In the past, vacationers and those traveling for work were distinct demographics. And they were marketed to in very different ways. But a new type of traveler has emerged that merges the two worlds. More and more, business travelers are extending their trips in order to get in some sightseeing and leisure time (hence the moniker “bleisure”), in addition to their work duties. And it makes sense. If you’re going to take long flights to exciting locations, why not take the opportunity to enjoy it. It’s a trend that’s here to stay, so make sure you’re doing what you can to capitalize on this growing market.
Facilitate their business
Provide the necessities >> At the end of the day, business comes first for the bleisure traveler. They need to be able to check emails, work remotely, and video conference. It’s their primary focus, so you need to make sure your property is equipped for their work needs. Today that means offering fast and reliable WiFi and workspaces in rooms or communal areas.
Prioritize convenience >> For people rushing to meetings and working hard to stay on top of their work, convenience is critical. Their time is limited, so anything you can do to make their lives easier will be a huge draw. This means things like offering complimentary breakfast and early/late checkout.
Facilitate their leisure
Extend the corporate rate >> To encourage guests to extend their business trip, offer them additional nights at the same rate that their company paid. The guaranteed occupancy is worth the reduced room rate.
Make it easy >> When it comes time for the bleisure traveler to enjoy the destination, they’re still crunched for time. Typically, trips are extended for 2-3 days, so finding the most efficient way to see the sights and experience the community is a necessity. This is where you can help. Provide a city guide with local highlights and recommendations to help guests narrow down their choices. And be sure to include activities and attractions that appeal to various interests.
Be family-friendly >> When business travelers extend their trips for leisure, they will often bring family or friends with them. Make sure your property is family-friendly by offering dining options for children, rentable strollers and highchairs, and kid-centric activities.
Make sure they know
Partner with the right distribution channels >> Businesses often make hotel bookings through corporate booking agents. To score those reservations, you need to be connected to the Global Distribution Channel (GDS). It’s also a good idea to build relationships with booking agents (local and international), so they think of you first when dealing with corporate clients.
Feature it online >> If you have a business service section on your website, include information about how you cater to bleisure travelers. And post about it on your social media pages. Promotion is an essential part of any hospitality campaign.
Include it in emails >> Once a corporate booking is made, ensure guests know about your special offers right away. Include information about special rates (and other services relevant to the bleisure traveler) in confirmation and pre-arrival emails. You want to give them the opportunity to extend their stay as soon as possible. And for existing corporate clients, consider creating a targeted email campaign promoting your property as the ultimate bleisure-friendly accommodation.
Millennials have changed a lot about the hospitality industry. Their expectations for hotel operations and communication are a substantial departure from the past. And their expectations for business travel are no different. There’s a growing trend of mixing work with leisure that is here to stay. Make sure you’re doing what you can to cater to this new demographic.