Bleisure travel rose 1 percentage point last year to 37 percent of business travelers, according to the latest stats from GBTA. This number jumps to 48 percent when you look at millennial travelers. It’s certainly a growing trend. Of those who didn’t take a bleisure trip, 58 percent said the reason was simple: they didn’t have enough time.
Still 69 percent of Americans don’t consider extending a business trip to be a “real vacation,” according to a survey from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
Bleisure has grown to encompass more than just tacking on a couple days to the end of a week of busy meetings. It’s about gaining personal fulfillment while achieving business objectives on the road. This might mean visiting a museum, taking a walking tour, or splurging on local cuisine instead of room service.
The norm today is that business travelers demand pleasure from their business trips. Given how blurred the lines of work and personal time have become, should business travelers expect anything less? For that matter, should companies deliver anything less?
To attract the best talent, you need perks. Bleisure travel is a perk that millennial staffers increasingly expect. Adding personal travel to business travel adds value for employees. If your T&E program hasn’t gotten on board with bleisure, now is the time.
To make the most of bleisure travel for your employees and your company, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Peak travel times can be more expensive. Your policy needs to cover who picks up the tab for the difference in airfare to accommodate leisure time. If staying a couple extra days adds 5 percent to the employees return airfare, should the traveler pay it?
- Longer stays can mean cheaper hotel rates. Bleisure travel could help companies achieve greater savings if both portions of the trip are booked through company channels.
- Watch for lodging and meal outliers. Abnormally high room service charges could mean the company is footing the bill for companion meals.
- Understand what is normal for your travelers. When you know what’s normal, you can spot expenses that are out of balance for certain travelers.
Overall, you need to avoid ambiguity. It’s critical for T&E managers to develop and clarify bleisure travel policies.
To learn more about improving T&E policy and reign in wasteful spending, check out Oversight's white paper: 6 Tips to Reduce T&E Waste.