives geared toward working travelers’ needs. The hotel chain’s “Office for a Day” program allows guests access to a private room with Wi-Fi and such amenities as the hotel gym and swimming pool during daytime hours. Looking to make its hotels more attractive to workcationers, Hyatt offers extended stay packages at a number of properties. In addition, the hotel operator was also included on a list of hotels with the best Wi-Fi by ISP.com (a research firm focused on internet service providers), along with Marriott International, Inc. (Tii:MAR), Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. (Tii:HLT) and Holiday Inn, an InterContinental Hotels Group PLC (Tii:IHG) brand.
While debate continues as to whether this trend will continue as a major dynamic in the post-pandemic world, the increase in tools, services and technology that enable work-from-wherever and the growth in new jobs specifically meant for remote workers indicates the workcationer may remain alive and well beyond 2021.