Bleisure travel – the combination of business and leisure travel – is growing and this has led to heightened interest from the hotel industry itself, with hotels looking to appeal to bleisure travellers. In this article, you will find seven tips that can help to make accommodation more attractive to this emerging and increasingly important demographic.
- What is the Meaning of Bleisure?
- Who is the Bleisure Traveller?
- What Are the Benefits of Bleisure?
- Bleisure; a Growing Market
- 7 Tips for Hotels Looking to Attract More Bleisure Travellers
- Tips to Attract More Corporate Travellers to Your Hotel
- The Latest Business Travel Trends Business Travellers Desire
- More Tips Regarding Business Travel
What is the Meaning of Bleisure?
‘Bleisure’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘business’ and ‘leisure’ and, with this in mind, bleisure travel refers to the concept of combining professional business travel with personal leisure time. It will often take the form of a business traveller extending the duration of their trip, in order to include time for leisure activities.
In many ways, it can be seen as a compromise between business and leisure time. In some circles, a bleisure trip is also referred to as a ‘bizcation’, which is a portmanteau of “business” and “vacation”. Bleisure travel may also include a business traveller bringing along a travel companion who is not directly connected to the business.
Who is the Bleisure Traveller?
With the rise of the bleisure traveller, efforts have been made to understand who the phenomenon appeals to.
According to an article published by Forbes (1), younger workers are more likely to take bleisure trips than older ones. However, interestingly, there is not a huge generational divide here. Millennials make 38 percent of bleisure trips, with Baby Boomers and Gen Xers accounting for 31 percent each. This suggests bleisure holds universal appeal.
In terms of occupation, a study from Expedia Group (2) and Luth Research found that the most common industries for bleisure travellers were technology, healthcare, public admin/government and manufacturing. The most common duration of a bleisure trip was two nights (42 percent), with the next most common being three nights (29 percent).
Gender is another factor to consider when analysing who a typical bleisure traveller is. Research carried out by CWT (3) found that women engaging in business travel are actually slightly more likely to take bleisure trips than men are. However, this is counter-balanced by the fact that men are more likely to take business trips in the first place.
Although bleisure travel opens up the possibility of taking a travel companion, a survey by Great Hotels of the World found that 44 percent (4) of respondents said they took their bleisure trips solo. This means hotels targeting bleisure travellers need to cater for both solo travellers and travellers who may be accompanied by a friend or business partner.
Finally, a significant number of bleisure travellers downplay the enjoyment had during their business trips. According to the National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey (5), 46 percent of Millennials avoid telling their bosses about personal activities, while 40 percent of Gen Xers feel they should avoid telling others too.
What Are the Benefits of Bleisure?
For business travellers, bleisure trips offer a number of benefits, including improved morale and increased overall enjoyment of business trips. They also provide opportunities to save on travel expenses, as the business travel element is paid for by the business. This can offer the possibility of a holiday to people who are otherwise unable to take one.
Businesses are also able to benefit from bleisure travel, because happier employees are more productive and the opportunity to enjoy leisure activities can mean employees who may otherwise feel unwilling to travel for the company become willing to do so. The employee pays for extending the trip and the leisure activities they participate in, so bleisure is usually no more costly. It also allows business travellers to better understand the locations they travel to.
Meanwhile, for the travel industry, the rise of bleisure opens up the possibility of business travel guests extending their stays in hotels, and subsequently spending more money over the duration of their trip.
The aforementioned Forbes article also points out that 10 percent of all business trips are bleisure trips, while 16 percent of all business trip hotel bookings now include a Saturday stay, indicating the possibility of leisure time or trip extensions. Additionally, according to Statista (6), overall business travel is increasing year on year.
This information shows that the bleisure phenomenon is a potentially lucrative market, which is growing and likely to become a greater focus for those in the hotel industry in the months and years ahead.
For those in the hotel industry, bleisure travellers represent an exciting and rewarding new market to secure business from, which is why so many hotel managers and owners are interested in attracting as many of them as possible. Below, you will find seven specific hotel management tips that can assist with this aim.
According to National Car Rental’s 2019 State of Business Travel Survey, 93 percent of frequent business travellers prefer brands that use technology to make travel easier. Within hotels, examples of the kind of technology that might make a difference here ranges from the use of IoT devices in hotel rooms, such as smart speakers, right the way through to the use of smartphone apps that allow for contactless check-ins, check-outs and restaurant payments. More information about hotel technology, you can read in the article “Hotel Technology Trends: 11 Upcoming Innovations You Must Know”.
A bleisure tourist will need to fulfil their business travel obligations, so they will want access to comfortable workspaces within the hotel, and for those workspaces to have dependable internet access. Connection speeds and the quality of your wi-fi can make a big difference, as business travellers may need to download and upload files, or communicate using video calling. Hotels can make the most of this by offering excellent facilities and charging a small rental fee.
Next, you need to give consideration to the distribution channels you use and the ones that bleisure travellers are likely to use too. Working with corporate travel agents could be one way to boost the number of bleisure travellers you are able to attract, as these travel agents specialise in arranging business trips and planning business events for their clients. Similarly, you should think about the global distribution systems you use, where they are popular, and where the bleisure travellers you are hoping to appeal to are most likely to come from.
Personalisation within hotels and resorts can hold a lot of appeal for bleisure travellers, as it often leads to processes or services becoming more efficient and more precise. From intelligent recommendations, made based on customer data, through to the ability to personalise hotel room conditions, such as smart heating controls, greater personalisation can save time and improve comfort, allowing business travellers to get work done quickly and free up leisure time.
Another great way for hotels to attract bleisure travellers is to showcase both business and leisure amenities. A typical bleisure tourist will certainly be interested in corporate offerings, such as private meeting areas, laptop or phone charging ports and any 24-hour services you may be able to offer. However, on top of this, they may also be enticed by leisure amenities like spas, saunas, gyms or fitness centres, yoga areas, bars and bicycle hire facilities.
Those in the hotel industry can also appeal to business travellers by highlighting what is on offer beyond the hotel itself, such as things to do in the nearby area. For instance, there may be major landmarks nearby, or restaurants you are able to recommend. Perhaps you can promote museums in the area, or local theatre tickets. Your location might also have stunning beaches to entice travellers, entertainment venues within easy reach, or hiking trails to explore.
Finally, hotels can appeal to the average bleisure traveller by actively promoting bleisure options. Examples may include offering business travellers a discount on extra nights, in order to entice them to extend their trip, or offering corporate travellers specific bleisure packages, which could include discounts on extra nights, along with tours, tickets to local attractions or events. You might also highlight bleisure possibilities on your corporate website, advertise bleisure offers in pre-stay emails and include customer testimony from bleisure travellers on social media platforms.
Tips to Attract More Corporate Travellers to Your Hotel
Corporate travellers hold a particular appeal for many hotel owners, because they are more likely to use certain hotel facilities and they often return to the same location several times a year. This opens up the possibility of securing repeat business – assuming you can cater for their needs and generate loyalty.
In the article “Tips to Attract More Corporate Travellers to Your Hotel”, you will find specific examples of ways you can reach out to this key demographic and increase your number of business travel guests.
The continued rise of business travel has led to increased efforts from those in the hotel industry to appeal to corporate travellers and to better understand their needs, wants, preferences and behaviours.
In the article “The Latest Business Travel Trends Business Travellers Desire”, you will find out more information about the growth of business travel, along with some of the specific trends – from the sharing economy and the Internet of Things, to virtual reality and healthy eating – that help to influence their travel decisions.
Hotels that are able to attract bleisure travellers will potentially benefit from repeat business and increased revenue from corporate facilities and services. For this reason, many hotel owners are keen to appeal to this growing business and leisure-based demographic and the seven tips provided should assist with this.
More Tips Regarding Business Travel
The corporate travel market is receiving an increased focus from many in the travel industry, partly business travellers often spend more money on their travels, especially when their costs are covered by their employer. However, more importantly, business travel is growing, thanks to factors like globalisation and the availability of flights. In the following articles you find more information about the corporate travel market:
- What You Need to Know About Corporate Travel Management
- How to Select a Good Business Travel Management Company?
- Reasons Why Companies Should Use a Business Travel Agency
- Global Distribution System (GDS): What Are the Benefits for Hotels?
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(1) Forbes, Are Bleisure Trips Becoming More Common? This Study Says Yes
(2) Expedia, Unpacking Bleisure Travellers Trends
(3) CWT, A Quantitative Look At the Bleisure Phenomenon
(4) Business Traveller, ‘Bleisure’ Trend Continuing, Survey Shows
(5) National Car Rental 2019 State of Business Travel Survey Fact Sheet
(6) Statista, Global Business Travel Industry – Statistics & Facts