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Bleisure travel is the new hype in the travel industry, and there are many reasons why this type of travel is on the rise.
The digitalization of society has made it easier and easier to work from wherever you are with fast Wi-Fi and co-working spaces now in most major cities. For workers, this kind of travel implies less stress because they are allowed a few days before or after to acclimatize and enjoy, whereas for businesses it’s also good news because their workers are overall happier. For the hotel industry this demographic is particularly interesting because they tend to stay longer and spend more money at the hotel.
To attract this target audience you will have to be creative and equip your hotel with good Wi-Fi, as well as engage in other promotional activities which we will discuss in more detail later on. We will also look at what bleisure travel is and why this type of guest presents an interesting opportunity for the hotel sector.
What is bleisure travel?
Bleisure travel is a term that was first coined in 2009 to refer to the fusion of business and leisure travel. Guests will either add on a few days before or after their business trip to sightsee and explore the area on their own, or even invite their friends and/or family to come along for the trip so that they can visit together after work hours.
This type of traveler is influenced by a variety of factors such as trip location, sightseeing opportunities, and proximity of the trip to the weekend.
Why are bleisure travelers important for hotels?
Bleisure travelers are particularly important for hotels because they tend to stay longer and spend more money. Business travel already represents an important target for hotels because they tend to be repeat clients, spend more money in the hotel and stay for longer periods of time, but with the addition of leisure, these figures all increase.
According to a report by Expedia, 66% of this type of traveler will spend more money on leisure activities thanks to saving money on travel expenses during the work portion of their stay. That same report stated that more than 40% of business trips are extended for leisure purposes, with more than 80% of those travelers staying at the hotel where they stayed for the business portion of their trip. This represents a great opportunity for hotels to maximize the average spent per booking.
How to attract bleisure travelers?
Bleisure travelers represent an exciting new market for hotels, so let’s take a look at some of the key strategies to attract this demographic.
You can also learn more about how to attract digital nomads.
Make family welcome
One of the reasons why business travel can be stressful is because guests are forced to leave their families at home for extended periods of time. Many will rush home after their work obligations are over in order to get back to the family. But what if you make their families welcome? This way, guests are more likely to extend their trip to sightsee and enjoy time with their family.
Hoteliers can consider giving family members special discounts, make children under a certain age free, and offer free daycare or special activities for kids and spouses. This will make it more appealing to bring family members, and thus give business travelers more of a reason to stay longer.
Give them a reason to stay longer
Of course, it may be counterproductive to offer lower rates to individuals than businesses, but that isn’t to say you can’t offer incentives for corporate travelers to stay longer. Think about offering a special rate to corporate planners for those who book the leisure portion ahead of time. Corporate planners can either decide to assume the cost of the leisure portion as an added bonus, or leave the leisure part at the expense of the worker.
For those who choose to extend their trip, you may even think of offering a special perk like free breakfast or a complimentary happy hour independently of the corporate planners to make it more appealing for them to stay put instead of going right home.
Promote sightseeing opportunities
The same Expedia study mentioned previously found that 85% of travelers were more likely to extend their stay in a place with great sightseeing opportunities, so make sure those opportunities are clear. Promote sightseeing by sending corporate planners destination guides along with the confirmation email. Make sure it’s clear that where your hotel is located is worth visiting and for that reason guests should without a doubt extend their stay.
Whether bleisure travelers have to check in with work or with family members, having fast, reliable Wi-fI is fundamental to attracting this audience. Corporate travelers may have to have video calls with colleagues, or be able to upload and download presentations easily during their stay. Or they may simply want to watch Netflix from their tablet after a meeting, or have a video call with their family.
This is why having good internet bandwidth is crucial. Once moving into the leisure part of their trip, guests may need to still check in with work, and there’s nothing more frustrating than not having a reliable connection.
No sector looks for technologically-advanced hotels more than the business sector. The corporate guest is a connected guest, and in addition to fast Wi-Fi, they are also looking for ease of booking with direct online booking.
Other important technological features are self check-in which can be done at any hour of the day (even after a long meeting) as well as online guest services. With Mews Guest Journey connected technology, hotels can be sure to be able to cater to the needs of this demanding guest.
The corporate sector is a key market for the hotel industry as they are more loyal clients who tend to spend more money per booking. This is why it’s important, as new branches of this sector appear, to dynamize your offer in order to appeal to the widest target audience possible. Transient business guests are one thing, but those who mix business with leisure represent a more consistent and loyal target audience.
In this article, we’ve looked at the specific case of bleisure travel, and how it represents an interesting target for hotels. By being technologically equipped with fast internet, giving guests a reason to stay longer, making families welcome and promoting sightseeing possibilities, you can be sure to attract this audience and thereby extend the average stay and increase the amount spent per booking in order to drive revenue.
Eva has over a decade of international experience in marketing, communication, events and digital marketing. When she's not at work, she's probably surfing, dancing, or exploring the world.
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