Combining business and leisure travel has become a hot trend that is reshaping the business travel market and has the potential to bring ample revenue to the travel & tourism industry. In recent years, this trend has come to be known as “bleisure” travel.
Here’s a look into the trend.
How Popular Is “Bleisure” Travel?
The trend of mixing business and leisure trips has been steadily growing. In a 2016 study conducted by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) 67% of Northern American Business travellers indicated that it was important to add leisure to a trip in 2016. 37% of those respondents reported taking a “bleisure” trip.
The GBTA also found that millennials (aged 25-35) were the most likely to take a “bleisure” trip and stay at a location for longer after their business commitments. 48% of millennials surveyed reported that they took a mixed business and leisure trip.
Where Does “Bleisure” Travel Happen?
There is a direct relationship between longer distances and bleisure rates. Travelers going to a nearby location are much less likely to engage in “bleisure” travel. Other factors such as the attractiveness of a city for leisure travel also play key roles. Examining this further was a survey by Expedia and Luth Research, where they ranked major American cities according to their bleisure attractiveness.
What’s Driving The Trend?
There are several factors propelling this trend forward. Firstly, we can look to a change in corporate culture and a move towards more flexibility and work-life balance. With more companies offering flex hours and remote working arrangements, it’s no surprise that business travel is also going in the same direction.
According to recent research by Booking.com, 30 percent of employees admit they would take a lower paying position if it guaranted they could travel more for business.
A second major factor driving this trend is that the concept of “bleisure” allows business travellers to offset some of their own personal travel costs - both an efficient use of time, as well as money. This is especially true of longer haul flights.
“Bleisure” travel also allows business travellers to minimize the effects of jet lag, and recover before their next flight. This may even prove to be an incentive for corporations to encourage bleisure travel among employees. Research conducted in Britain by the Social Market Foundation and the University of Warwick’s Centre for Competitive Advantage in the Global Economy, shows that happy employees are proven to be up to 20% more productive.
How Can Travel & Tourism Providers Take Advantage Of The "Bleisure" Trend
Since the “bleisure” trend is showing no signs of slowing down, it’s now the perfect time to start capitalizing on mixed business and leisure travellers. Here are some tips to help you book more of these valuable customers.
#1 Offer Weekend & Off-Hour Discounts
Business travellers are mostly still working standard work hours. Consider offering discounts to business travellers for off-peak hours or creating a special business traveller discount.
For example, the Universal Orlando Resort in Florida offers special rates for business travellers visiting the park in the afternoon or evening.
#2 Team Up With Other Travel & Tourism Companies
For hotels and accommodation providers, consider promoting leisure activities offered in your area and team up with local attractions such as galleries, stadiums, and museums. Don’t forget to also promote your own leisure activities such as spas, massages, music and speciality restaurants.
#3 Offer Constant Connection
In today’s digital world, providing wifi access and charging ports for a variety of devices is important to “bleisure” travellers.
Just because business travellers are taking extra leisure time, it most likely does not mean they will be completely disconnected from work.
Providing them with wifi and the opportunity to keep connected with help encourage them to visit your attraction or spend more time in a location.
#4 Extend Conference Rates a Few Days Before & After An Event
For accommodation providers, extending discounted conference rates for several days before and after a conference can greatly help encourage a longer stay. Leisure travellers are generally much more price sensitive than business travellers since “bleisure” travellers pay for the personal part of their journey by themselves. Other tourism providers can also take advantage by offering conference-branded discounts before and after events.
Combining business and leisure is only going to increase as work becomes more flexible and the lines between business and personal time continue to blur. This makes “bleisure” a fantastic solution for travellers to make the most of their time and money.