The CEO checking emails en route to his holiday destination, a digital nomad tapping away on his computer on a beach in Goa, an art-buying consultant convincing a potential client online or a software engineer coding from his home office -technology has merged the boundaries between work and play. The spillover is seen in business and leisure travel too, leading to the moniker “Bleisure” which is a portmanteau of “business” and “leisure”. Bleisure travel has seen a surge in the last few years by offering an opportunity to transform work travel into a more chilled out, laid back experience.
What is Bleisure?
The recent trend around the world sees the addition of a leisure component to a business trip. The idea has seen the support of business travellers, not just at the entry-level but at the managerial level as well. By adding extra time-off, there is a greater job satisfaction which leads to greater productivity and people staying longer in their jobs.
Bleisure holidays are about taking your children, spouse, family or friend with you on these trips. An extra couple of days after fulfilling work commitment allows for a cosier time with the family and makes business trips less stressful.
A couple of years ago I joined Sam when he had to leave for Hanoi for a conference. Once over, the delegates (and spouses) had the option to travel to Danang for a day at an extra cost. We both hopped on and loved the extended holiday of exploring the coastal city and visiting the must-see attractions – the Lady Buddha and the world cultural heritage, My Son. In the Maldives too, Sam extended his business trip so that we could spend quality time together. Owing to our busy lives, holidays such as these are much needed and we both love our mini-moons together. When he was busy, I snorkelled, explored the island, swam and read books. Once the conference was over, we spent all the time together with fun activities and large doses of romance thrown in. These are perfect examples of Bleisure holidays.
More light-spirited, easygoing and involving a greater work-life balance. Even the singles and Millenials love Bleisure. It gives them some “Me time” to do the things they want to do, to venture out and delve into their activity of interest.
Why are companies encouraging Bleisure Holidays?
Companies root for “bleisure” travel so that young biz travellers are not simply confined to the formal boardroom protocol but get a chance to be acquainted and bond stronger with their co-workers in an entirely different setting. It encourages more attendance to events. Once they have a memorable Bleisure holiday, it elicits a better response to business trips for the future. This also leads to higher employee retention rate and a rise in their professional and personal growth.
India loves these hybrid holidays. In 2018, 72 per cent Indian travellers extended their business trips, both national and international, ranking them second among ‘Bleisure’ travellers across 31 countries.
For business hotels that see an influx of business travellers during the week but rather a lean weekend, ‘Bleisure” travel has helped fill the void. There is an increase in occupancy throughout the week and the guests too enjoy favourable rates for their stay extension.
An opportunity for hotels
Bespoke packages that include off-site leisure activities and offer the guests an opportunity to experience the sights and sounds of the community, are important to attract business travellers. This is especially true for the millennials. Convenience is a major focal point since there is an issue of time constraints. Hotels and B&Bs must include paid and free activities and local events in the itinerary. A quick guide given by hotels and B&B must put the spotlight on the best the city has to offer. Information about distances and transport options proves to be a thoughtful gesture and aid the guests in planning their travel in the city.
With the support of employers who encourage Bleisure travel, the rapidly growing trend of “Bleisure” trips puts forth major opportunities for independent hoteliers. The hospitality industry needs to observe these trends and keep adapting themselves not only to stay in business but to scale to greater heights in the days to come.