Bleisure Travel: What Is It and Why Is It Important for Hoteliers?
As the world of work and travel continue to collide, a new term has emerged: bleisure travel.
Bleisure travel is the combination of business and leisure travel, and it’s a growing trend among travellers. In fact, a recent study found that nearly 60% of business trips include at least one day of leisure time.
So what does this mean for hoteliers?
Well, for starters, it means that there’s a growing market of travellers who are looking for hotels that can accommodate both their business and leisure needs. And secondly, it means that hoteliers need to start thinking about how they can cater to the bleisure traveler.
Here’s a closer look at what bleisure travel is and why it’s important for hoteliers to understand.
What is bleisure travel? Why is it a relevant part of the tourism sector?
Bleisure travel is a combination of business and leisure travel. Usually, bleisure travel is when you take a business trip but extend your stay for leisure. This extended period of your trip is treated as a vacation where you can visit the popular tourist spots and enjoy the local cuisine. This is an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance which helps the workers/businessmen unwind.
There are many factors that have cause the rise in bleisure travel. One of the most notable factors is the increase in global connectivity. With the internet and social media, it’s easier than ever to stay connected with work while on vacation. This has led to a change in the way we view vacations – now, they can be seen as an opportunity to not only relax, but also to get some work done.
Another factor that has contributed to the rise in bleisure travel is Covid-19, as the pandemic has forced many people to work from home. This has made it easier for people to combine business and leisure travel, as they no longer have to be in a specific location for work.
Among the benefits of bleisure travel are cutting back travel costs for both the company and employee, such as by flying mid-week instead of on a Friday and using those days as vacation days. This can save on transport and accommodation costs. Additionally, it has the potential to reduce the amount of business trips taken overall. It’s a win-win for many companies, which is why it’s becoming so widely adopted.
What are the benefits of bleisure travel for hoteliers?
Bleisure travel is relevant because business travellers are increasing their budget year by year. This means that they end up spending a chunk of it on the remaining few days of their business trip – which means business for the hospitality sector. Many bleisure travellers like to bring their family along with them, which gives you an additional opportunity to serve and host multiple guests.
So how large a market is there for bleisure travel? Is it expanding? Who exactly are leisure travellers?
There is a large and growing market for bleisure travel. In fact, research suggests that the bleisure travel market will be worth 497 billion by 2022. This growth is being driven by a number of factors, including the increasing number of business travellers, the rise of the millennial traveller, and the globalisation of business.
Why is bleisure travel on the rise?
People like mixing business with leisure, especially during travel because of multiple reasons-
- It is harder to take holidays and plan vacations with family. This is why people are increasingly bringing their families and partners along on their business trips for some quality time
- In many cases, the company sponsors the business travel. This means that the traveler can splurge a little bit extra without having to worry about paying from pocket. In fact, many businessmen put it on their business expense tab to save on taxes. This allows them to take a family vacation on company funds
- With the current trend of hustle culture, people are tired and stressed with work. But the inflation rate and the current state of the job market make them wary of slacking off. Hence, it is a great idea to take some time off for yourself during a work trip to rewind and relax.
What trends are impacting bleisure travel?
The current influx of bleisure travellers is a result of two trends in particular: globalisation in business and valuing personal life over professional life.
The current trend of globalised businesses is one of the main contributors to bleisure travel. Globalisation in business means that international expansion is one of the most popular business trends at the moment. People want to bring their business to the world, and as a result, the meetings usually take place in locations that warrant travel. This leads to a heightened level of business travellers.
These business travellers then end up extending their trip to enjoy some relaxed time with themselves or their loved ones. This is because the recent productivity market has led to a sense of mass burnout. Most people are craving some quality time to unwind. But the inflation rate and competitive capitalist markets don’t allow them that leisure. So they blend those experiences with their business to get the most out it.
How can hoteliers cater to bleisure travelers?
There are a number of ways hoteliers can cater to bleisure travellers. First and foremost, it is important to understand the needs of bleisure travellers. What are they looking for in a hotel? What kind of amenities do they need? How can you make their stay more comfortable and enjoyable?
High speed, dependable internet access in offices
Hoteliers can provide reliable and high-speed internet to appeal to bleisure travellers. Many business travellers need to download and upload data or conduct video calls, so a fast and dependable Wi-Fi connection is essential. Additionally, offering workstations with comfortable seating and plenty of outlets will allow bleisure travellers to take care of business requirements while on the go.
As most guests who are going on bleisure travel like to bring their families along, it is important that the hotel has a dedicated kids’ space. Assuming one of the spouses will have to shoot off to work and meetings, there must be a comfortable stay for the kids and the other spouse/partner. You could do multiple things to make it more kid-friendly, like including free kids cable channels or a hotel iPad that can play cartoons/games. Handling a kid for the whole day while a partner is away (especially in a new place) can be a challenge. So if you can creatively find ways to ease your guests’ stay, they’ll be more likely to return.
Keep in mind that most hotels do not have these said amenities, so including these will also increase your chances of standing out from your competition and promote a loyal customer base.
Have a separate workstation that is away from their room
A conference room, work room, or anything similar that divides the space between their hotel room and work is a good option. This applies even if they are traveling without kids. Because during their workday, your guests would want privacy and a distraction-free atmosphere. If they hear cars from the balcony, their partner/friend talking on the phone, etc, it wouldn’t be a productive work stay now, would it?
Give them a cause to stay longer
Of course, it could be ineffective to charge people less than corporations, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide business travellers incentives to stay longer. Consider providing corporate organisers with a discount if they pre-book the leisure component. Corporate planners have the option of covering the cost of the leisure component as a reward or leaving it up to the employee.
For those who decide to stay longer, you might even consider providing a unique bonus unrelated to the corporate planners. Like complimentary meals or a complimentary happy hour, to encourage them to do so.
How can hoteliers make the most of bleisure travel?
Don’t be afraid to charge
If your general clientele doesn’t sign up for your spa services or special lunches because of the costs, it is likely that a bleisure traveler will. Firstly, because most bleisure travellers don’t pay for it themselves, they are far more likely to sign up for your extra services given they are what the travellers are looking for. Guests do not like feeling ripped off, so ensure that you do not exploit this, and provide them with quality experiences in exchange for the extra budget on their end.
Get creative with the services you provide
You can create exclusive packages for your bleisure travellers to cater to their specific needs. It is very likely to hit a chord with their demographic. Mainly because they are usually looking for very specific amenities (fast wifi, workstations, family engagement, extra services, etc), but they are hard to come by in the general hospitality industry. They are ready to offer top dollar for good service that is curated, especially for their requirements.
Think long term
When catering to bleisure travelers, always think long term. These are the type of guests that will come back to you when they need business travel accommodations, but they will also recommend you to their friends and family who might be looking for a good place to stay for leisure. It is important to give them a memorable experience so they can vouch for you the next time someone asks for recommendations.
Keep an open mind
The hospitality industry is always changing, and you need to be prepared for anything. This means that you should never say no to a good opportunity, even if it doesn’t seem like it will fit into your business model. You never know when a new trend will come along that will completely change the game.
What are some best practices for hoteliers when it comes to bleisure travel?
Incorporate a PMS (Property Management System)
A Property Management System is a software that helps you manage your room inventory, bookings, and guest data. This system will come in handy when dealing with bleisure travellers because it will help you keep track of their bookings and preferences. It is important to have this information on hand so you can give them the best possible experience during their stay.
Formulate a unique rewards program
Conventional reward systems might not be able to satisfy the distinct demands of bleisure travellers, who may want a loyalty program that provides benefits for both business and fun. Hotel operators can entice new visitors by developing a loyalty program specifically for bleisure visitors. For example, some hotels are now offering hybrid rewards, which can be redeemed for both business and leisure travel. These programs offer more flexibility to members, who can choose how they want to use their points. Some hotels are even going as far as to design their entire business model around the needs of these types of travellers.
Make use of social media
Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are a great way to reach out to bleisure travellers. You can use these platforms to promote your hotel, packages, and services. You can also use them to connect with potential guests and build relationships. Make sure you are active on social media and that you are regularly posting relevant and engaging content.
Bleisure travel is a growing trend that hoteliers need to be aware of. These travellers are looking for unique experiences that cater to their specific needs. They are willing to spend more money on quality service and they are a valuable source of repeat business. To attract bleisure travellers, hoteliers need to be creative with their packages and services. They should also make use of social media and develop loyalty programs that offer hybrid rewards. Keep these tips in mind and you will be able to successfully tap into this growing market.
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