The business traveler mixing in a little leisure time on a trip for work is nothing new. However, it is a trend which is really building some recent momentum. So much so that combining a business trip with some leisure time is now termed a “bleisure” trip. Bleisure travelers have now become a legitimately mainstream travel segment for which hoteliers must be prepared in order to effectively leverage them.
A number of factors are driving this particularly significant travel trend. In general, there is a growing movement in which the boundaries between work and life are becoming less defined. For some people, their work is taking up portions of their leisure time and so they are more inclined to mix the two in their daily lives and when they travel as well. In response, companies on the other side of this trend are making the workplace a much more pleasurable place for their workers to spend time in the office and are including many perks for their personnel.
And this extends to many of the business travel arrangements made for employees as well. Allowing employees to extend their business trips or even bring along their significant others can also be beneficial to the company in a number of ways. Airline ticket prices have lowered significantly, reducing the cost. Extending the trip over a Saturday actually reduces costs further.
Generational change is another factor, possibly most importantly, creating the bleisure travel trend. The Millennial Generation is having a profound influence on travel and they tend to balance their work and personal time in non-traditional ways. For many young people who are driven to get ahead in their professional lives, they find tradition vacations a waste of their valuable time. Bleisure travel allows them the freedom to enjoy their personal life while moving forward professionally.
Another factor, which has been instrumental in the growth of bleisure travel, has been the destination itself. Some business destinations are more obviously conducive to mixing business and leisure together than others. Research has shown distance and length of the business trip are contributing factors as well. Some locations simply provide more opportunity and incentives for business travelers to become bleisure travelers.
In part two we will examine ways in which hoteliers can maximize the revenue potential to be gained by converting the business traveler into a bleisure traveler.