Hot topic: ‘Bleisure’ and its growth trajectory

2 March, 2018

A trending shift toward a more fluid work-life balance is making bleisure (business and leisure combined) a hot topic around the world.

With the lines blurring between business and personal travel, organisations are facing uncharted territory regarding employee safety. Over the last few months there have been some interesting developments in the world of bleisure, with new studies, new partnerships and rising popularity.

Bleisure travel rising in popularity in India

In late 2017, FCM Travel Solutions, released its global survey on Bleisure Travel entitled 'Bleisure Report, India'.

They concluded that bleisure was rising in popularity in the subcontinent, with growing uptake among urban Indians. The report reveals that an increasing number of professionals in India are now extending their business trips for leisure, increasingly blurring the lines between business and leisure travel.

Bleisure travel has recently become an unconventional employee perk in India, with 65.5% of respondents saying their employer allowed them to add leisure travel onto business trips. While Bleisure becomes a mainstream trend in the rest of the world, 27.6% of Indian respondents say that their companies do not permit them to combine personal travel with their business trips, which are the most frequent among all countries.

FCM Travel Solutions MD Rakshit Desai, stated: "Business travel has always been restricted and policy driven. While leisure travel, particularly outbound, has been niche and has very low penetration. However, the survey has unlocked a remarkable trend called Bleisure. It is interesting to note that the lines between corporate and leisure travel are increasingly blurring. It would have looked very different, had we looked at this picture three or five years ago. There has been a significant change in the behaviour of corporate travel since then".

JAL and VELTRA partner to promote bleisure travel in Japan

In a more sophisticated market, bleisure travel is becoming a real and important opportunity for many suppliers.

Earlier this month, Japan Airlines (JAL) and partnered to launch a campaign to add leisure value to business travellers working in Japan. This is the first time for a Japan-based airline and an online tour booking agency to collaborate in promoting bleisure travel targeting business travellers. The companies noted: "While ‘Bleisure Travel’ is trending on a global scale, corporations in Japan are actively promoting work style reform, which is a recent movement in Japan asking companies to better manage their employees' work hours. This campaign aims to encourage travellers from Japan to engage in bleisure trips and to make the most out their time when they are travelling for business".

Travelport: millennial business travellers are changing corporate travel through bleisure

In an independent global study commissioned by Travelport it was identified that millennial business travellers in the UK are driving an evolution in corporate travel as they increase their thirst for ‘bleisure’ travel. The research, which surveyed 11,000 travellers in 19 countries, revealed that two thirds (62%) of millennial business travellers now regularly extend their business trips by a few days so that they can see local attractions, compared to just one quarter (27%) of baby boomers.

To satisfy their ‘bleisure’ needs, most British millennial business travellers are now doing their own research before finalising their travel plans.

Among the most common tools used to build their perfect itinerary are review sites (used by 88%) and general travel advice sites (used by 84%). Looking through friends’ travel videos and pictures on social media is also typical for digitally advanced millennials (82%). More than half (56%) now use voice search technology, compared to two fifths (38%) of Gen X business travellers and just under one fifth of baby boomers (18%).

International SOS and CAPA release survey: Bleisure travel – mixing business with pleasure

Interestingly, as above, most of the research completed on bleisure only looks at traveller behaviours and trends.

No one is asking the question: who is responsible? Do organisations even have a travel policy that covers bleisure? Do employees need to take out their own private insurance? How long would it take to contact a traveller once the business portion of their trip was over? There are so many questions still left unanswered.

A new study by International SOS and CAPA – Centre for Aviation (CAPA) seeks to understand bleisure travel trends and where the responsibility for safety and insurance lies.

Want to be involved? Complete the short survey by visiting: ISOS and CAPA bleisure travel survey

Once collated, the survey findings will be discussed by a panel of industry experts in a webinar scheduled for 27-Mar-2018.