Many employees find it appealing to blend work trips with vacations. From a logical standpoint, it’s a no-brainer. If you’re already in a new destination for a conference, meeting, or work-related event, why not take advantage of the opportunity and extend your stay to enjoy the new location?
The primary concept behind the trend is that, more often than not, employers cover the trip’s expenses, including transportation and accommodation. So, adding a few extra days for leisure activities makes sense without incurring significant additional costs. In corporate travel, extending a business trip for personal purposes is often termed “bleisure,” a somewhat awkward name that still beats the alternative, “bizcation.”
The trend has garnered traction over the past decade, partly due to the increasingly demanding work schedules and the blurred boundaries between work and personal life due to technological advancements. And as work and life intertwine, it’s only natural that travel patterns will also evolve.
How does bleisure compare post-covid?
According to a 2022 survey conducted by Crowne Plaza, a hotel brand, 60% of respondents expressed their intention to extend their business trips to include leisure travel days in the future. While vacationers are eagerly making up for lost time, the return of more lucrative corporate bookings has been slow and uncertain.
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) predicts that various factors such as persistent inflation, rising energy prices, and companies’ efforts to conserve cash amid an economic downturn will likely delay the recovery of the pre-pandemic $1.4 trillion business travel industry until 2026. However, this projection is considered one of the more optimistic ones.
In response to the challenges hotels face, they have partially found ways to compensate for the decline in business travel revenue. They can compensate for shortfalls when business travellers bring their families along and opt for adjoining rooms or suites.
Additionally, hotel amenities like spas, golf courses, and casinos benefit from the spending of accompanying travellers who have time on their hands while the business traveller is occupied.
Many employers have been enthusiastic about embracing this trend despite concerns about potential liability, expense account mismanagement, and employees slacking off during combined business and leisure trips.
It is an attractive undertaking for employees who view it as a perk and doesn’t burden employers with additional payroll costs. According to a 2022 GBTA survey of corporate travel managers, 90% reported that employees showed interest in combining business trips with recreational travel at their companies.
Tips to help you have a successful bleisure
Get the green light from your boss
Blending business travel and leisure is still a grey area in several workplaces. Therefore, maintaining clear lines of communication with your boss is crucial, particularly as several C-suite executives strive to get employees back into the office. But getting the green light shouldn’t be a problem given that many employers are also looking at bleisure to keep employees happy.
Extend your trip by a couple of days
Maximize your accommodation by checking if your company has negotiated a corporate rate. It’s also worth discussing with your employer the possibility of extending the room for a few extra days, allowing you to enjoy some leisure time after your work obligations are fulfilled. Taking advantage of your company’s discounted hotel rates saves money during your travels and leaves you with extra cash to indulge in vacation activities while staying there.
Use Travel Apps or AI to save time and money
Some companies may refuse to cover your travel expenses for your extra vacation days. But worry not! You can secure the best flight deals using apps like Hopper or Skyscanner and AI tools like iplan.ai, Bard and ChatGPT. These apps can help you find the most cost-effective flight options available.
Always plan for disruptions
Preparing a contingency plan is a wise move. Lately, airports have been experiencing significant logjams due to shortages of workers, including baggage handlers and air-traffic controllers. When a flight gets cancelled, travellers using bargain or frequent-flier reward tickets often encounter more difficulties getting rebooked than business travellers with the added leverage of a corporate account.
For those business travellers whose schedules are prone to sudden changes, it’s advisable to explore travel insurance options that offer coverage for work-related cancellations. This extra protection can provide peace of mind and assistance during unforeseen disruptions.
Find a place to get work done
Securing a suitable workspace is the key to being productive from any location. Most travellers who bring their partners or family along often opt for more spacious rooms or suites or choose hotels that offer amenities designed for professionals, such as a business centre, club floor, or lounge. But even a hotel lobby could do just fine, as many of them now feature cozy nooks that provide a semblance of peace and seclusion, allowing you to focus on your work comfortably.
Allot some time for your travel companions
Creating a well-defined schedule and committing to these boundaries is essential if you travel with family or friends. It wouldn’t be fair to your loved ones if you invite them along and then find yourself working excessively long hours, like a 60- or 70-hour workweek. A harmonious balance between work and leisure is the key to being a successfully blended traveller.
Bleisure is a growing trend that allows individuals to make the most of their trips by blending work commitments with enjoyable personal experiences. By balancing professional responsibilities and moments of relaxation or exploration, travellers enhance their overall travel experience and foster stronger connections with their travel companions.
Embracing this concept can lead to increased productivity, improved work-life balance, and a deeper appreciation for the world around us. As the world evolves, bleisure will likely remain a rewarding and fulfilling way for individuals to maximize their journeys and create lasting memories.