Every few years, a new travel trend emerges and a type of traveler is born. In a constant effort to categorize travelers, we see more specific descriptions for travelers. The bleisure traveler, or business leisure, is one such demographic that has become more prevalent. Business travel is among one of the largest traveler demographics, so a change in spending behavior is worth noting. These travelers are unique because one trip has suddenly become two. Business travelers and leisure travelers have different needs, here we’ll explore how to handle them.
A bleisure traveler is someone who goes on a trip primarily for business purposes but extends their stay for leisure purposes. Think work hard, play hard and you’ve got yourself a bleisure traveler. Different sources determine a bleisure travelers in varying ways.
A recent study completed by CWT Solutions Group defined a bleisure traveler as someone who either arrived on Saturday or departed on a Sunday after their business trip. This definition has limitations, as you can imagine people will extend their trips but arrive and depart on different days.
Bleisure travel makes sense when you think about it. A working individual has to travel across the country and world to attend meetings, conferences, etc. And often, they spend the entirety of their trip trapped inside a hotel or convention center, leaving the culture and fun behind.
CNN tells the story of one such traveler who flew to Florence Italy from the United States for 36 hours. She flew in, went to her presentation, and left. After that trip, she decided enough was enough, and if her company was going to fly her out to tourist destinations, she was going to enjoy them.
People travel for all sorts of reason, but business travel is often less glamorous than it may seem. Yes, you might get to fly to Florence for a day and tell all your friends, but really that’s not fun. If your company is footing the travel bill, you might as well take advantage and stay a few extra nights when possible.
A bleisure traveler, first off, is someone who travels for work either domestically or internationally. According to CWT Solution Group’s study, the most likely group of people to extend their business trips are:
Most of the data seems to make sense. If you’re an individual who takes business trips frequently, you’re less likely to extend a trip. Travel is likely less of a luxury and a treat when you’re required to do it all the time. But, if you’re someone who only travels for work one to five times a year, travel is still fresh and new to you.
The real usefulness of this data is to figure out how to use it at your property. Using these demographics, you can determine who your potential bleisure travelers are and provide them a great experience. The benefit of these travelers is that it reduces turnover between the week and weekend, therefore cutting down on housekeeping, front desk activity, etc.
First off, you need to determine if your property attracts business travelers. Properties located in metropolitan areas and that offer amenities in line with what business travelers look for are the most likely targets. While every type of traveler is different, you’re likely aware if your property has this type of guest.
Not every property is located in a hot spot leisure destination and that’s okay. Some accommodations are located in suburban areas that don’t offer enticing tourist activities. But, if you’re located in a tourism hotspot like Las Vegas, Miami, Barcelona, or Nice, you can attract business travelers looking to get a little more out of their stay.
There are several ways you can entice business travelers to extend their stays. One of them is to offer the same rate that their business paid to the individual throughout the weekend. Or you could offer some sort of added benefit to extending the trip either through show tickets, sports tickets, spa services, restaurant discounts, etc.
The most challenging part of extending business travelers’ trips is identifying these individuals. Depending on your booking process, you may or may not know the purpose of guest’s trip. If someone is going to extend their trip, they’re likely to do it before they arrive. Therefore, it makes sense to treat these instances as a pre-arrival upsell.
In the case of how CWT Solutions Group’s study categorized bleisure travelers, they will be pressed for time. Whether a guest is extending their trip on the frontend or backend of their trip, there are only a few days they can actually act as a tourist.
One of the best ways to support these travelers, in my opinion, is to have guides on the must-see or must-do activities in your city. To make the most out of their trip, these individuals are only going to want to do the most important activities. For some, that be the super popular tourist activities like the Las Vegas sign or the colosseum in Rome. For others, they’ll want to find the local cultural hot spots and spend the night watching local artists perform. And for some others, they’ll want to relax in the spa or hang out by the pool. It all depends on the type of leisure traveler they are.
The bleisure travel trend is interesting because it mixes two different types of travel. Business travelers require different amenities and services and the same goes for leisure travelers. But, due to the sheer size of the travel market, adding a few days to the beginning or end of trip might have a significant impact on your property. How the trend affects a property will vary widely depending on your location and clientele.