Article: Unpacking a Hot Travel Trend
A growing trend called “bleisure,” where travelers blend business with leisure travel, is changing the way employees are learning to balance work obligations with some well-earned rest and relaxation. In fact, more than one third of business travelers in North America added personal days to a work trip in the past year.* Companies taking advantage of this trend find that it’s a relatively easy and inexpensive way to increase employee job satisfaction and retention rates, while differentiating themselves in the marketplace. Check out these tips to see how bleisure travel can be a win-win for your company and employees.
Spell It Out to Reap the Rewards
Offering a well-defined travel policy that allows personal days to be added to a business trip, and encouraging employees to use it, can be a great way to reward – and retain – employees. Creating a clear policy is a must, so employees understand which expenses are reimbursable (generally only expenses incurred for the business portion of a trip), what type of planning tools are available, and if they can take advantage of any preferred providers or booking channels. When possible, extending your company’s corporate travel discounts to employees can further motivate them to book a bleisure trip – and create a stronger sense of commitment to your company.
Encourage Downtime for More Productive Workers
Allowing employees to arrive at their destination a day or two early gives them a chance to settle in, prepare and be ready for more effective meetings. Or encouraging them to tack on a day or two after a business trip offers a way for them to explore a new city, gain new experiences and learn new cultures, ultimately making them more well rounded employees with a stronger sense of job satisfaction.
Save on Travel Costs
Companies can potentially save on travel costs when encouraging employees to extend business trips with a few personal days. Many companies that encourage bleisure trips will pay for an employee’s roundtrip flight as long as there isn’t a fare increase. Since flights tend to be most expensive on Monday mornings, Fridays and Sundays, employees who stay a bit longer and fly out midweek can often realize significant savings. Longer stays also may result in lower daily rates on lodging, leading to even more cost savings, for both the company and the employee.
Book Comfy Accommodations
A 2016 Expedia Media Solutions study showed that 84% of business travelers stayed at the same lodging for both business and leisure. That makes sense since most business travelers don’t want to waste precious vacation time packing and moving to a different property. Allowing employees to book accommodations that they will find comfortable for the entire duration of their stay can be a big plus. For example, employees may opt to pay the cost difference to book a two bedroom serviced apartment so that they can easily transition from business to vacation mode and start enjoying the city sites when their family and friends join them at the end of their business time.