The shift to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has led to some people adopting more nomadic lifestyles, taking advantage of having more freedom to move.
That has created a new opportunity for short-term rental providers like Airbnb and Vrbo, and it’s one they don’t intend to let up.
Short-term rental firms saw their business slow down dramatically in the early days of the pandemic, as panic-stricken populations hunkered down at home. But fast-forward one year and vaccination campaigns are in full-swing, creating new found freedoms for those who can now perform their work by remote.
Airbnb has said that it’s now looking to target so-called digital nomads, catering to their desires to stay on the move.
The company has just launched a new campaign called “Live Anywhere on Airbnb” and says it is looking for 12 individuals, plus up to three companions, to take part. The idea is that these people will live exclusively in Airbnb accommodations for the next year – it says “approximately one year” from July 2021 to July 2022. They’ll be asked to document their experiences as part of a program that will help to guide its future product roadmap. We can assume that those people’s stories will also be used for marketing in some shape or form.
Participants will get quite a good deal. Airbnb said it will provide them with between $24,000 and $48,000 worth of Airbnb credits that can be used to book their accommodations, as well as $5,000 to $12,000 towards their travel and transportation expenses. In addition, participants will also be able to list their primary residence on the platform to earn extra cash while they’re away globetrotting.
There’s definitely a big opportunity in digital nomads. According to a 2020 Harris poll, 74% of Americans who currently work remotely said they would consider taking a “work-cation” that involves working somewhere other than their home city for an extended period of time.
Moreover, Airbnb itself recently reported seeing a 24% increase in long-term bookings of 28 days or longer on its platform, up from 14% in 2019. Around half of the stays booked on Airbnb in its most recent quarter were for a minimum of seven nights.
“The big trend is flexibility: People are traveling anytime, anywhere, and they’re staying longer,” Airbnb Chief Executive Brian Chesky (pictured) said on the company’s recent earnings call. “We think all these trends are here to stay.”