In the hospitality industry, the two very broad categories of travelers are those that travel for corporate and those that travel for leisure. The corporate traveler is traveling for business – generally due to meet a job requirement and not for pleasure. Traditionally, these business trips were all work and no play, often resulting in unhappy or burned out employees. Repeatedly missing family events and just being away from home can ultimately take its toll.
A solution that has been catching on is “bleisure”, a trendy buzzword combining business and leisure travel. Some companies today are turning to bleisure trips to make travel less stressful or even more enjoyable for their staff. This can be accomplished in a number of ways, but only with the advance approval of your company.
One popular method, which is easy to justify and even easier to accomplish, is to tack on weekend days at the beginning or end of your business trip. Sometimes booking flights on a Saturday vs. a Monday morning or Friday evening, while taking advantage of weekend hotel rates, proves to be significantly cheaper than midweek business travel fares. The traveler can go a few days earlier to explore a never before seen city and rest up before making sales calls or attending meetings. This can solve the “road-warrior” mentality and enable the employee to experience another city on their own terms.
Another option is for the company to allow a spouse, significant-other or child to accompany the employee on a business trip. In this scenario, the guest’s travel expenses are the sole responsibility of the employee. The most successful plus-one trips occur when expectations are clarified on the front end. You are there to work and your companion should comfortably be able to entertain themselves while you are doing just that. However, it serves the purpose of sharing the travel experience with your loved one and with any luck, there is time for a meal or two or some sightseeing together.
As with all things millennial, the conventional ways of doing business are being challenged, while new and improved ideas are emerging. Bleisure is likely not appropriate or practical for every business trip, but it could prove to be an attractive, occasional benefit to those required to travel for work.
While at Memphis State, I landed a dream job at Omega Travel. It was M to F, 1 to 5 in an office, not a restaurant or retail. I knew immediately I was in job heaven! My first assignment was the “brochure room.” Literally. Back then, every hotel, resort, tourist destination, city, state and country in the world produced brochures and sent them by the hundreds to travel agents. Our boxes of brochures hadn’t been touched in quite some time. . I learned a lot that first semester. First, I got the travel bug. Secondly, I learned how a travel agency operates from the ground floor up. Upon graduation, armed with a PR degree, I joined the travel industry and have never looked back. I love it! Today, I handle HR & Operations for Travelennium (name changed in 1999). Travel agencies in general, and mine in particular, have changed drastically. But we are still here and going strong. Over the years, I have been privileged to work with the finest, most knowledgeable travel professionals around. Now I’m blogging to share some of the tips and insider information that I have picked up over the years. Please share your comments or any travel questions!