The problem of keeping your “silent trips” from your boss
Remote workers don’t always want to divulge their location to employers, and a growing number of them are taking what are called “discreet trips.”
Who to blame them? Hospitality brands are making it easier than ever to work from anywhere, from better equipped offices to attractive prices. Add to that rising housing costs in most cities, the temptation is just a click away. Forbes even gives them advice on how to be the new travel trend in 2023.
But with the ongoing debate over who should return to office and a recession on the horizon, experts warn the phenomenon is not healthy for either party.
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USA-based vacation rental management company Great welcome is one of many hospitality companies to see an increase in discreet travel.
“We have guests checking in for unusually long periods. The average length of stay in Lake Tahoe was four or five days, but people check in for 10 days,” said CEO Brandon Ezra. “In many cases it’s a vacation, in some cases you can just say it’s someone checking in, settling in and just hanging out.”
Grand Welcome operates 1,000 properties in 50 locations, but aims to reach 3,000 properties in 150 locations by the end of the year. Airbnb, which Grand Welcome uses as a distribution channel, also saw stays longer than 28 days fastest growing as a segment.
The impetus behind silent travel is the fact that the pandemic has given people a chance to taste flexibility and rethink their priorities, according to Sahara Rose De Vore, founder of The travel coach network.
“People value their time and happiness more than ever, and that reflects in the workplace,” she said. The pandemic has also burned many employees, so now more job seekers want to find a company that values their personal, mental, emotional goals, overall well-being, and time, while wanting a job that satisfies them.
Responsibility is placed firmly at the corporate level, as staff feel uncomfortable sharing the fact that they are on the go while working.
“The reason remote workers feel compelled to take low-key trips is because they don’t know how they will be viewed by their company,” added Rose De Vore. “Do they really work? Do they take the job seriously enough? Will HR approve them to work from this lesser-known destination? Will they still be in the running for a promotion?
She also thinks silent travel is related to why many employees, especially in the United States, don’t use all of their vacation days.
“What companies should embrace is the value that travel has on the mental and general well-being of their employees as well as their personal growth. All of this has a direct impact on their work performance and employee morale. company,” said Rose De Vore.
As a result, work culture needs to be more clearly defined, argues another expert. Discreet travel is a sign that companies need to create a culture that grows a person beyond their professional career.
“It can be done in many ways beyond silent travel. Leadership and HR teams need to understand why talent makes silent journeys — for experiences and personal growth,” said Jessica Kriegel, chief workplace culture scientist at Cultural partners.
“The highest leaders will monitor if employees are underperforming due to silent travel and then intervene if necessary. If they are smart, HR managers will take advantage of the trend and make it a policy to retain and attract talent,” she added.
A remote worker said a tip is read local news and follow the weather in order to trick people into thinking they got nowhere. But leading a double life will have adverse consequences, warns Kriegel. “If employees keep secrets, it means they lack psychological safety, which is a problem,” she said.
As hospitality companies like Selina focus on the corporate market and Inspirato recently revamped its business-to-business websitelegitimate workcation still remains a largely untapped market.
“Hotels change hands, brands enter new markets” reads the January 18 headline of Skift’s Daily Lodging Report. There’s plenty of activity as travel rebounds, and with that a proliferation of new names to contend with.
This week, Skift explored why hotel companies keep adding hotel brands. The report stems from a recent flurry of new launches, including Spark by Hilton. More recently Accor unveiled Manuscriptits latest push to tap into the growing lifestyle market.
The major hotel groups must continue to adapt to new desires and tastes, but is there a risk of saturation of the brands to come, in particular for corporate travel managers who must follow the latest launches? They will need to factor this into their programs and policies, whether reaching out to employees who want to be seen on the cutting edge of technology or offering it to staff as a perk of the job.
There is another problem on the horizon: the names themselves. Hotels obviously want to stand out, and some more than others in their creativity. At the start of the year, the Trigano family, which founded the Mamma Shelter chain (later bought by Accor), launched a brand called Oh baby. It aims to reinvent the budget hotel, with French designer Philippe Starck lending a hand.
Hyatt meanwhile has just signed a hotel called “First name” to its JdV (“joie de vivre”) collection of independent properties. The hotel, in Bordeaux, France, is described as a “celebration of life and wellness experiences.”
A 2018 Skift article asked if hotel companies can have too many brands? The answer was a resounding no from Tina Edmundson of Marriott International. “It’s like being too skinny or too rich,” she says.
Maybe it’s time to ask that question again.
10 second catch up on business trips
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Gray Dawes Group acquires an Australian agency
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Altido is growing in the business travel sector
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