What is bleisure? Inside the business travel trend
The travel industry can’t stop talking about bleisure – a portmanteau of business and leisure and the jet-setting trend of the moment. According to the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, over a third of North Americans reported having taken a bleisure trip in the last year. It’s transforming the world of business travel, reflecting the needs and desires of today’s workforce. So what is it exactly, and why does it matter?
Here’s a look into the bleisure trend and how it’s blurring the lines between work and play.
What is bleisure travel?
If you ask a bleisure traveler the classic question — “Are you traveling for business or pleasure?” — the answer would be both.
As the term suggests, bleisure travel is a combining of business and leisure travel, usually in the form of extending a work trip by a few days to add personal time. The traveler takes on the expenses of adding time to the trip, such as accommodations, meals and sometimes flights, although it doesn’t usually incur extra airfare costs for the company.
For instance, an employee attending a conference in Croatia could arrive there early and take two or three days — typically weekend or paid vacation days — to do whatever he or she pleases. Rather than being in a beautiful destination without seeing much beyond the hotel and conference site, the employee gets some time to explore.
Who’s driving the bleisure trend?
Not surprisingly, it’s largely millennials who are responsible for the recent uptick in bleisure trips. According to AARP, in the past two years 53% of millennials have added leisure time to a business trip, compared to 25% of Baby Boomers. This isn’t surprising, as millennials are known to prefer experiences over material goods, and travel ranks high among those experiences.
They also have the luxuries of time and flexibility. “[M]illennials have delayed marriage and having children, allowing them to have fewer commitments to rush home to after business travel,” wrote Kaytie Zimmerman in Forbes.
So why now? Why the recent rise in bleisure travel as a whole?
Why bleisure trips have become so popular
In addition to the millennial penchant for experiences, bleisure travel’s rise can be attributed to employers and employees putting a stronger emphasis on work-life balance. Companies are increasingly encouraging their staff to engage in more leisure travel, not just for the obvious reasons — to relax, recharge and avoid burnout — but to have something to enjoy outside of work. They also believe it will create more well-rounded, happy, healthy and productive workers. In a country where 705 million vacation days went unused in 2017, Americans could benefit from such advice.
Millennials in particular value work-life balance greatly, caring about it even more than career advancement. It’s not so much about being able to clock out at the same time every day and disconnect, since technology has rendered that almost impossible. Instead, millennials see things like bleisure trips as a form of work-life balance.
Another reason for the growing popularity of bleisure is its cost efficiency. Millennials may love to travel, but they’re also on a budget and facing a still-struggling economy. Bleisure trips allow them to take the vacations they’ve always wanted to take without bearing the cost of a round-trip flight, and without costing their employer any extra travel expenses.
What have been the effects of bleisure?
The most glaring effect of bleisure travel has been the merging of business and leisure trips, at least from a logistical standpoint. It doesn’t mean employees are simultaneously engaging in work and play during the trip — it just means a few extra days are being used for leisure, either before or after the work portion.
Many companies who see the benefits of bleisure are working it into their corporate travel policies, in ways that allow or even encourage it. This makes managing bleisure trips easier on both the employer and the employee, as well as making travelers aware of the option in the first place.
Perhaps most beneficially, what was once seen as a necessary evil in certain lines of work is now something many business travelers actually look forward to. With the option to extend a trip for personal reasons, business travel becomes much more enticing and attractive to engage in.
The bleisure tool not enough travelers are using
What if you want to add a leisure wing to your business trip, but can’t stand the thought of spending even more days in a hotel room? If your jaunt will be 30 days or longer, consider a short-term furnished apartment, also called a corporate apartment. Not only will you have a spacious, fully furnished and equipped apartment with a real kitchen, but you’ll save your company money on accommodations.
Search our furnished apartments and start planning your next bleisure excursion.