Hot Trend: Turning Business Travelers into Bleisure Travelers

By Andrew Dyer Vice President of Global Supply, Egencia | January 28, 2018

The term "bleisure" has been an industry buzz word for the past decade, but what exactly is bleisure? Bleisure describes the phenomenon when business travel is extended into, and combined with, leisure travel. According to Expedia Media Solutions' Bleisure Study, nearly half (43 percent) of business trips in the U.S. today are bleisure trips, with employees extending stays from an average of two nights to six-plus. We can expect this number to increase as hoteliers begin to cater their offerings to this unique demographic. 

Research has shown that a majority of business travelers would like to extend their business trips for leisure when possible. Motivated by the potential to gain new cultural experiences and knowledge, business travelers already see the benefit and convenience of tacking on time to their business trips to explore the city they're in. Employees are embracing bleisure travel and employers are responding to their preferences by modifying their company travel policies. Now's the time for hoteliers to take advantage of the opportunity.

With bleisure continuing to trend, it also offers major advantages to properties that can attract these valuable guests. In terms of booking behavior, a majority of business travelers stay at the same place for both the business and leisure portions of their trips. Fully understanding business travelers, as well as their needs, can help hotels continue to ride this growing wave and ensure both parts of their stay are equally as satisfying.

Bleisure Redefined

The growing interest in bleisure travel can be largely attributed to the millennial generation as they've entered the workforce. Bleisure travel has evolved with the changing profile of the corporate traveler. Millennials are young and tend to delay marriage. Therefore, they're less likely to have family obligations, which means they have fewer commitments to prioritize when considering business travel. Thus, millennial business travelers have a higher propensity to extend business trips with vacation time and seek more flexibility while on the road.

Not only are corporate travelers changing, but their employers are responding to their evolving preferences as well, with amendments to their corporate travel policies. With more companies starting to develop increasingly progressive travel policies to allow for personal time during business travel, this shows that bleisure is making a significant impact across various industries as work and wellness continue to merge.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.