This article was written by our featured guest blogger: Derek Smith, Strategic Consultant at Word. Creative Consultants
A lot will change in five short years. While Canada’s Travel and Hospitality industries recover, its saviour may very well be an entirely new breed of tourist.
Years ago, Rise Up Strategies and I found ourselves diving head first into the rapidly growing world of digital nomads. People from around the globe embracing location-independent, technology-enabled lifestyles by working remotely and travelling anywhere in the Internet-connected world.
How will Canada harness the full economic impact of the next digital nomad wave?
On my first morning in Puerto Escondido, I walked into a small garage space split in half by a thin wall. One side of the wall was a tiny Mexican movie theatre with six plastic chairs. The other side was a coffee shop and a bookstore loaded with gringos working on laptops and soaking up the Wi-Fi.
I didn’t know it at the time, but in 2012 those people were part of the first wave of an evolving nomad. A new type of professional traveller connected by technology, fueled by caffeine and driven by their thirst to explore and experience new things on a regular basis.
I will never forget that experience.
As this wave grew, I found myself swept up and championing the people creating these communities. New and seasoned nomads began to host professional development and personal wellness activities to anyone looking to join.
Digital Nomad hubs began to pop up all around the world and I began to live amongst them, working with clients to build and sustain communities in Asia and Europe. I began to understand their needs, desires and expectations.
Not surprisingly, their criteria continued to evolve.
Initially, the expectations from nomads were simple – affordable living costs, high-speed internet and personal safety. Then, they began to seek better air quality, walkability, activities, events, networking, quality of life, culture, family-friendly, LGBTQ+ friendly, nightlife, healthy cuisine, places to work from, etc.
It became common for leading hubs to offer an in-person community of like-minded remote workers, access to inclusive events, lists of nomad-ready accommodations & amenities, online communities and event calendars with activities designed to imprint lasting memories in a traveller’s mind.
A smart man once told me…
When someone first arrives in a foreign place, the best way to capture their attention is by giving them an experience they’ll never forget!
- Paragliding the cliffs of Slovenia
- Scuba diving the waters of Indonesia
- Salsa dancing in the streets of Colombia
Whatever it is, it’s out-of-the-ordinary. It’s something new and bombastic you can only associate with that location.
Capture nomads with memorable experiences and then offer opportunities to better themselves with fitness, workshops, professional masterminds and international networking.
You can find people flocking to these international hubs, like the one on Portugal’s Madeira Island, to work remotely, meet new people and experience colourful events like The Nomad Escape’s Island Fest 2021:
The most successful hubs offer unforgettable experiences and if Canada wants to feel the full economic impact of the next digital nomad wave, it’s time to assess, invite and welcome this new breed of tourist.
Where does Canada go from here? Here are a few thoughts.
Assess, Offer & Invite.
- An assessment of Canada’s leading destinations needs to be implemented to determine where digital nomads will want to go. The entire country is a goldmine of world-class experiences, so this will prove to be an exciting journey.
2. Offer a clear invitation and provide a hub with:
- Access to an in-person community.
- Exclusive professional, social events & dinners.
- Trusted community leaders & a local point-of-contact.
- Working spaces w/ amenities (co-working, printers, food, coffee, etc.).
- High-speed internet.
- Convenient, cost-effective, local monthly accommodation.
- Online communities for private offers, important information and retention.
- Events with professional speakers, masterminds & skillshares.
- Weekday & weekend activities – local specialities, hiking, skiing, biking, water sports, cultural activities, road trips, skydiving, social parties and much more.
3. Broadcast the invitation and roll out the red carpet to experience the evolving nomad.
My name is Derek Smith, Strategic Consultant at Word. Creative Consultants and partner with Rise Up Strategies. I’ve been a digital nomad for the better part of the last decade. I’ve shaped actionable strategies and built Digital Nomad communities in Asia and Europe since 2016.
These creations have seen people from around the world gather to work, connect and successfully expand their personal, professional and cultural development.
As a Host & Master of Ceremonies, I’m a prominent voice in the digital nomad lifestyle industry. I am among a select group of professionals with direct experience collecting, curating and engaging with international remote workers.