business travelers often find their international obligations so draining that they are beginning to pursue “bleisure” travel: a mix of work and leisure which turns business trips into an opportunity for fun and indulgence.
In a world that’s becoming ever more globally-minded and connected, business travel is for many people a fact of life. Getting on a plane for a whirlwind of meetings, speeches and pitches before rushing back home again is something that some people have become used to – but this doesn’t mean they don’t find it stressful and exhausting.
Bleisure may be something of an awkward, travel industry buzzword, but the concept itself is taking hold: mixing work and leisure that turn business trips into an opportunity for fun and indulgence. Business travelers make up half of all hotel guests in the United States, having spent $288.4 billion in 2014, while China expects business travel spending to increase by 61% by 2019. Japan, the UK and Germany are similarly invested in business travelers, and catering to them is a priority of the travel industry. If you often find yourself going away for business, perhaps you can turn your work trips into holiday experiences.
How bleisure is changing the travel industry?
Business travelers have already made meeting rooms and high-speed Internet connections in hotels something of an industry standard. However, these aren’t the only features that have emerged to cater to the needs of those engaged in working wanderlust. The industry is evolving as people start adding some of their annual holiday leave to their business trips, turning a flying visit into something more substantial.
Business hotels have, in the past, been an unpleasant prospect. Small rooms, aesthetics sacrificed in favor of “functionality” (often a convenient excuse to save money) and bad food were all too often the defining aspects of these establishments. As it becomes clear that people want to enjoy their travel experiences whether they are going to work or not, hoteliers’ attitudes towards business travelers are changing. In a timely example of the trend, Virgin Hotels in Chicago has even gone so far as designing a headboard perfect for working in bed.
What should you be looking for in a bleisure holiday?
In order for a hotel to be useful to business travelers it usually needs ample meeting spaces, executive lounges and close proximity to central business districts. However, it isn’t only hotels that can create the best atmosphere for bleisure travel. With high-end holiday homes throughout the world – including luxury city apartments in major business hubs – members-only services like The Hideaways Club offer plenty to frequent business travelers. Their properties offer an indulgent home-from-home, but also Wi-Fi, excellent locations and the convenience of a concierge. Furthermore, the accommodation is private, professional and impressive enough to meet clients in.
Hotels like the Sukhothai in Bangkok are also ideal for business travelers who want to bring some relaxation to their trip. If you’ve brought family along, babysitting services can help you out in the moments you need to head to a meeting. It’s also a tranquil oasis in the cacophony of the city, with everything the business traveller could need to both work and enjoy themselves – including secretarial services, a business center, outdoor pool and award winning Thai cuisine.
EPIC Hotel in Miami is similarly well placed for those on a leisurely business trip. Here you can arrive by yacht in the hotel’s private marina, while The Orchard Hotel in Singapore has shoe-shining services, complimentary laundry and a team of event planners and skilled chefs to help with your business event. The Table Bay in South Africa also blends business and leisure particularly well, including airport transfers in vehicles with Wi-Fi, personal shoppers and even helicopter rides ensuring that you have plenty of time for fun once work is over. The Murano Urban Resort in Paris even has mini-pools in some of its suites – something truly indulgent to get out of work-mode.
Why Mix Business and Leisure?
The growth of bleisure travel seems to be tied up in the developing ideas around corporate wellbeing. Overwork and exhaustion are increasingly seen as bad for business, and people are becoming more aware of the dangers of burnout. Those who frequently go on business trips were previously expected to simply deal with the jet-lag and tiredness, but now some employers are even footing the bill for an extra few days away. Arriving earlier and leaving later than planned can have a really positive impact on stress levels, meaning that not only do you get a chance to enjoy yourself, but you perform much better professionally.
It also gives you the chance to turn time away from your partner or family into quality time together, making the stress of business travel more bearable and transforming something that would have been an onerous task into an enjoyable holiday. Getting a chance to experience the culture of a country, as well as relax, can also make any international work go more smoothly. With all these advantages to be enjoyed, making your next business trip a bleisure holiday could transform the way you think about working travel.