Working with Design Hotels last year, we identified the emergence of the Promadic Traveller – an evolution of the digital nomad, newly driven by a fresh, self-actualising impulse, seeking purpose and progress when travelling. Promadic Travellers are increasingly intentional, responsible and want to leave a positive impact on the destinations they visit.
For Schreyer, the pandemic has accelerated their emergence. ‘The pandemic has given us an opportunity to pause and reflect. Travellers will make conscious decisions when embarking on trips, with travel increasingly about learning, sharing, contributing to the community and a cause. As a result, travellers want to understand how hotels, experiences and destinations are contributing to a purpose and how they can contribute.’
But the impact of the pandemic will also serve to reveal a new kind of Promadic Traveller – the Slowmad. Looking for residences that are at once office, hotel and community hub, the Slowmads will be working remotely and highly connected, but travelling at a deliberately decelerated pace to allow them to embrace collective and individual wellbeing. Unlike their entrepreneurial predecessors, Slowmads may be supported by an employer and hail from professions that were not traditionally allowed such freedom from the office – those in finance, law or tech. As such, a new market for older, professional travellers seeking to explore longer stays could arise.
This counter-movement of slow tourism was already gathering pace pre-pandemic, and now working conditions are such for enough people that it can be embraced en masse. It should also be recognised that continuing travel restrictions may temporarily restrict this future to limited destinations – but nonetheless it still represents a fundamental transformation, and a more hopeful and considered future for travel too – one that gives back to destinations, rather than takes.
As the prescient Holly Friend, senior foresight writer at The Future Laboratory, wrote in these pages a year ago: ‘When we come through [the pandemic], let’s hope that humankind will nurture a greater appreciation of the travel experience, stripping back their holidays to basic, slower, more meaningful, purposeful trips that empower the local economy.’ We are almost there, and brands should act now to harness this opportunity, ensuring that when the time does come, they can deliver the New Extra-ordinary to travellers with new expectations.
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