Bleisure Travel is back in business | By Mandeep S Lamba and Dipti Mohan

With the steady resumption of business travel, the concept of bleisure travel, also known as blended travel, is regaining popularity. Before the pandemic, bleisure was mostly a millennial trend; however, as flexible working arrangements and remote working have gained traction, bleisure has become more common and acceptable across all age groups and among professionals in various industries. As a result, the global leisure tourism market, which accounts for 30-35% of the global business travel market, is expected to reach US$497.5 billion in 2022 and grow at a CAGR of 19.5% over the next few years. next ten years.

As the name suggests, bleisure is a fusion of business and leisure travel in which business travelers extend their business trips by a few days for leisure tourism activities. After nearly two years of near zero travel, people no longer view business travel as just an inbound flight, attend meetings, take routine flights, and most extend business trips to discover the destination or nearby areas and compensate for losses during the pandemic by taking your family or loved ones with you for the trip.

Additionally, a recent Deloitte business travel survey found that although health concerns and travel restrictions have eased, they have been replaced by financial concerns, with many travelers worrying about the increase in travel costs. In such a scenario, bleisure is poised to take off as it allows people to enjoy a quick getaway with their family and loved ones at much lower costs as travel and accommodation expenses are partially covered by their employer. This is especially true for people attending in-person conferences and MICE events in domestic or international destinations after a two-year hiatus. Global events, for example, have helped Dubai become one of the world’s bleisure hotspots in recent months. Thanks to events such as Expo 2020 and the Dubai Shopping Festival, the city has already welcomed 7.1 million visitors in the first six months of 2022, compared to 7.3 million in the whole of 2021. Korea du Sud, which recently reopened to international tourists, also announced plans to leverage the growing popularity of bleisure to attract business and MICE travelers through various marketing campaigns and promotions.

Bleisure is as popular in India as it is anywhere else. According to reports, before the pandemic, Indians ranked second among bleisure travelers in 31 countries, with more than 70% of Indians surveyed extending their business trips to take advantage of the destination. The increased influx of international business travellers, along with the return of large-scale MICE events to India, will further boost leisure tourism in the country in the future.

Therefore, it is essential that the hospitality industry, especially traditional business hotels, recognize the opportunity and create packages and special offers by incorporating more leisure elements into the experience to attract customers from business looking to extend their trip. As employee retention and well-being become top priorities, many companies should improve their corporate travel policies by encouraging leisure travel in the future. Hotels can work with these organizations to offer special leisure packages with discounted rates and other perks such as wellness treatments, special dining and dining offers, family activities and curated local experiences for their employees on business trips. In addition, these packages must be adapted to the working hours of the bleisure traveler so that he can actually use the services of the establishment.

Bleisure is back and here to stay. Embracing this trend by delivering experiences tailored to meet the changing needs of business travelers will give them reasons to stay longer, helping the hospitality industry generate more revenue and retain customers.

Mandeep S Lamba
President (South Asia), New Delhi
+91 (124) 488 5552
HVS

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