Bleisure is here to stay – so embrace it or waste it?

The idea of combining business and leisure travel is not a new one and has been practiced in various ways by many corporate travellers over the years. Recently though, according to a report by ‘Bridgestreet Global Hospitality,’ it has been firmly adopted by Millennials and is becoming far more common practice than it has ever been before – so much so, that it has earned the title of ‘Bleisure’ travel!

There are now even Bleisure travel Apps, which often begs the proverbial chicken and egg question – “Did the Apps make the trend, or did the trend make the app?” Well, regardless of the answer, the aforementioned report gives convincing evidence that more than 87% of business travellers interviewed are tagging on leisure time to their business trips and almost half of them dragging the family along with them – so Bleisure travel appears to be here to stay.

Why has it happened?

Let’s take a look at what has turned something that was once occasionally practiced, to what is now an established and named entity. There are a few good reasons business travellers have taken to it in such a big way…

· The number of holidays that come up close together, like at the time around Easter up until worker’s day, usually means that if business travel is required at that time, it simply makes sense to stay where you are to enjoy leisure time in between

· Entrepreneurs and business owners often simply can’t find long periods of time to take leave, and from a cost perspective, if they are required to travel a lot, it is a ‘no brainer’ to save additional costs if they can tag a few days onto business trips

· Many see dining out and spending leisure time in between business days as a good time for networking with potential clients and business associates. Why not get that game of golf in with a potential client whilst on his turf?

· CNN reports that the younger set, in particular, say they work better with leisure time in between business days and have gained from the cultural experiences from these Bleisure travel trips. Some even say good ideas are spawned from simply being in a different environment

· Family men and women claim they work better within close proximity to their loved ones than when being constantly wrenched from home.

How will we react?

It all seems like pretty sound reasoning to me, and I have to say I like the idea myself, but the question that immediately comes to mind is “Will we as travel professionals go into a spin about confusing corporate travel and leisure travel – or will we embrace it?”

Will we find ways to pull out all the stops to take advantage of what is obviously a popular trend, despite the fact that it may cross certain traditional lines and confuse the roles of TMCs and leisure travel specialists?

In a related article, Trend forecaster and Brand strategist Miriam Rayman had this to say; “The most successful Travel industry brands are those that offer products and services to serve these blurred lifestyles while helping customers separate work from pleasure when needed. Bleisure travel benefits all parties, so offer incentives to bring along a partner or stay longer – by creating targeted extended stay offers, for example.”

Embrace it – don’t waste it

The simple answer is we must embrace it and in fact, make the most of it as it offers excellent opportunities to the Travel industry in every sphere. As travel experts, flexibility must always be a key objective.

The days of rigidly packaged travel experiences are long gone, and the TMC’ss that are working closest with leisure specialists are the ones most likely to succeed. There is little point in trying to keep our share of the pie if, through our actions, we shrink what could have potentially been a must bigger one!

In tough economic times, especially when fuel costs are crippling, a bespoke travel package that contains less travel and more stay time simply makes sense and is another reason that Bleisure travel has been spawned and is here to stay. Will you embrace it – or waste it?

LIDIA FOLLI

CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

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