What Is Bleisure Travel?

It’s not uncommon: tacking on some leisure activities during your business trip—but this type of travel now has its own designation: bleisure travel. If you haven’t connected the dots, ‘bleisure’ is a portmanteau of the words ‘business’ and ‘leisure,’ and is defined as business travel that also includes leisure activities.

This concept might not seem novel at first—after all, many of us have been ‘bleisure’ travelling for years, but it’s extremely important for DMOs to acknowledge it as a separate category. Why? Because there are exponential revenue opportunities for those who cater to the business-leisure traveller—especially with the growing millennial consumer base.

In fact, according to Jeanne Liu of the Global Business Travel Association in an article by BBC Capital, “Worldwide, more than one in three business travellers will add a leisure component to at least one of their business trips this year.…It’s people from all different levels: we thought it might be more entry-level, but we found managerial does it as well, although we did find millennials more likely to partake in bleisure than some of their older colleagues.” This is, in part, due to the millennial penchant for seeking out exceptional travel experiences—a desire that they crave more frequently than any other generation before them.

Another report by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality  found that 60% of travellers had said they’d taken bleisure trips, with 49% of those saying they added two or more additional days to their business travel when they did. That’s a huge market opportunity just waiting to be tapped.

Some other important facts from the BridgeStreet report?

  • 83% of respondents use time on business trips to explore the city they’re visiting
  • Nearly half of respondents (46%) add personal travel days to business travel “every trip” or to “most trips”
  • The three most popular bleisure activities are 1. Sightseeing 2. Dining 3. Arts/Culture

How to Make the Most of the Bleisure Market

Consider business-leisure travel as the ideal scenario for upselling. Someone is already spending their company’s money on accommodation and food, and they might be willing to spend even more of their own on culturally significant activities, tours and experiences. This means that your DMO needs to brainstorm the best in-between-meeting, pre-work or post-work activities that bleisure travellers can easily segue to and from.

Marketers also need to ensure their business branding features leisure elements and highlights to pique ‘bleisure’ interest. More importantly, they need to encourage discounts and special rates for business travellers who extend their stay or who partake in leisure activities and tours.

Other approaches could also include promotions for bringing the family along, or cross-promotion with dining, beverage and tour companies. These promotions should be specifically catered to business travellers who are taking a few hours or a few days off from their work trip.

Bleisure travel is a win-win scenario for DMOs and travellers: DMOs can increase sales with an unlimited combination of work-leisure activities, while travellers experience business travel that is more fulfilling and satisfying. Or, as Liu states: “Travel wellbeing relates to job satisfaction, which means people stay productive and stay longer in their jobs. Being able to take your kids or your family, to add some fun elements to a trip, makes that trip much less stressful.”