Workations could mark the next evolution in corporate travel

Mark Renshaw, Chief Marketing Officer at SiteMinder

SiteMinder, the world’s leading open hotel commerce platform, has released its global consumer research, The Dynamic Traveller: A New Era Of Hotel Guest, which looks into the plans, behaviours and perspectives of travellers from around the world.

The report’s launch coincides with World Tourism Day and identifies an emergence of the ‘workation’ globally and Australians’ lack of interest in taking advantage of this trend. 

SiteMinder releases The Dynamic Traveller

According to the survey of 7,000 travellers globally, including 804 in Australia, over 60% of Australians plan to travel either the same amount (35%) or more (25%) than prior to Covid.

Less than 2% say they will never travel again, down from around 8% this time last year. 

Alongside this upcoming bounceback in travel, roughly a quarter of Australian travellers see themselves adding working hours to their holiday time this year.

This was comparable to travellers in the UK (21%), though was significantly lower than counterparts in the United States (41%) and Thailand (51%). 

Not all Australian professionals are looking to combine personal travel with work obligations. More than half (54%) said they definitely do not plan to work during an upcoming trip.

This was again similar to British travellers (61%), which is surprisingly higher than American travellers (39%) and much higher than travellers from Thailand (15%).

With growth and normalisation of remote working, the survey results reflect the way Australian professionals are seeking to separate holidays from work to strike a work-life balance.

Flexibility will remain high on the agenda for professionals though business leaders who assume new broad sweeping policies related to workations would be well-received. 

Comments on SiteMinder’s Dynamic Traveller survey

Mark Renshaw, Chief Marketing Officer at SiteMinder explained the concept.

“The biggest learning from the pandemic in business leadership and people management is that we need to do away with the rulebook and how things have traditionally been done.”

“Our teams expect flexible workplaces and options to define work-life balance in their ways.”

During the pandemic, SiteMinder introduced its own Open Working SiteMinder policy. Staff selected from three ways of working; completely remotely, from the office, or both.

This initiative, among various others that aimed to increase communication and collaboration across the business, led to an increase in employee engagement. 

Renshaw continued, “In the last 18 months, every industry, including the travel and hotel sectors, experienced changes. We saw shifts from international travel to local road trips, a rise in last-minute bookings, and a transition from corporate travel to leisure staycations.”

“The next travel trend for hoteliers and business leaders to understand is the ‘workation’, which requires new thinking, to ensure employees feel heard and their expectations are met.”

“It requires business leaders to understand that while their people seek to tack leisure on to their business trips prior to the pandemic, they’re not as keen to bring business with them.”

Other findings from the Australian survey include: 

  • Nearly four out of five Australian travellers are very supportive (9%), supportive (33%) or indifferent (37%) about their personal data being used to better their stay, such as through personalised marketing or experiential efforts.
  • Only 7% of Australian travellers are strongly opposed to their data being used in this way. 
  • When sharing payment information, only 12% of Australian travellers trust accommodation providers with their data a lot, while over a third either don’t trust accommodation providers much (24%) or at all (10%). 
  • More than a quarter (27%) of Australian travellers still intend to book via an OTA and 10% via google or other search engines for their upcoming trip, highlighting the ongoing importance of being listed on digital channels.

In mid-June 2021, SiteMinder digitally surveyed more than 800 Australians who were 18+ years of age, located in Australia and had travelled at least once a year for leisure prior to Covid.