Imagine this…you walk out of a business meeting on Friday. Instead of rushing to the airport with your carry-on in tow, you leisurely stroll to your hotel, pick up your significant other and start your weekend in a new city. This will be the experience of more business travelers as the “bleisure” travel trend continues its upswing in 2017.
New data from booking.com indicates that 75% of business travelers plan to extend their business trips to further enjoy the destination in the New Year. Major cities like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C. are leading bleisure travel destinations according to a new survey by Expedia. Take a look at our infographic on bleisure travel for more interesting stats on this trend.
Bleisure travel can be a boon for the traveler’s company. Here are five things companies who embrace bleisure travel can look forward to in 2017:
- Cheaper airfare. It can often be cheaper for employees to take longer trips. By avoiding peak time fares on popular routes and getting reduced rates for weeklong trips, extending the length of a trip for an employee can actually save the company money.
- Reduced stress levels. Bleisure travel can help to prevent burnout from too much business travel with no downtime.
- Deeper client relationships. You can only learn so much in business meetings and PowerPoint presentations. On many business trips, employees are stuck in a conference room all day and don’t get to know the local environment they are working in. Taking an extra day or two can give employees an authentic understanding of their clients’ local customs, language and culture.
- Overcome jetlag. While many bleisure travelers tack on their leisure travel after business has been concluded, some add the weekend before a business trip. This allows business travelers to get over the jetlag by the time they are in business meetings.
- Boost productivity. Many companies have come to appreciate the positive impact that combining business travel and leisure has on employees’ job satisfaction, motivation levels and productivity. This isn’t lost on employees either— 30% of business travelers even say they would accept a lower paid job if it meant they could travel more for work.
It’s important for T&E program managers to keep an eye on bleisure travel trends and consider how employees mixing business with leisure might impact travel policy. Companies need to ask themselves a few questions when it comes to bleisure:
- Which expenses will be covered by the company and which won’t?
- Will you restrict the number of leisure days allowed?
- Will you restrict how corporate travelers can book their leisure days?
- How will costs be split if employees’ partners or families join them on their trip?
To protect your company from waste and misuse, your travel policy needs to spell out who pays for what and when. Check out our white paper: 6 Tips to Reduce T&E Waste for tips to manage T&E spend in your company.