Airbnb CEO Says To Prepare For The ‘Great Convergence’ That Will Blur Work, Life, And Vacation
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The pandemic has changed nearly everything, and many things are unrecognizable. The pandemic significantly changed the work environment, ushering in a wave of remote workers. While working at home offers numerous advantages, it also has a multitude of drawbacks. One of the disadvantages of working from home is the lack of separation between your work and regular life. A new phenomenon is that people are combining their work, life, and vacation in what is being called “The Great Convergence.”
What Is The Great Convergence?
Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky revealed in a recent interview that there is a Great Convergence, or an intersection of work, life, and vacation. Airbnb – the online marketplace for vacation rentals – have experienced a new trend of people using their vacation rentals for combining work and vacation.
Derek Thompson – a staff writer for The Atlantic – has “a pet theory that computers, knowledge work, and remote work are all producing a ‘Great Convergence’ of work and life.”
Chesky agreed with Thompson that there is a blurring of the lines between work, life, and vacation. He provided some metrics and trends on Airbnb to which he believed the Great Convergence is happening.
He told The Atlantic, “A home used to be a place for people to just live. But if it’s a place to live, or work, or be on vacation, then people can work from many homes if they want. Our relationship to our homes is changing.”
Data Shows A Change In Vacation Rentals
Chesky said that customers are renting for a longer period of time.
“Twenty percent of our nights booked now are for 28 days or longer,” Chesky said. “Half of our stays are for a week or longer. These are big increases from before the pandemic, and I think it’s related to the fact that people don’t have to go back to the office.”
“Another data point we’re seeing is an increase in people traveling with pets, as people are staying longer,” he added. “Use of the Wi-Fi filter on Airbnb has increased by 55 percent since before the pandemic, so people obviously care more about their Wi-Fi connection, and they want to verify the speed of the internet if they’re doing Zooms.”
“Another data point is that Mondays and Tuesday are the fastest-growing days of the week for travel,” Chesky explained. “More people are treating ordinary weekends like long holiday weekends. This is also part of the flexibility afforded by remote work.”
“Finally, we’re seeing more people traveling nearby,” he continued. “We’ve seen a large increase in stays within 200 miles or less, which is basically a tank of gas. People are taking more extended staycations.”
Chesky also pointed out that larger rentals are being rented more often. He also noted that group sizes are increasing.
“One thing that’s happening is that as people seek longer stays to both work and relax, they want more space, more bedrooms, and a more equipped home,” he added. “For those purposes, a studio apartment in Manhattan doesn’t look as good as a larger house in a smaller city or suburb. People care relatively more about space, not just place.”
Working On Vacation Allows More Flexibility
The Airbnb CEO said renters are more flexible to get the best deal possible, and location isn’t as important as it once was.
“If you go to Airbnb now, we have a big button that says ‘I’m flexible’ that’s been used 500 million times,” he said. “This feature helps us point demand where we have supply. People used to choose the destination first. But now, for many, the home is the destination. People seem a bit more agnostic about where and when they’re traveling as long as they can find a big place with space to stay with family and friends.”
Chesky attributed remote work as the main reason why larger spaces are being prioritized.
“We’ve seen a huge rise in people traveling to small towns and rural communities and national parks,” he stated. “I have many theories for this. When national borders are closed and museums are closed, you don’t go to Paris or other major cities. So people travel locally instead.”
As far as the future of work-influenced vacation, Chesky said he believes “travel will become a little less seasonal” because people will have more flexibility by working on vacation.
[Photo by Asad Photo Maldives from Pexels]