Is it time to make Bleisure part of your Corporate Travel Policy?
How can you boost employee satisfaction, help strengthen team-building initiatives and client relationships, and reduce company travel costs? We look at the reasons why an increasing number of companies are formalising “bleisure” travel policies.
Travel for work can be a tiring and stressful experience, especially if time is in short supply and schedules are booked with little downtime for staff. It can be disheartening to fly to a conference on the other side of the world, yet see nothing more than an airport lounge, the inside of a taxi, the conference hall and a hotel room. Instead of being a perk of the job, travel becomes another stress factor: tiring, body-clock disrupting and inconvenient.
Millennials Are Embracing Bleisure Travel
However, a new generation of workers are transforming the way companies organise business travel. Millennials are typically keen to explore international destinations. Plus, because they are marrying and having children later in life, they don’t need to return from trips quickly and can be more flexible when it comes to travel. This is creating a new demand to extend trips over weekends or days booked as holiday.
However, it isn’t just millennials who are actively seeking out bleisure travel opportunities; a recent survey showed 60% of business travellers are more likely to take business trips today than they were five years ago.
Reduce Stress and Create Opportunities for Downtime
Travel can be tiring, especially to long-haul destinations and for frequent travellers. Giving staff the opportunity – or encouragement – to combine business travel with leisure time helps to prevent burnout and reduce stress levels for travellers.
Deepen Client Relationships
Allowing travellers to spend more time in a destination where they are visiting clients gives your staff an opportunity to really explore and understand local customs, culture and sensitivities – and perhaps even language. This, in turn, creates the conditions for improved insight and deeper client relationships.
Strengthen Team Building
When staff spend vacation time close to other global offices or sites, it gives them greater opportunity to spend time with international colleagues. In today’s world of off-shoring and right-shoring, this can be a vital source of team building.
Create a More Authentic Travel Experience for Staff
When your staff are able to experience different cultures and locations with the help of local guides, whether fellow staff or clients, they are able to hook into local culture much more immediately than they would sticking to the tourist sites. This helps to create a more memorable and authentic travel experience that will add to their enjoyment and the benefits of the trip.
Reduce Your Corporate Travel Expenditure
It can often be cost advantageous to book travel at weekends and off-peak hours rather than the peak travel rates that corporate travel normally incurs. So, by offering your staff some flexibility in how long they stay before and after their business commitments, you can save considerably on travel costs.
Give Staff Additional Benefits
Alternatively, instead of cashing in on savings from reduced off-peak fares, you could operate a cost-neutral scheme that allows staff to put savings on fares towards the cost of extra nights of accommodation or entertainment or attraction tickets. This effectively creates a cost-neutral incentives package. It also gives staff a greater sense of control over their work-life balance – a powerful motivating tool.
Enlightened Bleisure Travel Policies Attract the Best Talent
By formalising bleisure policies, you can beef up your staff incentives policies and make your business more attractive to new recruits and attract the best talent.
Close Alignment with Travel Policies
If you work with your travel company to draw up achievable policies, everyone knows where they stand, you can advertise them to staff and applicants, and your travel company is in a good position to confidently and accurately enforce the rules while helping staff make the most of their travel itineraries.
Would you like to talk with Travel Counsellors about developing your own Bleisure Travel Policy? Travel Counsellors are in a great position to help you with this – thanks to our strong corporate travel and leisure travel experience, we can help you and your staff get the best of both worlds.