Whether it’s a client meeting or a conference, there’s plenty of opportunities for employees to travel for business. Many of these locations that employees visit also happen to be popular travel destinations.
Some popular conference locations – such as Las Vegas, New York, and Chicago – also happen to have many opportunities for tourism. Employees are mixing business with pleasure as the latest trend in travel grows.
Bleisure is the act of combining business travel with leisure travel. While Millenials are known for their interest in technology, most still enjoy doing business face-to-face, which often requires frequent business trips. However, even when Millenials have settled into the corporate world, the wanderlust is still alive.
As Millennials begin to take up a larger share of the workforce, the bleisure is becoming more common. Often, if the business needs end on a Friday, you might see a worker opt to postpone return travel a few days so they can stay for the weekend.
Benefits of Bleisure for Employees
Possibly one of the most significant benefits of bleisure travel is giving employees a better sense of work-life balance. Knowing that they have the opportunity to relax and see the sights around them gives workers a sense of fulfillment that they wouldn’t receive if they didn’t have that opportunity. The stress of business life can feel a lot better when employees have the freedom to enjoy the town they’re visiting.
Employees that travel frequently are often leaving their friends and family to spend time representing their company; the least they can do is take a couple of hours to unwind for themselves. Research also suggests that bleisure travel can have a positive impact on employees’ family lives. If a worker is more relaxed when they return from their trip, they’re less likely to bring the stress of their business into the home.
Younger generations are at a higher risk of burning out early. Frequent travel sounds enticing to a young go-getter, but too much of anything will eventually wear on someone. The precious extra few days of leisure help keep up morale.
Typically, when traveling for business, the employee is all about getting the job done. All of their free time revolves around attending sessions, meetings, networking, and – in their limited free time – filling paperwork and returning emails. Business travel employees recognize that when they’re traveling on the company dime, the expectation is to do company work. When they complete their work obligations, they jump back on a plane home.
A bleisure traveler will take the opportunity to work a few extra days into their travel. As companies strive to keep their employees happier and more engaged, business travel policies are adapting as well. It’s unlikely that companies will foot the bill for the travel and leisure part of a trip, but employees still might have the opportunity to take advantage of some business travel perks.
For example, many companies have special hotel rates negotiated with a network of hotels, giving them a discounted price. When employees book their hotels using the company travel arrangements, they have the opportunity to benefit from the discounted rate as well. These discounted rates can extend to rental cars and train rides also. When filing their expenses report, they will need to split nights spent on business travel and nights spent with personal travel.
Some employees may use their bleisure travel as an opportunity for a family trip. Frequent travel can wear on someone close with their family. Having the ability to bring their significant other and children with them will allow them to spend more quality time with their family that they may feel like they’re missing.
While Millennials are leading the charge, employees of all ages are taking advantage of bleisure travel. Initially, many companies thought of bleisure as a way to attract younger entry-level talent, more tenured and senior staff is taking advantage as well. Baby Boomers and Gen X make up over 30% of bleisure travelers.
As with any hospitality trend, hotels can take advantage of bleisure travelers and build advertising campaigns targeting them. Here are five hotel marketing tips to help hotels get started:
1. Promote Your Local Culture and Landmarks
Part of the appeal of bleisure travel is getting the opening to explore the city that you’re visiting. Travelers that come into your town are wanting to see what the hype is all about. If there is anything culturally significant, or any important sites that they can’t miss out on, be sure to let them know.
2. Know the Habits of Short Travelers
Even though they’re looking to experience a destination, many bleisure travelers are still on a tight schedule. Most of the time, they might only have one or two days to take in everything they can. Make sure that you’re providing a variety of activities with a variety of time requirements. Sure, some travelers might be really into hiking and would love to spend their free day going on a day-long hike. Other travelers may want to focus on fitting in as many experiences as possible. Think about things that might only take an hour or two – possibly less. Give travelers the chance to build their trip around their schedule.
It’s also worthwhile to remember that many of these travelers will be traveling solo. Consider advertising a variety of activities that are great experiences for groups and solo travelers.
3. Connect with Local Businesses
Strategic partnerships are a win-win-win situation for you, local businesses, and bleisure travels. When you work with these local businesses, you’re sending them people that are already excited to experience anything local.
When you work with these businesses, you might be able to secure a special restaurant or bar promotion to entice them to visit, and in turn, you get the bonus of giving a good recommendation.
4. Market Towards Business Conferences and Meetings
If your city frequently hosts conferences, it’s an opportunity to advertise to the guests that are already planning on being around. Consider approaching the conference organizers to see what opportunities they have for you to promote. Local hotels around convention centers are often looking to fill their check-in desks with local sites, which makes another excellent opportunity to advertise. Additional, hotel amenities like shuttle services to-and-from convention halls and business centers can help target the bleisure traveler.
5. Consider the Different Seasons
Business and bleisure travel will happen all year long. The activities and attractions in your area are likely to change with the seasons as well. There might be things done only in warm months or hosted specifically in fall and winter. Get specific and advertise all of the local events in your community during all seasons of the year.
Using Bleisure Travel to Your Advantage
Bleisure is a trend that isn’t going to go away any time soon. With the surge of companies placing a focus on employee satisfaction, more workers will begin taking advantage of the perks of bleisure travel.