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NEW YORK — Is the “hush workcation” the new vacation trend? It turns out that plenty of people are taking remote work to its limits. Nearly a third of Americans admit they’ve worked remotely while on vacation without telling their bosses.

A poll of 2,000 employed Americans — split evenly among travelers and hotel workers — found that 52 percent would use their vacation travels as a chance to work remotely, and 29 percent have done so without notifying anyone at work.

On a positive note, close to four in 10 (39%) explain that they kept working while traveling because they simply like what they do for a job. Meanwhile, others would work on vacation to hit an important work deadline that overlapped with their vacation time (28%) or to save on using their PTO (26%). For many others, traveling for work opens the door to other opportunities: nearly half (48%) have extended their work trips, turning them into mini vacations after the job is done.

Commissioned by Mews, a hospitality cloud system, and conducted by OnePoll, the study reveals that four in five working Americans would be willing to work remotely from their hotel. While working from the comfort of one’s hotel room is the top preference (69%), a quarter of respondents said they would prefer to work remotely from the hotel pool or spa, and another 25 percent would head for a hotel bar or restaurant

Three in four travelers (74%) and hotel workers (75%) agree that Americans are prioritizing travel more this year than last. Seventy-nine percent are planning all their travels for the year “as soon as they possibly can” and estimate they’ll take a total of 11 trips in 2024. All of this jet-setting includes three vacations, three family trips, three work trips, and two “bleisure” trips — combining business with leisure.

Man talking on phone before boarding airplane
52% would use their vacation travels as a chance to work remotely, and 29% have done so without notifying anyone at work. (© Prostock-studio – stock.adobe.com)

Hotel workers are prepared for this vacation-fill year — claiming that guests traveling for work or “bleisure” are the easiest to cater to (83% and 76%, respectively). They anticipate the guests will tip more (39%), extend their stay more frequently (38%), and use hotel amenities more often (31%) in the year ahead.

Nearly a third of guests stated a perfect hotel would have keyless room entry (34%) and in-room smart home devices (43%), and roughly one in four would prefer mobile room entry (27%) and digital ordering (24%). The study also found that hotel workers anticipate guests will use technology more in 2024, with many workers expecting them to check in more frequently using a hotel website, app, or digital kiosk compared to previous years.

More than 40 percent of travelers stated they prefer to check in using these high-tech methods, and nearly 80 percent would be willing to stay at a hotel that had a completely automated front desk or self-service kiosk. A third (36%) admitted they have turned to AI for recommendations while booking vacations.

“Technology enables our teams to gather robust guest information before they arrive at one of our locations, which empowers our customer service teams to create unique ‘excite and delight’ opportunities for guests, resulting in powerful moments and lifelong memories for our guests,” says Ryan Krukar, VP sales & marketing at Gravity Haus, in a statement. “Identifying and understanding a guest’s needs before they arrive at one of our locations and going above and beyond for guests is key in delivering authentic hospitality and provides additional value and comfort while simultaneously immersing a guest in the unique culture of the destination they are visiting.”

The study also found that the vast majority of hotel staff surveyed (85%) saw locals come to their hotel just to use the amenities, often to get access to the hotel pool (47%), restaurants (43%), lobby (39%), gym (31%), and parking (26%).

“The most innovative hotels are moving away from a room-centric vision of hospitality into one which embraces experiences, communities, and lifetime brand relationships,” explains Richard Valtr, the founder of Mews. “They offer different spaces and amenities, from coworking to yoga classes and bike rental, paying close attention to what each guest needs.”

“We love it when hotels use technology to solve their operational pain points and create immersive and truly remarkable guest experiences.”    

Survey methodology:

This random double-opt-in survey of 1,000 American travelers and 1,000 American hotel workers was commissioned by Mews Systems, Inc. between January 30 and February 8, 2024. It was conducted by market research company OnePoll, whose team members are members of the Market Research Society and have corporate membership to the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) and the European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR).

About Patrisha Antonaros

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