How “Bleisure” Travel Is Bolstering the Hospitality Industry

Editor’s Note: We’d like to say “Thank you!” to our guest blogger, Vincent Stokes, for writing this insightful contribution about bleisure travel. As Vincent stated below, a remarkable 60% of business travelers take an extra day or two to relax after a business trip. Do you participate in this growing trend, or do you promptly return from your trip and resume business as usual? 

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Bleisure, the practice of incorporating both business and leisure travel into one trip, is a growing practice in the United States and internationally. Despite its critics, the growing popularity of bleisure travel is making many in the hospitality industry very happy (and prosperous) indeed.

When asked, the increasing numbers of bleisure travelers themselves cite major health benefits such as lower stress levels and higher work productivity that makes it clear for them… Bleisure travel is here to stay.

In this article, learn how bleisure travel is benefiting the travel and hospitality industries and why that means it will have a lasting impact on how we travel for business.

Travel Statistics Don’t Lie

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CNN recently reported that approximately six out of every 10 travelers that travel internationally for business regularly add extra days to their trip for pleasure purposes.

Also, more than half of all bleisure travelers report taking a loved one along on their trips. The most common choices are family members or partners.

What does this mean for the hospitality industry? For starters, it means a newfound chance to truly become a bleisure traveler’s preferred “home away from home.”

For instance, by restructuring services to cater to the unique needs of the bleisure traveler and offering extra incentives via loyalty programs, a hotel or resort can quickly find itself on a bleisure traveler’s permanent speed dial.

Perhaps most tellingly, the most recent “Bleisure Report” (Bridgestreet) shows that employers are already quite accepting and supportive of a traveling employee’s desire to add an extra day or few in for some quick R&R. So the hotelier that does the best job of meeting these travelers’ unique needs will be first in line to reap the ripe pickings of this new travel trend.

As it turns out, combining business and personal travel is not a revolutionary idea for many of newfound bleisure travelers’ international counterparts.

In other parts of the world where business time and leisure time are less rigorously constrained, a bleisure approach is already readily recognized and embraced. The reasons for this are simple:

– The more leisurely the trip, the less exhausted and stressed out the traveler.

– The chance to take in new sights and sounds increases creativity and generates more new ideas in business.

– Being able to experience the local culture before doing business together breeds better business relationships.

– Being able to enjoy the trip itself more means there will be more motivation to buckle down and deliver high-quality work during the “business” part of the trip.

This is good news indeed for hoteliers with worldwide locations. It stands to reason that a continent-hopping bleisure traveler might like nothing better than to fly into Country A, B and C and be able to stay at a place where all of her preferences are already noted and the concierge services menu already contains everything she needs, from a recommendation for insuring a business locally to tickets to see a hot new show.

Internationally, Bleisure Is Already Accepted

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There may be a slightly less altruistic reason why so many employers have been quick to embrace the bleisure trend and even encourage it for employees who are frequent travelers. With a full 73 percent of travelers citing bleisure travel as a corporate perk, it doesn’t take much for an employer to realize that bleisure travel perks can help them to attract and retain the top talent.

This new trend also opens the doors for hospitality professionals to do some equally serious business with these bleisure-friendly employers. By offering up deals, perks and specialized programs for employee groups with attractive corporate rates, hoteliers and other hospitality professionals around the world can position themselves more competitively to win and keep bleisure business.

Work/Life Balance Is Here to Stay

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Thanks in part to a newfound effort to attain a more equitable mix of work and play, the hospitality industry is finding itself in the enviable position of being able to attract new business in this notoriously stagnant economy. What all this adds up to is good news for the hospitality industry as a whole and even perhaps a whole new chance to freshen and revitalize the perks that traditional hospitality services have to offer the busy bleisure traveler.

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