A year ago I travelled to a conference in Sydney where I used to live. As a couple of my best friends still live there, I took the opportunity to extend my stay for a couple of nights. I booked a hotel in the city out of my own pocket and stayed a few extra nights as we visited all our old haunts. Unwittingly, I had become a buzz term – a “Bleisure” traveller. Bleisure travel is generally considered the combining of a business travel trip with elements of leisure travel, usually by adding a few days on before or after the work component of the trip.
Many of you who do travel for work, no matter how infrequently, have bleisure travelled at some time. In fact, despite the unimaginative name, bleisure travel seems to be on the rise according to various reports such as the BridgeStreet Global Hospitality report. According to BridgeStreet, 60% of those having travelled for work also added on a leisure component to their trip. The same report also indicated 60% of respondents were more likely to add on leisure components to their trip than in the past and these statistics were even higher amongst the younger demographics.
So what are some of the points to consider within a corporate travel program as we see this segment of travel rise? Firstly, and most importantly is duty of care and risk provisions. There is really no set legal precedence over the question of employer accountability during the “bleisure days” of a business trip. Duty of care can be a grey area on this however it would be prudent to talk with your corporate insurance provider around their views on the subject and what type of cover your business is currently providing for these travellers.
Having a traveller tracking system in place for employees is a good way to cover some of your duty of care requirements as well. This can either be taken care of by your Travel Management Company (TMC) or in-house however, in both cases you would need to ensure that the leisure component of the trip is recorded. Implementing a good leisure program offered by your TMC can ensure that the majority of bleisure extensions get booked through the same travel company, allowing the TMC to integrate that booking data into their tracking tools and after-hours emergency assistance programs.
Bleisure can also be used as an effective employee benefit. In the BridgeStreet report 78% of respondents agreed that adding leisure days to a business trip added value to work assignments. This sentiment can also be coupled with a good internal leisure offering that provides discounted travel to your employees. Plus, there is potential for internal reward and recognition programs to be designed around this component as well. The travel component can also be used as volume for future supplier negotiations around greater discounts across your entire travel program.
” Bleisure can also be used an effective employee benefit when coupled with a good internal leisure offering that provides discounted travel to your employees”
Bleisure travel can be of great to benefit to your company when managed right. It can add value to employees’ business trips and enhance employee benefits programs. Effectively coupling these opportunities with the right risk management can lead to a more successful overall corporate travel program.
Author: Scott Ward, CTM’s General Manager, Victoria.
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