I had always imagined the term ‘promadic’ to have originated from the combination of ‘professional’ and ‘nomadic’, invoking images of bearded gentlemen herding their livestock from one pasture to the next, in time with the changing seasons, adding professionalism with Google Maps and carefully crafted itineraries to maximize grazing efficiency as they go. However, I sincerely doubt whether these are the promads hotels are seeking to attract, so perhaps the components of the term should instead be reversed to make ‘nomadic professionals’. That would seem more plausible. People with proper skills, qualifications, and jobs, but with the ability to move around the world, working wherever the fancy takes them.

Individuals who fit this description certainly do exist, and marketing researchers have already taken steps to define their characteristics and behaviors in greater detail. After all, once we understand their needs and habits, we can more easily profit by offering them an attractive environment in which they can thrive.

Anthropologists have so far determined that promadic travelers are, above all, ‘digital savvy’. That is, their migration patterns extend only as far as the Wi-Fi coverage, upon which they rely for their work, their travel, and their very survival. The basic strategy for hoteliers here should be obvious, but in addition to a fast and reliable internet connection, a lot more thought can be given to furniture. Due to the inherent shortcomings of human physiology, balancing a laptop on a bedside table and propping yourself up with pillows on the bed is not a sustainable long-term approach. You wouldn’t try to house a chimpanzee without giving it something tall and sturdy to climb on (a tire on a rope seems to do the trick), so don’t think of housing a promad without appropriate and adjustable chairs, desks, and charging outlets.

According to experts, the digital savviness of promads gives hoteliers an opportunity to ‘leverage technology, social media, and digital marketing’ to connect directly with this target demographic. So if you were planning to print something off for the travel agent’s window, think again! The experts go on to say that you can also attract promads by ‘developing user-friendly apps and websites for easy booking’, which is highly counterintuitive because I would have thought that promads have precisely the necessary tech skills to navigate poorly designed interfaces based on obsolete software. They probably even enjoy the challenge.

Promads also demand travel ‘flexibility’, by which I think they mean discounts for stays longer than a month. The actual length of stay will depend upon the visa policies of the destination country, and the extent to which the ‘professional’ part of their nomadic lifestyle can keep them afloat. Importantly, flexibility also involves the ability to end their stay at the drop of a hat, without incurring financial penalties.

The next key characteristic of the promad is their tendency to seek ‘cultural immersion’, and their preference for authentic experiences and integration into the local community. Hoteliers inevitably struggle with authenticity. If people like antiques, you can’t legitimately meet that demand by setting up a factory to produce them. Authenticity presents a similar problem, and it may need a hands-off approach. What you definitely can do, however, is to provide as much accessible information as possible about what’s going on in your locality, where to go, and what to do. Partnerships with other local businesses, clubs, organizations, charities, and so forth can give the promadic customer a better opportunity to get involved in local life. Language classes are also a great idea, while arranging co-working spaces where promads are encouraged to meet each other and share ideas can also increase their likelihood of making the most of their time in the destination.

Experts have also reported that promads attach great significance to the ‘work-life balance’. It is claimed that, just like ordinary people, they like to ‘balance their professional commitments with leisure and exploration’. They can achieve this by structuring their days so that only a part of the time is focused on productive work, while the remainder is set aside for activities such as eating, grocery shopping, meeting friends, sleeping, or hobbies. They might also set aside one or two days a week when they choose not to work at all! This provides the perfect time to relax and re-charge, or to explore further afield.

Finally, researchers have discovered that promadic travelers are keenly aware of ‘sustainable travel’ practices, while maintaining year-round travel habits. Hoteliers might therefore like to focus on promoting practices which ostensibly save the planet. For example, changing the towels and bedsheets less often has obviously been a gamechanger in this area; the Gen Z traveler now thinks nothing of getting at least two weeks out of a single towel these days, and longer if it’s not a white one. Organizing community clean-up days where the promads are assigned to litter duty not only appeals to their eco-sensibilities but also promotes local integration.

If you’re reading all this and have come to the conclusion that promadic travelers are the future, and you want to position yourself at the forefront of this burgeoning travel revolution, what should you do next?

The first step is to ask yourself whether your hotel is in Bali, Surabaya, or Leeds, because ultimately there are places promads go to, places promads haven’t thought about, and places promads escape from. If your hotel is in Leeds you’ll be needing specialist advice which is beyond the scope of this article. If you are in Bali, you will already be promoting your own property to compete with rivals in trying to meet an existing demand. But if you are in Surabaya, along with many, many other places around the world, the second step is to try to create interest in the destination, boosting awareness by informing the target audience of the unique benefits and experiences your city can provide. The use of influencer marketing is one of the best ways to make the first move to sell the destination, and it can place the associated hotel in prime position to take advantage of the demand which is created.