Digital nomads

How to cater to digital nomads

Expo 2020 got me thinking about the enormous number of people who will shift their workplace to Dubai for at least six months. Such an influx of global talent is exciting, interesting and will do wonders for the economy, too!

The temporary boost in the talent pool adds to Dubai’s already rich cultural mix, and I am hoping to spend time over the next six months with a variety of guests, visitors, innovators and business people from all over the world.

But I’ve also been thinking about how easy it would be to move and work from somewhere else for six months.

So, for people to come here and work for a brief period, we must ensure everything is in place to enable our gracious guests to achieve all they need to.

The hospitality sector, globally, has always used technology as a differentiator – from advanced in-room connectivity sockets (remember the days of cable connections?) to free Wi-Fi throughout a property.

But what do we now expect, and what must be delivered, to the ever-growing cohort of so-called digital nomads?

Provide space to maximise work productivity 

Most digital nomads manage their workload to get work done and enjoy time visiting nearby attractions. You should aim to provide space that makes managing time easier, which will lead to greater work productivity.

For instance, providing a separate room for an office, if possible, or have a makeshift cubicle for someone to work at.

Your lobby cafe could easily provide access to computers, printers and Wi-Fi.

Some hospitality venues now provide co-working spaces. Some even have co-living spaces that offer a co-working area and a communal living area. Allowing 24/7 access to co-working facilities is a given in our always-on global community.

Provide the amenities needed

Simply put, if you don’t have the amenities a digital nomad needs, they’re not going to stay with you. Some amenities important to a digital nomad include:

  • Fast, reliable internet and charging outlets.
  • Secure door locks and safes (laptop locks are also appreciated).
  • Free toiletries for the road.
  • Free water bottles.
  • Access to supplies such as a printer, notepads and pens, for example – and the ability to purchase these items in your venue or nearby.
  • Contactless check-in and checkout options.
  • Enough space to work – or even cook, if needed.

These may all seem simple, but I’ve travelled enough to discover many venues don’t cover these basics. And while provision of the above might affect the bottom line, such facilities can be a game-changer and engender higher customer loyalty.

There are more new brands popping up across the UAE that have to service digital nomads at their heart.

Older, more established brands must battle these disruptors with equal or higher levels of facilities designed to attract international working guests.

Highlight the area’s local attractions

Digital nomads aren’t just staying with you to work; they want to see what’s in the area. If your hospitality venue is close to Expo 2020, the Burj Khalifa, Bastakiya, the Creek or any of the myriad of the area’s top attractions, advertise it.

This way, digital nomads will know you’re also able to provide the free-time activities they’re looking for.

Working remotely while travelling is a trend I believe will continue to grow in the future.

Being prepared for it is vital if you want to meet all of your customers’ needs and see those customers returning again and again.

Sometimes, the smallest detail like free coffee or a 24-hour printing service can make all the difference.

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