Professionals have come to realize that an 'all work, no play' approach to business travel usually leads to regret after not taking the opportunity to explore an unfamiliar destination. Introducing bleisure, the term that now refers to professionals mixing their business trips with vacation time.
Instead of rushing to the airport after a final meeting on a Friday afternoon, a bleisure traveler is ready to enjoy local culture and begin their vacation at happy hour. That same bleisure traveler is not returning to work until the middle of the following week, as they prefer to extend their trip by using some vacation days.
“This is not a huge surprise,” says Billy McDonough, FCM Travel Solutions President. “When the destination is one of interest to the traveler, why not spend a few extra days sightseeing and exploring? It’s much easier to extend a business trip as opposed to planning an entire new trip.”
This trend is currently on the rise and is becoming a common form of travel around the globe. In a survey of international travelers published in 2014 by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, 60% said they’ve taken bleisure trips with most of those travelers adding up to two vacation days to their business trips. The same percentage said they are more likely to take a bleisure trip today than they were five years ago.
“It’s a growing trend,” says Virginia Fitzpatrick, general manager of Flight Centre Travel Group’s business travel consulting brand 4th Dimension in Australia. “It was the younger ones that started this trend. The older ones in their 40's and 50's are now seeing there’s an advantage to this.”
An overwhelming 96% of respondents in the aforementioned survey believe they gain cultural knowledge during bleisure trips, citing a desire to see the world and gain cultural experiences. The three most popular activities include sightseeing, dining and art/culture.
According to Skift, more than half of bleisure travelers bring family or a significant other to accompany them during the leisure portion of their trip. These savvy travelers look to find ways of turning a formal business assignment into a memorable family or romantic trip.