The COVID-19 pandemic caused the largest shift to remote work ever seen. Three years later, many employees have returned to the office, though a large number continue to work from home, either full-time or part-time.
Nearly 60 percent of Americans currently work remotely at least one day a week. Around a third report that they work from home five days a week. The increase in remote work has led to some major changes in the workplace. But it’s led to some big changes elsewhere, too, including within the hospitality industry.
Hotels and resorts are seeing a brand new trend in tourism; bleisure travel. Keep reading as we explain this emerging trend, what hotels need to know, and how our Utah hospitality management company can help.
What is Bleisure Travel?
Despite the quirky name, bleisure travel is a very real, growing trend. As the name suggests, it’s a combination of traveling for “business” and “leisure.” Fueled by an increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic, bleisure travel combines working from a vacation destination with enjoying some downtime.
Bleisure travel is frequently used to describe a getaway enjoyed by fully remote workers. With the ability to complete their workday from anywhere with an internet connection, these employees travel to a fun or exotic location, then log on for their workday as usual. After that work day is over, the vacation begins.
But other types of employees are engaging in bleisure travel, too. Employees working on a hybrid schedule may opt to use their work-from-home time to work from a hotel or resort. Freelance and contract employees may use bleisure travel as a way to make up for a lack of paid vacation time. Business owners and top-level execs may opt to still check in on their teams and get some work done during a getaway.
The destination that bleisure travelers are choosing for their getaways varies, too. From sunny seaside towns to stunning mountain ranges to beautiful desert landscapes, travelers are heading to locations around the globe. Destinations close to outdoor attractions like national parks are popular choices for travelers who want to get active after hunching over a desk all day.
Why Bleisure Travel is Changing the Industry
The COVID-19 pandemic dealt a challenging blow to the tourism industry. Within just weeks of the outbreak of the coronavirus, global hotel bookings were down between 24 and 53 percent over the previous year.
Now, this post-pandemic trend is once again offering up hurdles. Catering to bleisure travelers comes with some unique challenges. These travelers need space to work from their rooms or in common areas, as well as fast internet. But they also expect convenient on-site amenities that make it easy to get their vacation started quickly when their workday is over. Employees looking to bring their families along may be looking for ways for their kids or spouse to entertain themselves on-site during the day while they work. Those working remotely full-time may choose to extend their getaway, and will often look for non-traditional spaces that include amenities like kitchens or larger living spaces.
Catering to the needs and wants of bleisure travelers is a great way to attract a whole new category of guests to your property. Not only that, but these travelers are also frequenting vacation destinations outside of the typical travel seasons.
How Hotels and Resorts Can Cater to Bleisure Travelers
Attracting and catering to bleisure travelers can help hotels and other hospitality properties take advantage of this new type of guest.
One of the most obvious ways that properties are preparing for bleisure travelers is by adding workstations to their rooms. Some properties are even adding flexible workspaces to common areas, as well as meeting rooms that can be reserved for both employees hosting meetings and individuals looking for a quiet spot to take a Zoom call.
Another great way to attract bleisure travelers is by offering reward or incentive programs to repeat visitors. With more time to travel than the average guest, giving bleisure travelers the opportunity to save when they stay with you again can help turn them into loyal repeat guests.
Besides enjoying more vacation time, many remote workers and freelance employees enjoy the opportunity to travel at times of the year when others can’t. Hotels and resorts can fill vacant rooms and cater to these travelers by offering discounts or extra incentives during the off-season.
Jumping on the Bleisure Travel Bandwagon
The idea of combining business and leisure travel isn’t a totally new concept. Hotels catering to business travelers have always highlighted the features and amenities they have to offer for guests to enjoy after their meetings are over. But bleisure travel is taking this one step further. And bleisure travelers are coming to expect a variety of amenities and features to help them make the most of their working vacation.
Catering to the wants and needs of this new category of travelers is a great way to fill vacancies and boost your bottom line.
While adding a desk or setting aside a meeting space may seem simple enough, cashing in on the full potential of bleisure travelers is more complicated than that. But the right Utah hospitality management company can help.
From targeting bleisure travelers with your marketing efforts to implementing new rewards programs or overseeing renovations to make your property more remote work-friendly, the team at Vibrant Management has the tools and knowledge to help your property make the necessary changes. Book a consultation today to learn more.