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Play’n for a Life

By Jason Jourdan

It looks like business travel is on the rise. A recent Global Rescue survey shows companies are returning to the skyways and byways sooner than excepted. While the corporate traveler segment is far from a full recovery, experts say bleisure travel, a combination of business and leisure, will play a significant role in getting employees back to those halcyon days of face-to-face meetings and last-minute hotel reservations.

Virtual meetings, while helpful, can’t replace the personal interaction of sharing space with a client or vendor. Sharing geography is still the most effective way to establish and maintain critical relationships, foster trust, and drive growth. Business travel is also a powerful economic driver. Oxford Economics finds $12.50 in additional revenue comes from every dollar spent on business travel.

Even with the Delta variant slowing all travel in the later summer months,  BBC Capital noted that more than one in three business travelers would include a leisure component in their professional travel plans. Popular add-on leisure activities include urban sightseeing, historical landmarks, cultural tours, and museum visits. Business travel management platform, TravelPerk has compiled a list of bleisure trip planning tips:

·      Remember it’s business first

·      Weekends are your friend

·      Look for “window” days (3 day weekends)

·      Utilize holidays wisely

·      Think outside the destination

·      Focus on overseas & long-distance trips

·      Visit friends (or bring them with you!)

·      Pack wisely

Once thought to be exclusive to executives with little time for vacation, bleisure travel is expanding its appeal in the post-COVID era. According to recent studies, younger workers are more likely to take extended work trips than older ones. Most bleisure travelers are members of the Y2K generation who find the prospect of mixing leisure into their business trips appealing. However, Forbes reports little generational divide among bleisure trippers, with Millennials accounting for 38 % of those planning a few extra days before or after a meeting. Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers are close behind at 31 % each. A commonality among bleisure-minded travelers, one cutting across generations, is a desire for extended stay opportunities spanning weekends or public holidays to avoid using vacation time.

From a corporate perspective, bleisure is an ideal way to incentivize employees to travel for work while granting them some personal time. Many companies are willing to cover flights if the added days don’t impact the total airfare costs (see those extended weekends!). Other businesses give their associates who travel the option to work remotely instead of using vacation time for their extended stays. Employee satisfaction is key, as organizations catering to bleisure policies are seeing increases in productivity and longevity.

As for productivity, work travel requires a lot of energy and can fatigue even the most dedicated employees. Adding a few days of down time allows an organization’s most valuable assets the opportunity to process and recharge. With the stress of navigating COVID-related procedures, an extra day or two may help weary corporate travelers take the edge off!

The pandemic strength-tested the remote work model and has multiple high-profile companies like Spotify, Twitter, and Shopify loosening their pre-pandemic in-office mandates. Opportunities for sustainability are also a factor as workers explore new aspects of self-care and environmental awareness. The New York Times details their thoughts on how to achieve sustainable business/leisure travel:

·     Travel during off-peak times

·      Avoid overcrowded places

·      Ask how tourism money benefits local economies

·      Book green-certified accommodations

The international travel industry is touting a range of offerings designed to support the new business travel normal:

  •  Marriott’s Work Anywhere Promotion offers a reprieve for travelers and working families with clean, quiet environments and on-site children’s activities.
  • The Fairmont El San Juan Hotel features its Bleisure in Style package, which offers travelers an extended stay option.
  • Bermuda introduced their  Work from Bermuda Program inviting travelers to work remotely from paradise.
  • Recently, CNN reported on eight vacation destinations vying for remote workers and a chance to relocate their home office to Barbados for a year!

 Matador Network highlights their picks for the top international destinations for bleisure activities:

–       Tokyo

–       Hong Kong

–       Sydney

–       London

–       Singapore

–       Paris

–       Tel Aviv

–       Shanghai

Work, leisure, and sustainability are the three key ingredients to the restoration and future of business travel. Corporate travelers abroad who choose a side of leisure with their spring mix of meetings will want to prioritize simple, fast, and secure insurance coverage. Even the most seasoned bleisure travelers can rely on the benefits of Point Comfort®, including:

·      COVID-19 Medical Expense Coverage up to the Policy Maximum

·      Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

·      Emergency Medical Reunion

·      Return of Minor Child

·      Emergency Traveler Assistance

You’re the boss when choosing the perks of coverage from Point Comfort Travel Insurance!

CLICK HERE for your FREE quote.