Bleisure Travel: How to Capitalize on Business Travelers That Linger for Leisure

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Author: AltexSoft Inc

Even office-based professionals may feel they’re losing that difficult balancing act between work life and social life. A subway ride to or from the office can turn the day into a marathon shift if you don’t turn off the internet on your smartphone. Sending emails, messaging with colleagues, making to-do lists for the day while on the go commuting or otherwise — everybody’s been there.

Not to mention freelancers and remote team members who are more actively chasing the life-work balance dream. Such workers tend to find a comfortable place for work, rest, and communication. They might stay at home, rent a desk at a coworking space, or deposit themselves at the booth of a coffee shop.

The tendency to blur work-life boundaries has also influenced how large companies operate. Today’s management crop has a different outlook on workflow than their predecessors — working at a company is not about work, it’s also about leisure.

Employees enjoy upscale workplaces, conference and dining rooms, gyms, lounges, game rooms, movie theaters, and patios. And, because of all the perks, they probably won’t mind staying a couple hours longer if needed.

In this regard, people are most likely to combine business and leisure when traveling for work. The chances they do so are even bigger if they take a few business trips per year, work overtime, or are not sure about having a decent vacation. Really, it would be a crime not to spend a couple of days on a beach or wander an unknown city’s streets after several days of negotiations. Those who agree with this statement and have a hard time choosing a future trip’s goal while filling in the search form on Booking.com can call themselves bleisure travelers.

What is bleisure?

Bleisure is the travel trend of combining work commitments with entertainment. Having emerged nearly eight years ago, it continues to grow. Increasingly more people consider exploring new places while traveling for business. According to the latest survey by the education and research branch of the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), 67 percent of North American business travelers thought it was important to add leisure to a trip in 2016. Thirty-seven percent of them did so.

The trend can bring new opportunities to the travel and hospitality industry. Such trips require more thorough planning. For instance, someone will have to find a suite available for both weekdays and weekends, read about the area to schedule leisure activities, and book tickets to get home. In this situation, travelers could use help from OTAs, hotels, and other travel providers.

This article explains who bleisure travelers are and how travel businesses can address their needs. You will find out how to spot potential bleisure travelers and motivate them to add personal days to a business trip.

1. Define potential bleisure travelers

To understand if business travelers are motivated to extend their trip with leisure, you can analyze their behavior and the personal information they provide when looking for travel options. You can also rely on these complementary categories to offer a certain customer a deal he or she would likely accept.

Trip time frame. US specialists from Expedia Media Solutions and Luth Research conclude that a trip lasting three or more days is 30 percent more likely to turn into a leisure one. They also report those who arrive at the destination on Monday-Tuesday or Thursday-Friday usually extend their stay. The closer the trip is to the weekend, the higher the probability of making it a bleisure trip. These customers first book airline tickets and then look for accommodations.

Carlson Wagonlit Travel analysts underline that bleisure trips include “a Saturday night stay at destination either at the beginning or at the end of a trip, or both.”

Destination and route length. Sixty-six percent of travelers agree that destination matters. If a business meeting takes place in a city included in a traveler’s personal must-see list, he or she would likely extend a trip for a couple of days.

When traveling internationally and for long distances, people expect to immerse in a different culture. A higher bleisure rate for international (52 percent) over domestic (46 percent) trips proves bleisure attractiveness depends on a trip itinerary and an origin city. For instance, Londoners like visiting San Francisco (24 percent bleisure rate), and residents of the latter, in turn, enjoy the UK capital (23 percent bleisure).

The relationship between longer distances and higher bleisure rates applies to domestic trips as well. Keep in mind, some destinations are better for business, and the others are great for vacation. In the survey by Expedia and Luth Research, major cities are rated according to bleisure attractiveness.

Gender. The CWT survey leisure breakdown by gender indicates that men take more work-related trips than women (70 percent vs 30 percent). At the same time, analysts measured a higher bleisure rate for women (8.5 percent) than for men (6.8 percent) for the top 100 business destinations. The researchers explain this result by calculating an average annual number of bleisure trips per bleisure traveler. Turns out, it’s the same both for women and men (1.4). However, since women generally take fewer work-related trips than men, their bleisure rate is higher.

Age category. Younger employees who have just started building careers are more adventurous than their experienced colleagues. According to the same GBTA report, 48 percent of surveyed millennials (aged 25 to 35) stayed for several days after having fulfilled their work commitments. The generation, which mostly follows the digital lifestyle and likely has no family-related responsibilities, is more flexible.

The second largest group (33 percent) was generation X employees (36–54 years old). And only 23 percent of baby boomers said they took bleisure trips.

Marital status. Some researches emphasize that having family and children isn’t a reason to reject taking a bleisure trip. Slightly more than half of business travelers (54.4 percent) surveyed by Bridgestreet Global Hospitalitysaid they might take loved ones with them.

Professional activity. Report stats on the correlation between leisure rates and trip frequency are different. The CWT travel survey summarizes that frequent travelers who take 20 trips per year or more are less than 5 percent likely to go on a bleisure trip.

According to the report by Expedia and Luth research, bleisure travelers travel a lot: 32 percent of them take business trips once or twice a month, and 38 percent travels for work once every 2–3 months. Respondents of the GBTA research said they take nearly seven work trips per year.

Although these employees work in various industries, most (26 percent) are related to technology. In general, they work full-time and earn nearly $79,000 per year, mostly occupying middle management positions (42 percent).

You should focus on segmentation techniques to better understand your customer base, perhaps conducting your own research on how your business travelers behave. You can read more about specific segmentation techniques in our article about travel personalization and segmentation.

2. Present the information on what the destination city and area have to offer

“Destinations are the first research topic and lead decisions, with sightseeing and the restaurant scene being key influences,” representatives from Expedia and Luth Research highlight. The use of specific content and channels for its distribution can convince business travelers to spend extra days at the property for leisure activities.

“Our Area” sections on hotel and OTA websites

Every time you travel, you likely want to know everything about leisure options that your housing can offer. Your business travel customers aren’t an exception. They read about amenities, scroll photos, check out reviews, and attentively study a map to know if a location is good. Help them research destination fast and easy.

If you run a hotel and already have a website, you can leverage direct bookings by providing additional information about hotel amenities, reservation details, and location. The Our Area section will give business travelers reasons to stay longer. List sights, places for activities, wellness and shopping centers, restaurants, etc. Note their addresses, distance from the property, and contacts.

source: medium.com

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