Over the past few years, the hospitality industry’s segment of business and leisure travelers have begun to merge into a single entity, now known as “bleisure” travelers. Bleisure travel refers to an extension of business travel that turns into leisure travel. For example, a business trip that may include family or a significant other, which then leads to a short vacation and extended hotel stay. Also commonly known as “bizcations,” this fairly new market has grown considerably in size and popularity, making it a new part of the hotel’s business mix that cannot be ignored. In fact, according to a 2018 Travel Trends Report by Wex and MasterCard, 57% of US business travelers plan to extend their trips for leisure. With this growing trend in the hospitality industry, it is important for hoteliers to start developing a better understanding of this market in order to effectively accommodate bleisure travelers during their stay.
Understanding Bleisure Travelers:
1. Desires accommodations that offer a seamless stay at the hotel.
Because a component of bleisure travel does include business necessities, these types of travelers seek hotels that offer well-furnished accommodations. For example, a spacious room with an office area to conduct business work, or even a fully equipped kitchen with multiple beds for family members that come along for the vacation. Providing all of the necessary amenities like a refrigerator, iron and ironing board, hairdryer and all of those types of amenities are a must. Bleisure travelers appreciate a more homely and comfortable environment in comparison to typical hotel rooms, so by providing them with the same utilities they have back at home like wireless internet and premium TV channels, you’re more likely to have a returning hotel bleisure guest.
2. Needs to be connected through mobile & broadband at any given time.
Like business travelers, bleisure travelers certainly need to be constantly connected across all of their devices. Hotels that offer free wifi are commonly targeted by bleisure travelers, as they have a need to be connected through to their workplace and loved ones. The majority of bleisure travelers in the present use multiple devices when traveling, such as a laptop and/or tablet for a full browsing experience and a smartphone for quick internet usage. It is important for hotels to offer the right services for guests to utilize their device capabilities seamlessly either for business or leisure.
3. Strongly influenced by packages and promotions that can be experienced with others.
While bleisure travelers are looking for an extended stay at a hotel, offering an irresistible package with a variety of perks or an itinerary of exciting things to do is the most effective way to attractive these guests to your hotel. However, it is not wise to create a hotel package without knowing the needs and wants of your guests, so the very first thing to do is to determine what experiences bleisure travelers are most interested in during the booking process. If a majority of your bleisure guests bring their family and children along, then offer a family friendly experience to the nearby festival, amusement park, top tourist destinations, etc. Instead, if a majority of your bleisure guests travel with their significant other, then tailor your package to a romantic evening on a cruise or a combination of a spa and fancy dinner date. To effectively entice bleisure travelers to book a package, hoteliers must promote their local area and provide guests with enough value to stay there for more than just one night.
The bleisure travel experience is one that involves multiple influences from business, leisure, travel companions and personal goals, which makes this segment of travelers often difficult to understand. By taking the time to understand the desires and behaviors of the growing bleisure segment which includes their desire for all-inclusive hotel accommodations, being aware of the need to be constantly connected and their attraction towards hotel packages; hoteliers gain a huge advantage to the future of travel in hospitality.