Business travel trends come and go, but few generate as much buzz as “bleisure.” Would you believe me if I told you that bleisure is actually a very conventional practice, just under a fresh marketing term? In fact, there has always been a decent segment of the business travel population with the means and professional flexibility to add leisure days onto business trips.
While vacationing before, during or after a business trip is not new, the fact that corporations are re-writing their travel policies to accommodate it is the real trend unfolding here.
Bliesure is NOT New
If anything, bleisure is old news. The main difference is that today’s corporations are looking for creative ways to attract top talent, boost employee benefits, and retain key players. As such, they seek to rectify travel policies so that they include perks like Bliesure.
Executive travelers have always enjoyed the privilege to extend their business trips here and there, but it just wasn’t discussed as an option for all employees. Now that the corporate culture has shifted to emphasize employee’s overall well-being, we are seeing that luxury opening up to all.
A lack of generational workforce research makes it hard to compare today’s business travelers to their predecessors of the 1980s and 1990s. As more companies offer travel policies that accommodate sightseeing, tourism and similar diversions, however, bleisure is steadily growing as an employment benefit. Therein lies the real trend.
Even though most modern companies value employee wellness, some may have a hard time getting behind lenient travel policies.
The Marketing Angle
Travel advertising is the principal motivation behind the meteoric rise of the so-called bleisure trend. Tour agents and companies love outreach gimmicks, so latching on to the concept of rewarding business travel seemed like a natural fit. Bleisure gives them the opportunity to sell more sightseeing packages.
Still, leading enterprises recognize the value of employee satisfaction and work-life balance. They’ve learned that offering superior benefits like Bliesure helps them
- Retain more qualified employees
- Stay competitive in the hiring arena
- Build camaraderie and establish rewarding corporate cultures around shared experiences
- Reduce workplace stress
- Increase productivity
Paving the Way with Policy
Thinkific, a Vancouver software firm, extended its bleisure travel program beyond the norm. Instead of only permitting top executives to stretch corporate trips for leisure purposes, the firm gave all of its employees the leeway to explore, enjoy mini-vacations and visit family members en route.
According to HR specialists, such policies go beyond helping employees trade stress for productivity. They also attract top talent, which makes sense in an employment landscape where many workers view business travel employment as a desirable status symbol.
Travel experts note that permitting bleisure travel doesn’t necessarily mean sanctioning free-for-all risk-taking. As always, it’s wise to help your travelers steer clear of situations that might place them or your reputation in harm’s way. For instance, you might restrict the number of days that employees can spend vacationing in certain places or prohibit them from participating in controversial or life-threatening activities.
Incorporating Bleisure Into Travel Program
The most effective way to manage trip-extension requests is to craft an agile travel policy that anticipates such demands. Your company travel policy needs to educate employees about the legal responsibilities and personal liabilities they take on when they decide to vacation following a business trip. Corporations can clearly define which expenses they’ll subsidize and which employees will have to cover out of pocket.
Greasing the gears of progress with a better travel system can make bleisure far more manageable for everyone involved. If your booking tool helps your employees find cost-saving fares, then they might be more apt to make budget-friendly requests.
Try to make your pre-trip authorization process straightforward so that it doesn’t represent an excessive burden. Trondent’s pre-trip authorization platform allows you set the tone with as many rules as you need to accommodate the way your employees travel.
Letting your employees integrate bleisure into their normal trip planning activities could be the simplest way to keep them happy. By utilizing more robust travel management solutions that can easily manage bliesure trip requests, you can streamline business travel programme. To get started, talk to a Trondent expert today.