It’s thought that 75% of business travellers indulge in what has become known as the ‘bleisure’ trip.
This isn’t new, either; bleisure is a trend that has been steadily growing over the last few years. For instance, a 2016 study discoed that 81% of millennials would likely add extra personal time to their business trips.
But, what is bleisure, and how can you capitalise on this growing market as a hospitality operator?
We’ve got the answers, along with ten crucial things every bleisure traveller needs.
What is bleisure?
Now, add some leisure activity to those business trips and you can expect the net impact on hospitality businesses to be even greater.
These trips - which simply combine business and leisure travel - have coined the term ‘bleisure’. It simply refers to any trip where the traveller adds time on (either before, during or after) their business activities in order to enjoy some leisure time.
Picture the scene: you head abroad for an important client meeting, but that’s only likely to take up one morning. So, why not fill the rest of your time with a trip to some local attractions? If you have an understanding boss (or are the boss), it’s a great way to maximise your time abroad and refresh the batteries.
What do bleisure travellers expect?
If you’re a hotelier or restaurant owner and would like to capitalise on the growing bleisure market, here are ten essentials you’ll need to keep that crowd coming back for more.
1. The right booking channels
Just like regular business travellers, bleisure guests expect convenient, fast booking options.
This means hotels will need connections to the right booking channels (including the GDS), and the ability to tie in their offering with local attractions and other service providers (see number 7).
2. Brilliant WiFi (no compromises!)
It should go without saying, but there are still far too many examples in hospitality where WiFi is either limited, hard to access, slow or comes at a cost.
Ensure your WiFi is free, as fast as possible, and secure. Bleisure travellers won’t put up with anything less.
Recommended reading: How to Capture Guest Emails with Your UniFi Network
3. The right deals
Finding the right deal is just as important for bleisure guests as it is standard travellers - sometimes, more so.
This is why it’s important to put together specific bleisure packages that are flexible (see number 9) and which offer good value for the booker.
4. A gym
Bleisure guests may need to wind down with a session in the gym before they head out for dinner, and if your hotel offers such a facility, it’s one less thing for them to worry about during their trip.
If you don’t have a gym, try and find a way to tie in with one nearby that can help you satisfy this important bleisure guest requirement.
5. Loyalty options
Play your cards right with bleisure travellers and you could gain some very profitable long-term customers.
A great way to do this is to set up some form of loyalty scheme that encourages repeat visits via perks.
Room upgrades, free breakfasts or points accruals are examples of how loyalty can inspire bleisure guests to return again and again.
Recommended reading: The Psychology of Loyalty Programs and Why They Work
6. A thoughtful pre-stay experience
Bleisure guests are typically short on time, therefore if you can make the pre-stay experience as convenient and thoughtful as possible, you’ll win plenty of fans in that market.
To do this, make sure you send out automated pre-stay emails to guests that include directions, check in and out times, dinner booking instructions and any tips you might have for what to do while staying at your hotel.
7. Local attraction tie-ins
One of the main reasons people undertake bleisure trips is to experience the location in which they’re doing business.
As a hospitality business, you can help them do this by offering discounted rates with local attractions or special booking options. And the way to do that is to speak to those local attractions and see if they’re up for some form of tie-in; you’ll be surprised by how many will (it’s win-win, after all).
8. Ample working and meeting space
Bleisure guests might be happy to get work done in their rooms, but, equally, they may expect working space elsewhere in your establishment.
If you have the space, set up plenty of working areas and make sure they’re flooded with great WiFi and lots of power outlets. Also, if you have rooms available for meetings, make a noise about the fact (you can even charge for them if you feel there’s a market for it).
Recommended reading: Coworking: Is Your Restaurant Hiding a Revenue-Making Opportunity?
9. Booking flexibility
Your bleisure guests are likely to change their bookings at short notice. This could include extending or reducing their stay, or adding family members for additional nights once their work is done.
Try and accommodate any of these requests as far as you can and without hesitation. By their very nature, bleisure trips are dynamic and likely to change, and you need to be just as flexible a hospitality operator.
10. Hyper personalisation
Personalisation plays a huge role in hospitality, and that’s particularly the case when it comes to attracting and delighting bleisure guests.
They’re all different, therefore the more you know about each bleisure guest, the more you can tailor the experience to meet their needs and desires.
This might include favourite dining options, room upgrades and leisure activities. However, it might be far more basic. For instance, just knowing the preferred contact method for a bleisure guest will ensure the pre-stay communication hits the spot.
Are you ready to take on the might of the bleisure market?
This doesn’t appear to be a passing trend, therefore the sooner your hospitality business can attract the bleisure market and offer those within it the best possible experience, the sooner you’ll find a very profitable source of new customers.