Everyone likes to have a good time when it comes time to travel, but it’s not always the case with business travel. You’re rushing around to get to your meetings, having long business dinners and not getting a lot of shut eye. That’s where bleisure travel comes in; the art of combining business and leisure travel to have a chance to slow down and explore the place you are visiting on business. It’s a great way to take advantage of the trip, and it’s a more sustainable choice than flying back to the destination for a leisure trip later on.
This guide to biz-leisure will introduce you to bleisure travel; what it is, how it’s redefining business travel, the difference between blended travel and bleisure travel, and more. So keep reading to get all your curiosities answered about this topic.
What is bleisure travel (biz-leisure/business leisure travel)?
Bleisure travel, also known as biz-leisure or business leisure travel, is all the rage, but what exactly is it? It’s when you combine a business trip with a leisure trip, making it so you can have a vacation either before or after your business trip. According to Forbes, in 2022, 89% of people planned to extend their business travel adding in personal vacation time. It’s a great way to get the best of both worlds, and post-pandemic it has offered a lot of flexibility for people to stay after their business trips end to work remotely and explore destinations that they would otherwise not see much of.
Bleisure travelers can be corporate, group or conference guests who add on some vacation days to their business trips. The idea is to combine work commitments with non-work activities on the same trip. Many times business travelers will invite friends or family to come join them in order to take advantage of flights or hotel rooms that are paid by their companies. It’s a great way to enjoy some R&R, and is especially popular among millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers.
When did bleisure travel start?
The term was originally coined in 2009, but didn’t become popular until 2016, and became especially popular post-pandemic.
What’s the difference between blended travel and bleisure?
Blended travel is any kind of trip that blends work with leisure time. Blended travel and bleisure travel are one and the same. Some use the terms interchangeably, while others recognize bleisure as a type of blended travel.
The terms “biz-leisure” “business leisure trael” “bizcation” “workcation” or “working holidays” are also used as a type of blended travel, but these types of travel refer to when an employee conducts business outside of their usual place of work. Unlike digital nomads who are location independent, regularly working from anywhere in the world, “bizcationers” or those on a workcation work remotely from a different location for a fixed or extended amount of time. They tend to be location dependent.
The benefits of bleisure travel
There are many benefits of bleisure travel both for workers and for employers. Let’s take a look at the five benefits for both employers and employees.
5 Bleisure benefits for employees
For employees there are many benefits of bleisure or blended travel.
1. Reduces stress
Business trips can be stressful, and one of the most difficult parts of traveling for business is the quick turnaround. You may be traveling on a Sunday night for an early Monday morning meeting, only to fly back home again in the evening, which essentially makes it so you spend more time waiting around in the airport rather than actually at the destination. This is where bleisure or blended travel comes in handy. Stay a few more days and work from the destination or take a few days to explore. You will reduce stress and arrive home more relaxed.
2. Increased job satisfaction
Traveling a lot can wear you down, and make you resent your job. When you have a chance to slow down and explore after a business meeting, you are likely to have a better take on your job, and be more satisfied even if you do have to travel often. This is especially the case when you are able to travel for business to a cool destination that you would have wanted to see. Imagine having to travel to Bangkok for work, how could you not be pleased about your job?
Typically bleisure travel is cheaper than just plain old leisure travel because the plane tickets and transportation is on your employer’s tab. Instead of having to pay to get from the airport to your hotel, you are already there. You can just extend your stay at the hotel, and this way you only have to pay for the leisure portion of your stay, and transportation back to the airport. Plus, most rooms are usually double, so if you’re traveling with a companion, oftentimes they can stay for free while you’re on the business portion of your trip.
4. Rack up loyalty program points
The ability to rack up loyalty points is up for debate, but it can potentially be a benefit of bleisure travel. Who keeps the points is often dependent upon who pays for the trip and on a company’s individual travel policy. In the case where you have to submit a reimbursement claim after you paid on your own credit card, it’s fair to say you keep the points because you are the one who had to front the money. In the case of loyalty program points at a hotel, depending on your company, you may be able to keep the points even on the leisure portion of your stay. Check with your employer to see what their travel policy is.
5. Increased creativity
There’s nothing like a vacation or new experiences to unlock creativity. Travel does wonders to inspire you and give you perspective about what matters. Plus, slowing down and taking a break is key to renewing ideas and being mentally agile.
4 Benefits for the Employer
There’s nothing like happy employees. Happy employees are productive employees and making bleisure part of your travel policy is a great way to achieve this goal.
Don’t have a travel policy yet?
Many employers are jumping on the bandwagon and allowing employees to take a leisure break after their business trips. So, let’s take a look at some of the benefits for employers.
1. Increased willingness on behalf of employees to travel for business
Sometimes business travel isn’t fun, but what about if you go to a place on your bucket list? The cooler the destination, the happier your employees will be able to travel for work to that destination and the more willing they will be. Plus, give them a few extra days to tack on at the end of their trip, and they’re likely to be super happy about that.
2. Boosts morale
Combining work and pleasure is key for boosting morale. Especially for employees who have to travel often for work, allowing them to have a companion to tag along and to extend their stay with is great for boosting morale and decreasing chances for a burnout. Time to disconnect is key between business trips.
3. Improved productivity
Improved productivity comes from the fact that your employees will want to get their job done as quickly and as effectively as possible in order to be able to enjoy leisure time after, during or pre-business trip. It’s a great incentive to boost productivity.
4. Employee perk
Adding on some leisure time to a work trip can turn having to travel for business into a job perk because they know they can tack on a few days to relax and unwind and enjoy the destination without the hustle and bustle of work meetings or conferences. By encouraging this practice you can help increase the amount of time off and PTO, which is a great tool for recruitment and for keeping employees in the long term.
Redefining business travel
Business travel historically has a bad rap on the employee side: it’s tiring, it’s inefficient and it keeps you from taking care of your daily office tasks. When deciding whether to travel or not to travel, you can check out our guide to traveling sustainably. When traveling is a necessity, tacking on some bleisure travel has the chance to redefine business travel.
For service providers like hotels, bars and restaurants, the rise in bleisure, means longer stays and more money spent at the destination. For travelers, it means quality business travel over quantity. Knowing that they can take a few days to unwind does wonders for employee morale and turns business trips into the possibility to travel and see a new place and get inspired by their surroundings.
Employees are increasingly seeking out more flexible working arrangements to improve their work-life balance. This is especially important for millennials and Gen Z who are particularly in favor of experiential travel and have a strong preference for working at places who can provide a healthy work-life balance. This creates a new paradigm where companies need to rethink their benefits and have a strong position on bleisure when it comes to designing their travel policies.
How can your company prepare for the bleisure travel phenomenon?
For starters, work bleisure travel into your travel policy. Create a process that is transparent and simple for getting bleisure travel plans approved by supervisors. This is an important part in maintaining your duty of care, and ensuring that the process isn’t difficult for employees or managers.
Then create guidelines that clearly lay out when business ends and vacation begins. This should also be addressed from a cost perspective. Where is the line drawn between what the company pays for and what the employee will incur as their own personal costs (consider for accommodation, meals, and transportation)? Make sure employees know where to draw the line between personal travel expenses and business costs, so that their reimbursement process is clear.
When it comes to addressing bleisure travel in your travel policy make sure it is clear how many days can be added on to a business trip, especially to risky destinations. Ask yourself if you will allot a number of bleisure days per year or just consider it part of your flexcation policy. Then it’s time to train and communicate about the plan, so that everyone is on the same page.
From there you can automate your travel policy with a digital solution like GetGoing to ensure the process is smooth and hassle-free.
Got questions about how a digital solution can help manage your bleisure travel policy?
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