Workplace Trends: Bleisure Travel

Workplace Trends

Business + leisure = bleisure. 

Part business, part leisure travel, bleisure, an emerging workplace trend that combines a work trip with an extended vacation before, during, or after a work event. It’s different from a corporate workcation in that employees can add leisure time to their business trip rather than just working in a destination other than the office.

The return of business travel and the rise of remote work has given rise to the bleisure travel trend—business travelers say they are more frequently blending business and personal travel than they did in 2019. 

Here’s what you need to know about this trend.

Business travel is back

The nature of business travel has changed. Before the pandemic, employees could justify business travel for in-person job interviews or big team meetings. Now, with the comfortability of video calls and companies trying to keep costs low, business travel is only reserved for maintaining customer relationships and attending industry events. 

That said, global business travel spending is expected to recover to its pre-pandemic total of 1.4 trillion in 2024 and grow to nearly $1.8 trillion by 2027, fueled by more favorable economic conditions than expected in 2022 and 2023. Additionally, 32% of employees plan a business trip in the next 12 months. According to Expedia Group’s 2023 Traveler Value Index, 76% of business travelers plan to extend their trip for leisure, while 28% plan to take a “flexcation,” combining travel and work. 

Other factors fuel the bleisure travel craze: remote work, blurred lines between work and leisure, and an appetite for travel. There’s no longer a distinct line between business travelers during the week and leisure travelers on the weekend. Employees view bleisure as an opportunity to travel mainly on the company’s dime while taking time off for their mental health. As newer generations join the workforce, they will likely look for organizations offering flexible paid time off and opportunities for blended travel.

Benefits of bleisure travel 

Bleisure travel offers several benefits for employees and companies. 

For employees

Employees who travel are more likely to be less stressed and burned out than those who don’t travel, which can lead to increased retention, loyalty, and job satisfaction. A few extra leisure days allow employees to rest and recharge, improving their creativity, productivity, and job performance. 

Rather than planning an entirely separate trip, employees can save money on flights and tack on vacation days to the beginning or end of their business travel. This allows them to explore a new city without taking extra time off or spending extra money—companies usually pay for the flights if the added days don’t increase the total flight costs. 

For companies 

Bleisure travel is a way to incentivize employees to travel for work if they are permitted to use it as a way to work in some personal time. Employees are more willing to travel for business if they can experience the destination they are traveling to. 

However, there are a few drawbacks of bleisure travel: 

  • Managers may feel anxious about less control and oversight over employees out of the office on a trip that could erase the line between work and play. 
  • Managers may also be worried about productivity, especially if employees are in a new place with new distractions. 

How destinations are adapting 

This trend isn’t just forcing companies and employees to adapt, but also the hospitality industry. More hotels offer work-friendly amenities like co-working spaces and business centers to support remote work. Since there is no longer a distinct line between business travelers during the week and leisure travelers on the weekend, hotels can offer more activities during the week than on the weekend. They can also add more leisure amenities, such as full-day tours and well-rounded excursions, to help travelers make the most of their days off. 

Hop on the bleisure travel trend

If you’re looking for a way to reduce employee burnout, consider letting your employees go on a bleisure trip. For the leisure part of the trip that employees can’t expense, consider PTO Exchange as a way to convert their unused PTO into travel expenses. Learn more by requesting a demo today

Published on Oct 02, 2023 by Josh Reinhard

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