APAC travellers embrace work-from-anywhere as they rediscover new work-life rhythms

The pandemic has redefined travel, with travel trends showing how the past two years have not only changed how people travel, but why. Hilton’s latest survey revealed that the line between work and personal trips has become increasingly blurred – with vacation time increasingly being added to work trips. This signals a need to establish new rhythms of rest and reconnecting, emphasising why now, more than ever, it matters where you stay.

The survey was conducted with nearly 6,000 respondents across Singapore, Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and India.

With vacation time increasingly being added to work trips, many feel the need to disconnect in order to focus on their well-being

“Our study shows that work trips are not only extended for extra down-time, but leisure travel also needs to be flexible and connected enough to allow for an element of remote working or working from anywhere,” said Ben George, senior vice president and commercial director, Hilton, Asia Pacific.

“More than ever, this puts the spotlight on the stay itself and what the hotel experience can offer in totality. When you need to produce an inspiring presentation while on the move, it matters where you stay – the environment, food, amenities make all the difference.”

Blurring lines between work and life
The rise of remote working during the pandemic has accelerated an always-on culture, resulting in a greater want and need among employees to disconnect from constant video conferencing and the incessant ping of messaging apps. 43% of Indonesian and Malaysian travellers say they want to disconnect from work, but among them 95% and 81% still spend some time working while travelling with family.

Employed respondents from Singapore (66%) and Australia (64%) cannot seem to switch off their work mode, despite saying they would like to. There is also the added stress of guilt associated with responding to work emails while on vacation, according to over half of the respondents in Indonesia (59%), Australia (58%), Malaysia (57%), and Singapore (54%), as well as 55% of Thai respondents who travel with younger family members.

Remote working from stunning locations
At the same time, there is emerging preference among travellers to make the most of the remote working flexibility that more companies are now offering. Across the region, gainfully employed respondents would choose to do some form of work while travelling, with India (98%) ranked at the top, followed by Thailand and Indonesia (95%), Malaysia (81%), Singapore (65%), and Australia (64%).

This corresponds with extended stays at hotels, and Hilton’s booking data recorded an increase of up to two days in the average length of stay from 2019 to 2022 in Asia-Pacific – with Singapore and Bangkok taking the lead at five and four days, respectively.

Switch on, switch off
Switching off? It matters where you stay. While travelling has always been an avenue for adventure, there has been a renewed desire among respondents to stay in and wind down — rather than to head out for more strenuous activities.

Across all Asia-Pacific markets surveyed, respondents chose sitting by the pool or the beach, booking a relaxing spa treatment, and taking a nap as among their top preferred activities to do if they had time to themselves on vacation.

Whether this is a mindset nurtured from years of multiple lockdowns, or fatigue from the stressors and uncertainty of the pandemic, it is clear that well-being is a priority for the 2022 traveller in order to be freed from the pressure of being always switched-on.

This highlights the importance of considering where you stay — where guests are taken care of to afford them the freedom to focus on what matters: whether it is to work, relax, or enjoy the best of both worlds.

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