Why “Bliesure” is the Most Important Business Travel Trend of 2019

As we head into the New Year, its useful to look back at the trends that shaped business travel over the past year, and the trends that are gaining momentum for the year to come. It’s clear that the most significant trend moving forwards is the artful synthesis of business and leisure that is taking hold across the world known as “Bleisure.”

The trend is particularly strong among millennials but it has appeal across all sectors and in every region of the world. According to a poll conducted by Egencia, a travel management company, no less than 68% of business travelers add leisure activities to their work trips at least once per year. The poll showed that 37% of travels plan to increase their Bleisure activities.

The trend captures the very essence of work-life balance that is so important in today’s business climate. The classic form of Bleisure involves adding personal days to a business trip after the work is done. But it can also mean extending a trip to split time between work and fun. The Egencia poll indicated that people are most likely to add time when they are in a fun location or when the business is completed just before a weekend.

The poll also indicated that 20% of travelers bypass Bleisure opportunities because they believe their employer would disapprove. But turning a business trip into a Bleisure holiday has a number of advantages for the employer:

1. Incentive to workers

At many companies, business travel is a necessary hassle with a limited budget and difficult conditions. Workers will make the trips out of necessity but will often lack in enthusiasm. Many employees report frequent travel as a factor for burnout and exhaustion.

Bleisure is the perfect antidote to the travel blues, without adding real expense to the company. By encouraging employees to take advantage of opportunities to see the world and experience new culture, business trips become rewards for top employees who position themselves as the top candidates for business travel.

In addition, the first days back at work are often less than optimum. The worker is often tired from economy flights and times and may have put in long hours abroad to ensure that all of the meetings and agreements are completed in time. But with a few Bleisure days added, the worker will come back refreshed, enthusiastic, and grateful.

2. Extra intelligence for planning in prime location

One of the challenges for trip planners is their reliance on secondary sources for choosing restaurants, hotels, and places of interest. But the workers themselves can provide valuable research into those very places just by looking after themselves for several days after the planned part of the trip has run its course.

That means that when the company wants to plan another trip to the same city, the planners have access to first-hand information in the form of expense reports and employee feedback. If the company uses AI technology in compiling the expense reports, like through the WAY2VAT app, which allows workers to scan in their receipts and produces an instant expense report, they know exactly what the prices are and how much bang they get for their buck.

They can also take this information to retailers, hotel managers, and even airlines, and negotiate a reduced fee if the Bleisure concept takes hold at the company. Employees will be encouraged to gather information around them, undermining the concern that that their bosses would disapprove of the arrangement.

3. Better chance of nabbing top employees

If a company gains a reputation for being friendly and encouraging of leisure being becoming an integral part of the business travel experience, the top people in the field will notice and make an effort to join the company. Just by adding something as simple and helpful as Bleisure, a company can make itself a magnet for the top talent in its market.

In other words, adding a Bleisure component to business travel can increase morale at a company, make travel planning more effective, and attract the best people in each field. That’s why it has to be considered the most important trend in business travel for 2019.

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