While the concept of ‘bleisure’ travel – that elusive blend between business and leisure isn’t a new one, experts are predicting growth in this area in 2019, which means employers and travel advisors should be planning platforms and policies to manage the logistics of business travellers extending their work trips for personal purposes.
Managing the bleisure area is blurry at best for most employers, however, the benefits of enabling employees to combine work and leisure travel are undisputed.
The Goldman Group’s Australian Luxury Traveller 2019 survey found there’s still significant overlap between business and leisure travel, with 36% of respondents stating they have extended a business trip to add leisure time, reflecting a trend that’s been growing across the global travel industry.
A recent Skift report on Business Travel Trends also forecasts that bleisure travel will continue to grow in 2019, impacting decisions on everything from corporate travel policy to expense management and business travel product development.
As business and leisure travel continue to blur, there’s a significant impact on how we’re designing new products for corporate travellers. Business travellers, especially frequent flyers, shouldn’t have to sacrifice their leisure time to climb the career ladder; instead, they should be able to manage their time cleverly to maximise their time in each location, and find new ways to combine short breaks with business trips to get the best of both worlds.
For instance, a traveller who can enjoy a few days in a destination before beginning work commitments will usually arrive for business meetings feeling acclimatised, energised and positive. Similarly, tacking a trip onto the end of a work travel sector gives an employee time to unwind, reflect and return to the office excited, rather than exhausted.
Adding to this, a recent Hilton Hotels & Resorts survey of 1200 American business travellers aged between 23 and 35 found ‘compelling evidence of the motivating power of trips in their overall career and employment decisions’, with a significant 39% those surveyed saying ‘they would not join a company that did not offer travel as part of the job’. The same survey found 75% of respondents view business travel as a ‘major work perk’, with 65% seeing it as a ‘status symbol’ – something some of us can definitely relate to!
A separate 2018 survey by TripActions saw 90% of respondents call business travel a perk, with 80% saying they ‘feel more excited about their job after travelling’. A 2017 booking.com survey found 45% of respondents felt the ability to book ‘bleisure’ trip was ‘a better work perk than traditional workplace benefits’.
As the popularity of bleisure travel grows, we at Goldman believe business booking platforms will need to adapt to allow seamless, simultaneous booking for both business and leisure travel, at the same time developing clear policies around preferred suppliers, expense management and compliance issues. The duty of care towards employees on a leisure trip pre or post-work travel is another complex area which needs to be clearly addressed.
As an industry, it’s important we consider these issues and work to create simple-to-use solutions which integrate travel products, to make bleisure travel planning straightforward for both travellers and their employers – making the situation a win-win for all involved.
- Skift 10 Business Travel Trends for 2019 Report.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts commissioned a 15-minute, online survey among a nationally-representative sample of 1,200 business travellers, ages 23-35, who stayed in a hotel (domestic or international) for business purposes at least once in the past 12 months. The survey was fielded between March 6-19, 2018.
Trip Actions State of Business 2018 Report.