What if I told you that corporate trips no longer have to be solely about attending an important meeting or participating in an industry conference? For many young professionals like me, corporate trips offer a great opportunity to extend a week of business into a weekend getaway.
The industry has coined this type of blended travel, “bleisure” – combining business and leisure travel. While not new, the bleisure travel trend is on a steady rise. According to a 2018 study by Expedia Group Media Solutions, 60% of business trips morph into bleisure trips, including both domestic and international destinations. This growth partially stems from the younger generations – specifically Millennials (Generation Y) and Generation Z – who are stoked to travel.
As a Gen Z professional (I was born in 1997), I’m always looking for a unique local experience or a thrilling adventure abroad. And as my peers and I begin our careers in the professional workforce, this free-spirited mentality is transforming business travel. Here are 3 reasons why bleisure is trending with young professionals like me:
1. You get to check off another bucket list destination
We all have that list of places we’ve always wanted to see and experience, yet realistically understand there’s only so much time in our lives to visit each one. Therefore, bleisure travel just might be the answer to our dilemma. For example, instead of immediately flying home after a business meeting, why not stay an extra day or two – and visit a few attractions you otherwise might have missed?
Recently I had the opportunity to travel to Granada, Spain for an Amadeus team event. I ended up staying another day and used that time to visit local shops, indulge in some tapas, and meander down historic cobblestone streets. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the city and reveling in Granada’s amazing culture and history. My Amadeus business trip opened my eyes to the changing landscape of business travel firsthand. Plus, I got to check off a remarkable city on my travel bucket list – a much better alternative than hopping right back on my 12-hour flight home!
2. You increase your return on investment
Perhaps the biggest perk of bleisure trips is the opportunity to save money. Since the main objective of the trip is business, the company will cover the airfare and hotel expenses during work days, and the traveler is responsible for covering extra hotel nights and expenses incurred during personal days. By combining business and leisure into one trip, you’ve given yourself the opportunity to check out an exciting destination at a much lower cost than a week-long vacation. And if you love what you’ve seen, this “fun-sized” adventure can serve as an incentive to return to the destination – and stay longer next time!
3. You maximize your vacation time
In addition to cost savings, bleisure trips save time. And for young professionals, preserving that precious bit of vacation time truly goes a long way. According to a study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average new employee receives just eight vacation days in the first year of work. With only one of 52 weeks dedicated to personal time, it can be difficult to choose when and how to cash it in. By adding an extra few days to a business trip, however, you get the best of both worlds by maximizing your travel possibilities.
The future of bleisure for airlines
As more young business travelers embrace the bleisure travel trend, airlines may discover they need to adapt their offerings to further meet customers’ needs. For example, it can be a hassle for bleisure travelers to create a weekend itinerary while simultaneously juggling work commitments. This opens up an opportunity for airlines to add value by providing a personalized itinerary based on the customer’s destination, flight times and preferences.
The itinerary could include popular restaurants, museums, nightlife, historical sites and upcoming events that fit the traveler’s schedule and interests. Similarly, airlines could include general tourist information in the in-flight entertainment system for those Gen Z’ers who, like me, leave trip planning to the last minute!
Regardless, there’s plenty of opportunity for travelers and airlines alike. And as the travel industry continues to evolve, the future looks quite bright for young travelers empowered with bucket lists, wanderlust, and a sincere desire to see the world one bleisure trip at a time.
Which destinations have you visited on a bleisure trip?