Three years after the COVID-19 pandemic began, the global health crisis that forced many industries to rethink how they operate, and adapt to alternative ways of running their business, has had lasting effects. We’ve seen a major shift in the US job market since, and there has been the growing acceptance that the typical 9–5 office job and hour commute isn’t the only or best way to work anymore. Before the pandemic, a mere 6% of US employees were working remotely. In 2022, that percentage has soared to 26% of employees working either fully or partially remote.
Now that stay-at-home orders and strict safety protocols are no longer in place, the high number of remote jobs still in the workforce is a testament to the shifting ideals around employment. Workers have realized the value of the work-life balance that comes from saving time and money on a commute, and many aren’t willing to go back.
The number of people working from home is also credited in huge part to the growth of tech industry jobs, many of which can be done from anywhere with a good internet connection and computer. In fact, employment in IT careers is expected to grow 15% in the next 10 years, more than the average rate of job growth. It’s safe to say, remote work is here to stay. But why does this matter to you as a US tour operator?
Being a remote worker means you can pretty much work from anywhere that has a good internet connection, and many remote workers are taking advantage of the opportunity to travel while they work. For many tour operators, more travelers means more business, as people want to see the sights and take advantage of the unique landscape and activities of the place they are visiting!
Remote Workers vs Digital Nomads vs Workationers
You may be wondering why we’re using the term remote worker rather than digital nomad or workationer and what exactly the difference is between the two. In our previous blog, How to Appeal to Workationers, we lay out the difference between digital nomads and workationers, focusing on what tour operators can do to appeal to the workationer. So where does the remote worker fit in here?
The difference between workationers/digital nomads and your average US remote worker is that the prior generally refers to people travelling and working internationally, outside their country of residence. The trending term ‘digital nomad’ brings to mind influencers sipping cocktails on a tropical beach abroad, laptops in hand. This type of traveler likely seems far from relevant to your US-based tour business.
Although the digital nomad life IS growing, the majority of people that WFH in the US, do not actually have permission to work abroad. Having to take into account international tax and labor laws, security issues, and time zone changes are a few of the reasons many employers may not permit working abroad and at the end of the day, it’s the employer’s decision. However, US workers with partial or fully remote jobs, are often permitted to travel, working from various locations within the US.
While some tips in our workationer article apply to anyone looking to appeal to those traveling while working, this article focuses on targeting the millions of employees that work remotely within the US, either fully or part-time. Here are some facts and tips for US tour operators who want to capitalize on the growing work-from-home population:
As we mentioned in our previous article about digital nomads, most remote workers who are travelling while still clocking in, aren’t spending all their savings to splurge on their once-a-year luxurious vacation trip at that time. They are working. While they travel.
Domestic remote workers may be saving compared to digital nomads on things like international airfare and visas. But unlike digital nomads, they won’t reap the benefits of the strength of the US dollar in another country. For this reason, you can count on domestic remote workers to seek out more affordable areas of the country to visit, places to stay, and travel during off-season times when rentals and accommodations are cheaper. Just as we mentioned in our workationer article, reviewing your rates or offering budget-friendly options that maybe aren’t as luxurious could appeal more to those work-from-homers looking to get out of the house for a week.
Along the same line, offering off-season pricing, self-guided or free tour options, and equipment rentals will appeal more to these budget-friendly do-it-yourself types of traveler. Check out our blogs on Getting Started With Self-Guided Tours and Boosting Your Tour Business Income By Offering Equipment Rentals(opens in a new tab) for more details.
Where are the most remote workers based in the US?
For the same reason remote workers might look to travel off-season and find budget friendly options while they travel, they are also likely to save on airfares and look for locations within driving distance to visit. According to CNBC’s research, California, Texas, New York, New Jersey, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Arizona, Colorado, and Washington are the states with the most remote work options. If your business is located here or within a day’s trip of one of these places, you’ve already got the market to appeal to! Route 50 also put together a list of the top cities for remote work(opens in a new tab).
Don’t live near one of the cities or states listed above? Appealing to those traveling and working can still benefit your US tour business! Though most remote workers do have a fixed residence, there’s also a growing trend of remote workers taking advantage of their ability to work anywhere and choosing to live on the road, traveling for months at a time.
For these more free-spirited travelers, having an established local presence could help you get their business, as they’ll ask locals around town for activity and business recommendations. Appealing to the locals in your area is always a good idea, and could have the added benefit of free word-of-mouth marketing for those travelers that just show up and ask around for something to do. Check out our blog Attracting Local Customers for more info!
When looking through testimonials and travel blogs of remote workers, something that always gets mentioned is how crucial internet access is in deciding where to go and stay.
Therefore, if you’re a tour operator that offers accommodation rentals, it’s worth investing in an excellent internet service and advertising it on your website. And even if your business doesn’t offer accommodation options, you can still appeal to remote workers by putting together a blog or info page highlighting local establishments that offer free Wi-Fi in your area.
In our workationer blog, we mention marketing in Facebook groups and keeping your social media up to date. The same advice applies for those US remote workers, whether they are looking to get out of town for a week or they’ve been traveling a region of the country for months. The vast majority of work from homers, work in tech! They are online all day and if they’re visiting a spot they’ve never been to, it’s safe to bet they are relying on the internet to decide where to stay and what to do there.
Invest in SEO
Investing in SEO is important for any business that wants to have an online presence and appear at the top of search engine results, and the same applies here! The easier you are to find in search results, the more potential customers will see your business and book with you. For advice on improving your SEO, check out our blogs on SEO solutions for tourism content marketing, Instagram SEO techniques for increasing reach(opens in a new tab), and how to use your blog to increase your SEO.
Build a Blog
Besides the benefits a blog can have for your website’s SEO, publishing a blog on your website with local recommendations could be a great resource for those remote workers visiting from out of town. Use your blog to share budget-friendly activities in the area, this could be a list of the best local coffee shops or restaurants, shared work spaces or libraries with free Wi-Fi, and other helpful lists for work-from-home visitors.
Connect With Your Target Audience
Similarly, put yourself in the mindset of one of these people, keeping in mind their priorities, and tailor your online presence with that in mind. Invest in and advertise your high-speed internet. Be active on Facebook groups for travelers and remote workers, Reddit forums, etc. Make use of keywords in your online content and share why your area is a great spot to visit for a remote worker, whether that’s offering amazing scenery, off-season pricing deals on accommodations, or unique activities.
There’s so much potential for this trend to grow further and be beneficial for the tourism industry, and it is best to be as prepared as possible by following our guide. And if you’re looking on improving your tour business’s online presence with a new website? Contact Tourism Tiger today to book a free consultation!
Find this article useful? Enter your details below to receive your FREE copy of 95 Epic Places To List Your Tours and receive regular updates from Tourism Tiger and leading industry experts.
By submitting this form, you agree to Tourism Tiger contacting you via email.