We all know the stereotype. If we younger generations don't have our precious internet, we turn into hissing gremlins of doom. But that "truth" might be a little more fiction than fact given the results of Airbnb Plus' new survey on travel.
The surprising results.
The Airbnb Plus survey had three key findings noteworthy for entrepreneurs and leaders:
1. People would rather have more comforts, such as super soft sheets, than an internet connection. 59 percent in the U.S., 46 percent in Australia, and 39 percent in Italy said air conditioning was the most important indoor amenity, beating WiFi and full kitchens.
2. Functionality is the highest valued amenity trait (43 percent), followed by thoughtfulness, e.g., leaving guests a bottle of wine (29 percent).
3. Even though people will put the internet aside, the "cool factor" matters to Millennials (12 percent), with 58 percent saying social-media-worthy accommodations are a major factor when booking a stay.
Amber Cartwright, Global Design Lead for Airbnb Plus, translates the data and dissects what's driving the findings.
"When traveling, people want to escape their everyday lives of emails and notifications and immerse themselves in a new place far from reality. Instead of connectivity, they prefer a comfortable place to call home with thoughtful touches that represent the local community, which are both amenities Airbnb Plus hosts provide."
Cartwright also interprets the desire for share-worthy locations as more than just the desire to keep up with the Joneses.
"Though the 'shareability' factor with friends and family is a motivation," Cartwright says, "it's no surprise that amenities that look incredible on social media--like infinity pools with a view, or a kitchen fit for a chef--also make for an exceptional stay."
In other words, it all ties back to the trend of an emphasis on memorable experience. Travelers blow up their Instagram feed with pictures of material stuff not to show off, but because the amenities affect the story of the trip, shaping what the travelers do and remember.
The big picture.
So what can you take away from this, as people on your team start calling airlines and hotels?
- For real vacations, leave... people... alone. Workers are desperate to simplify and get away from responsibilities for a little while. Stop sending emails or asking them to get on your chat platform.
- If employees are traveling for their jobs, they'll appreciate you finding accommodations where they're treated better than robots. Make the effort to find locations where people can feel welcome and at home, as that makes them happier and more relaxed, so they actually can be productive for you. As Cartwright summarizes, "never underestimate the power of a personal touch", whether that's for your partners, employees, or customers.
- Don't be surprised when team members tell you they're going to locations that don't immediately come to mind as vacation destinations. According to Cartwright, because people are willing to unplug, they're increasingly booking stays in more remote places, where they can fully reset. They'll appreciate it if you do a little research to suggest some more far-flung possibilities, so they can see what's out there. Maybe you could even offer incentives or a contest for employees who go somewhere they've never been. While you don't necessarily want to insist they do word-of-mouth advertising for you while they're away, encourage them to make connections that could grow your business later on, wherever they visit.
As you chew on this data, take to heart that the majority of people in the United States still struggle to use the vacation time given to them. Even though they want to get away and perhaps even recognize the mental and physical benefits of doing so, they still feel pressured to stay nose-to-the-grindstone 24/7. If you can model breaks yourself, if you can work mandatory time off into policy to show vacations are safe, do it. Use the information above not only to provide amazing, restorative trips, but to expand your company, too.