Glamping… staycation… Brangelina (oops)… Whether or not you’re a fan of combining two different words to make one, the “bleisure” travel trend is growing stronger.
A bleisure traveler is a business guest who extends their stay in order to enjoy the destination. Adding leisure time to a business trip is a cost-effective way to get to know a new place, which might explain why recent Booking.com research found that 49 percent of business travelers already extend their work trips for leisure, and 75 percent plan to do so in the coming year.
Combining business and leisure, a bleisure traveler’s needs are unique — does your property’s marketing and service support their mix of interests?
As the bleisure travel trend grows, it makes good business sense to put some thought into how your property can attract and accommodate bleisure travelers. Properties that already attract business travelers and are located in a tourist destination are well setup for the bleisure travel market. Here are our tips for attracting bleisure travelers to your hotel and exceeding their expectations…
Extend the Corporate Rate
One of the best ways to encourage a business guest to extend their stay is to offer them additional nights (before or after the business event) at the same corporate rate paid by their company.
It’s a great deal for the guest, and for the property the lower rate is balanced by reduced guest turnover and guaranteed occupancy.
Make Enjoying the Destination Easy
Bleisure travelers tend to extend business trips for leisure by just two or three days, so make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to enjoy the local sights and sounds during their short stay.
One of the hardest parts of planning a short leisure trip is choosing what to see and do (there’s always so much to do and so little time, isn’t there?!). A simple but very helpful gesture is to provide a city guide that highlights the must-see sights and must-do activities. Whether you provide or link to guides from your local tourism marketing agency, or create your own, it should include activities that appeal to different interests, like cultural hotspots, outdoor adventures, and family attractions.
Discounting or packaging on-site services (like spa services and dining) and off-site activities (local attractions, tours, top restaurants, etc.) not only provides excellent value, but can greatly simplify an itinerary for a guest who is pressed for time.
Allowing customers booking a corporate rate to add such activities to their reservation during the booking process can entice business travelers to extend their stay.
Meet Their Business Needs
In catering to bleisure travelers’ leisure preferences, make sure their business needs aren’t forgotten. Work is the primary reason for a bleisure traveler’s stay, so it’s important to ensure the work side of the stay experience is as convenient and stress-free as the leisure side.
Amenities and services like fast, reliable Wi-Fi, well-equipped business spaces, in-room work spaces and amenities (including desk space, comfortable seating, plenty of power outlets, ironing facilities, etc.), complimentary breakfast, gym access, transportation, and early check-in/late check-out are key to a comfortable and productive business trip.
Read our Tips for Attracting Business Travelers to Your Independent Hotel for further guidance.
It’s not unusual for business travelers who extend their stay to bring family members or a friend along. For bleisure guests traveling with kids, family-friendly accommodations are key to a successful trip.
Read our Kid-Friendly Ideas for Hoteliers post for ways to make your property more welcoming to families, including offering space-taking items (likes strollers and playpens) to borrow or rent, in-room boredom busters (such as board games, colouring books and game console rental), family-friendly activities (on-site and off-site activities), and kid-friendly dining options.
If you haven’t already, consider implementing a “kids stay free/dine free” policy, and/or discounting additional rooms for extended family or friends traveling with the guest.
Choose the Right Distribution Channels
Business travel is often booked and organized through corporate travel agents, so it pays to connect your property to the Global Distribution System (GDS) to maximize visibility and reach in the business (and bleisure) travel sector.
A property’s reservation system can be connected to the GDS directly or via a channel manager, which connects a property to multiple distribution channels, including the GDS, OTAs (like Booking.com and Expedia) and metasearch channels.
Let Business Guests Know
A business traveler will likely choose to extend a business trip before they travel, so make sure they know about your special offers and services as early as possible.
Sending targeted email campaigns to corporate customers that have stayed before is an effective way to generate repeat business while encouraging guests to extend their next work trip. “Bleisure stay” offers and services can also be promoted in the business services section of the property’s website.
Confirmation and pre-arrival emails sent to corporate customers should include information about extended stay deals, giving travelers another opportunity to extend their trip.
Information about offers can even be left in the guestroom to let in-house business guests know about what they can take advantage of next time — or to motivate them to spontaneously extend their current stay.
With more and more business travelers taking advantage of work trips to expand their horizons, the bleisure travel trend is proving to be a significant revenue generator for properties in tourism destinations. Does your property encourage guests to mix business with pleasure?