Industry News

South Africa’s New Remote Work Visa Opens Doors for Accommodations to Profit from Digital Nomad Boom

NightsBridge, the top provider of online booking solutions for the hospitality industry in South Africa, welcomes the government’s approval of the Remote Work Visa as a game-changer for the hospitality industry. This move is set to boost the sector, opening doors for hotels, guesthouses, and holiday rentals to attract a new wave of international guests. Theresa Emerick, NightsBridge Managing Director, hails the visa as a significant opportunity for growth and innovation.
“This visa clears the way for South African properties to effectively engage the lucrative digital nomad demographic,” stated Emerick. “For those that cater to the unique needs of these globe-roaming professionals, it will pay dividends.”

The Remote Work Visa allows foreign remote workers earning over R1 million per year to legally work in South Africa for up to three years. With 17.3 million Americans identifying as digital nomads in 2023 according to Skift, and significant markets in the UK and Germany, the demand is surging. These countries are already top inbound markets for South Africa, and attracting this new demographic can significantly boost their growth.

“Digital nomads crave flexibility, new cultural experiences, and destinations with an appealing quality of life and low costs of living,” added Emerick. “South Africa checks all those boxes, putting us in pole position to become a hotspot for these professionals.”

Emerick recommends accommodation providers prepare offerings tailored for extended stays with dedicated workspaces, robust WiFi, and ample common areas. “Consider turning low-use rooms or areas into shared workspaces and add a bit of gym equipment on your premises if you can.”

She also encourages hotels, guesthouses and holiday rental owners to market to this segment:  “Prioritise promoting activities and lifestyle in your area, with a focus on the outdoors, fitness and wellness.  Show off our sunshine on your marketing materials when it’s cold and miserable where they are. Make sure you list on our partner platforms like Airbnb, Lekkeslaap and to reach the widest possible audience.”

 To stay competitive in this rapidly changing market, the hospitality industry needs to be ready to adapt to the changing needs of travellers. Other opportunities to boost revenue include catering to spontaneous travellers. The NightsBridge Quarter 1 2024 report noted a 2.5% increase in same-day bookings, mirroring the rise in spontaneous travel observed in other markets. “Short-term rentals and promotions are fuelling this appetite for spontaneity, aided by mobile technology that makes booking on the go easier than ever,” commented Emerick.

Additionally, there is an emerging trend of group getaways, including multigenerational family trips and large friend groups. From Q1 2023 to Q1 2024, NightsBridge recorded a 2.93% increase in bookings for groups of 3-5 adults, and a significant 6.75% rise in bookings for groups of 6 or more adults. Notably, these figures escalated further from Q4 2023 to Q1 2024, with a 2.33% growth in 3-5 adult groups and a remarkable 13.71% increase in the 6+ adult segment.

“Change is constant, but those who proactively evolve with the trends will emerge as frontrunners,” Emerick concluded. “Continuous innovation and a willingness to adapt to meet the demands of new market segments will be the key to unlocking success for hospitality businesses.”

About NightsBridge 

NightsBridge is a technology company that links accommodation establishments to the websites that sell their room nights. We provide a bridge between properties and their potential guests, offering realtime availability across multiple booking sites and agents. Our solutions make it easy for accommodation owners to manage everything from bookings to invoicing and marketing. As a South African homegrown product, NightsBridge is recognised internationally as the largest inventory of bed-nights in Africa. In the market for 19 years, our world-class software is backed up by exceptional, local customer service, which has grown our client base to 10,000 properties in 41 countries.

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