People these days are traveling more than they used a year or two ago.
But wait, this time travel isn’t just about vacation. People are meeting clients, attending meetings, closing deals, and getting promoted for their performance, all while traveling.
A little confused?
Here we are talking about Bleisure travel, a travel trend that is gaining tremendous traction from all around the world.
And by looking at the way the hospitality industry has embraced it, bleisure certainly looks like a profitable segment to tap into.
In this blog, I will walk you through the nitty-gritty of bleisure travel and also help you make your hotel ready for it.
Read on, if you want to mint some good revenue out of this new segment.
What Is Bleisure Travel?
Bleisure travel is exactly what you think it is.
Bleisure travel is about combining business travel and leisure travel into one trip. So, what exactly happens is that business travelers extend their stays in order to relax, reduce stress, and take in the sights and sounds of the community.
Additionally, if you aren’t aware, there’s another term for blending business and leisure (or vacation) — it is called “bizcation”.
However, we are going to stick to “bleisure”.
Because, yes, it sounds cool.
Numbers That Speak for Themselves
What is so fascinating about bleisure travel that it is becoming popular?
Isn’t it boring?
The fact that the primary reason is work, it seems a little unlikely that someone would actually enjoy such trips.
These are some of the things that I heard from a couple of peers when I was doing my part of the research.
But the more I dug, the more it was becoming evident that bleisure travel is here to stay.
With time, the work and personal lives of travelers are merging. Businesses are becoming empathic towards their employees. Today, they understand that the key to retaining talent is to boost morale and help reduce their stress. Hence, bleisure travel is becoming a go-to element in many corporates.
And this, in turn, presents a great opportunity for hotels to uplift their revenue by tapping into it.
Let me share a few statistics from research by Expedia:
- 32% of respondents said that they travel for work once or twice a month
- 71% of business trips are two to three nights in duration.
- When looking at international business travel, the prevalence of bleisure increases to 52%.
- 66% of bleisure travelers said they spend more money on leisure activities because of the money they saved on travel.
- More than 80% of bleisure travelers said they tend to stay at the same hotel where they stayed on their business trip.
Now, if these numbers don’t convince you about the prominence of bleisure travel, then I don’t know what would.
How Can Hotels Become Bleisure Travel-Ready?
Okay, Harsh. I get it.
I know that bleisure is the thing, currently; and it is going to boom in the coming years as well.
But, what’s next?
How am I going to join the bandwagon?
Are there any ways to attract bleisure travelers?
This is exactly, what you’re thinking, right? Fret, no more. I will help you.
The preferences of bleisure travelers are not the same as others. And if hotels want to make the best out of this set of guests, they must invest their time and efforts to understand bleisure better.
Let’s look at the aspects that a hotel needs to work on:
1. Have a work-centric infrastructure
Of course, bleisure travelers look for leisure. But that’s secondary. Their primary thing on their to-do list is work.
Meaning, these travelers want a space where they can get their work done without any disturbance or difficulties.
And how can you ensure that? By having the following things on your property:
- Set up multiple workspaces and conference rooms to allow bleisure travelers to work and host other official events.
- Ensure that the hotel is equipped with high-speed internet so that the bleisure guests can work seamlessly.
- Keep spare computers, laptops, and other IT accessories to support them with everything they need to carry out their official tasks.
- Stationaries are also important for bleisure guests during their stay. And when you have them available at your property, it shows that you are detail-oriented.
2. Create offers and packages
Companies love it when everything (all the amenities and service) come in one package. It saves their time and money. And that’s the space where hotels need to play.
Let me explain by the way I think of it.
For instance, there’s this company that wants to host a client meeting in a different city. They have multiple hotel options from that particular city. But it gets a little overwhelming when they have to book everything separately — be it the rooms for their employees or the conference hall they want for the meeting. But, imagine, your hotel already has predefined packages for such bookings. Let’s call a package as Premium Corporate Bundle which includes 3 rooms, a dedicated conference hall, breakfast for all guests, and required stationaries.
This makes it a lot easier for companies to make a reservation.
Further, an offer like 10% off on bookings made within 2 days of enquiry (basically, something that drives urgency) increases your chances of making a significant sale.
This presents you with a great opportunity for upselling as well. You can pitch additional services to guests or the company, such as a spa, recreational activities, room upgrades, and more, for extra charges.
Upselling is an efficient option for every property type to boost revenue. And not to mention, stats say, 60% of consumers would be spending more if an additional service compliments or enhances their main purchase.
Want to learn more about upselling?
Read this blog: Unique Ways of Upselling in Hotels
3. Play a strategic marketing game
Marketing is, anyway, at the heart of a hotel business, but when it comes to certain types of trends, it needs a little different approach.
Now, there are various forms of marketing — both in the digital and offline spaces. But you, as a hotelier, should be aware of the channels that are going to yield better results.
The way I think of it is that you first ask yourself this question — Where are my prospects hanging out?
Are they hanging out on LinkedIn? Are they hanging out in some corporate lounge in your nearest airport? Or are they hanging out in some co-working space?
I believe this makes it a little clear where exactly (or on which channels) you should direct your marketing efforts.
Let me give an example.
If I am running online ads, I will focus more on LinkedIn because that’s where my target audience is. When it comes to offline marketing, maybe I would use lounge magazines for advertisements or a billboard right in front of the airport.
4. Leverage loyalty program
Bringing in corporate guests, turning them into bleisure guests, and retaining them is a challenge indeed. However, this can be eased by leveraging loyalty programs.
If you aren’t aware, hotel loyalty programs are reward-based marketing strategies used for guest retention as well as new guest acquisition.
For example, you have had a bleisure booking with a company last year and they signed up for your loyalty program. This year, the company is planning to send its 10 top-performing employees to a different location (where you have your hotel’s other property) for work and vacation.
Now, this is where a loyalty program can help you gain a repeat booking. You can offer that company to utilize their membership card and access the rewards in that property.
Acquiring a new customer is anywhere 5 to 25 times way more expensive than retaining an existing or old one.
Then why not retain the existing ones?
Learn more about loyalty programs here: Hotel Loyalty Program for Maximum Customer Retention
5. Have something exciting on offer
Now, this is my favorite section because we are going to address the “leisure” part of the topic.
How do you make a hotel intriguing for bleisure travelers?
By adding amenities, activities, and services that would help them ease out and relax.
Here are a few things that you can add to your property:
- Have a spa in your hotel for bleisure travelers to soak in hot, bubbly water and relax their minds and improve mental well-being.
- Offer sightseeing or community gathering to help them understand the local culture better.
- You can also take your guests trekking on the nearest hill. Make them set up camp in the woods and spend the night under the starry sky.
- How about some gaming? You can have gaming rooms for millennial bleisure travelers to hop on the couch and play FIFA.
- An in-house bar is also a great way to help travelers rejuvenate after a hectic workweek.
These are just a few ideas that I had in mind. You can always do your own research and see where you can make a difference.
After all, it is BLEISURE and it wouldn’t do any justice if you don’t add some fun-filled and intriguing element to it.
6. Have a strong distribution strategy in place
Your hotel has multiple options to acquire bookings from. You can list your hotels on OTAs, let your guests book directly from your website or Facebook page, and even acquire reservations from your hotel app.
However, it is crucial to understand where the chances are more of getting reservations. You can either bet on one channel or utilize a plethora of other channels.
Lay a strategy to make the right call and become profitable.
Talking about acquiring bookings, there are two prominent technologies to bet on — a booking engine and a channel manager.
A booking engine lets you acquire direct, commission-free bookings, while a channel manager lets you acquire bookings from OTAs and update your inventory in real-time.
So, make sure you have these two technologies in your arsenal.
7. Incorporate a property management system (PMS)
While I have talked about all the brass tacks, it’s time to address the importance of a hotel PMS in this whole shebang.
Doesn’t matter if you’re a branded hotel chain or a new small property, you need a system that can enable your hotel to reach its full potential. And that’s exactly what a PMS does.
From streamlining operations and automating tasks to enhancing the guest experience at your property, a PMS will do everything.
But how do you pick the right software for your hotel?
Let me help you with that too. Click the below button to learn more.
The rise of bleisure travel, especially in 2022, is real. People and corporates have realized how productive it could be when a person is allowed to relax and enjoy after work.
Personally, I am a big fan of such a way of working and enjoying life. And going forward, it is evident that this bleisure travel trend is just going to spike with more and more individuals and institutions joining the bandwagon.
I hope I was able to cover all the tips for hotels to attract bleisure travelers and more about this trendy affair.
Get your hands into it to understand it clearly, try to analyze the market, and then implement the tips to make your hoteliering experience better.
Do let me know if there’s anything that can be added to the article.