21 November, 2019

What is bleisure travel? Business + leisure = bleisure. Essentially, bleisure travel is business travel with a fun twist.

Have you ever wanted to add a weekend, maybe even a week, to a business trip to soak in the local sights and explore a new place? Has an employee recently asked to extend their trip for this purpose? You’re not alone: This style of business travel is so popular that it’s earned a portmanteau nickname, ‘bleisure travel’.

Bleisure travel is growing in popularity, both in Australia and across the globe. But what exactly is bleisure travel? What is driving this trend? We cover everything you need to know, including statistics on bleisure travel and what companies need to consider when making a company bleisure travel policy.

What does bleisure travel look like

Savvy bleisure travellers will typically squeeze in sightseeing time to fully enjoy their destination (whether that’s Sydney, Melbourne or London) in between work events, or plan in some local travel activities before catching a flight home.

What are the advantages of bleisure travel?

Business travel can often be intense, involving jet lag, long hours and stress. Bleisure travel is the modern antidote: an extra weekend or week at the destination of the business trip to explore, sightsee and rejuvenate.

By giving your employee permission to increase the length of their business trip to include leisure travel activities, you’re increasing their motivation, job satisfaction and providing them with a chance to revitalise before returning home — in between or after getting some solid work done, of course.

What are the statistics on bleisure travel?

We’ve unearthed lots of interesting stats on bleisure travel. Here are some of the most fascinating:

Who engages in bleisure travel?

36% of Australian business travellers have extended their business trip to include leisure time (Goldman Group’s Australian Luxury Traveller 2019 survey).

More than a third of global business travellers will add elements of leisure travel into their itinerary this year (Global Business Travel Association).

Millennials lead the bleisure travel trend, with 53% of Millennials adding leisure time to a business trip in 2017 and 2018 (AARP).

Bleisure travel is seen as a perk

73% of young professionals report a better travel experience when they have free time to spend on leisure travel (Hilton Hotels & Resorts 2019 survey).

75% of US business travellers view business travel as a significant work perk, with 65% viewing it as a ‘status symbol’ (Hilton Hotels & Resorts 2019 survey).

Bleisure travel’s impact on corporate policy

Bleisure travel is predicted to grow in future years, influencing company’s decisions on corporate travel policy and expense management (Skift report on Business Travel Trends).

36% of Australian businesses require the employee to take out private insurance if they add leisure to their business trip (Bleisure Trends 2018 Survey).

Only 37% of businesses investigate the risk rating of the leisure travel portion before approving a bleisure trip (Bleisure Trends 2018 Survey).

What does bleisure travel mean for employers?

Many Australian employers are supportive of bleisure travel, though managing bleisure travel remains a blurry area. Australians, who typically work longer hours and face higher travel costs and longer journey times than European travellers, are embracing bleisure travel with enthusiasm. For this reason, Australian employers should invest in planning and policies to manage the logistics of bleisure travellers.

The potential benefits of allowing employees to engage in bleisure travel are significant. Travel wellbeing relates to job satisfaction, increasing productivity and retention. Supporting bleisure travel is a great way for employers to attract and attain talent.

A traveller who can enjoy a few days at the destination before beginning work commitments will usually arrive for business meetings feeling acclimatised, energised and positive. Similarly, adding a trip onto the end of a business trip gives the employee time to unwind, reflect and return to work excited, instead of exhausted.

For businesses who have not determined a stance on bleisure travel, it’s important to consider your company’s policy on bleisure travel carefully. While employers have a clear-cut duty of care to their employees during employment, this line can become blurry on a bleisure trip. Businesses should decide on the duty of care policy and what they will do to mitigate any risks that naturally arise with bleisure travel, to avoid potential legal and insurance issues.

How to create a company bleisure travel policy

A company’s bleisure travel policy should clearly state when and how they are willing to support bleisure travel. Decision-making about the bleisure travel policy should involve HR, insurance, risk management and legal departments. Understanding destination and activity risks is an often overlooked aspect of bleisure travel approval. Companies need to communicate that any risks taken by the employee during the leisure portion of their travel must be covered by the individual’s own travel insurance.

To relax and enjoy your bleisure travel in style and safety, get in touch with Car Australia today on 1300 661 119.