You may be doing it now. Adding a day, a weekend, or simply an extra afternoon to your business trip to take in the sights of Calgary, Ottawa, Montreal, or Halifax. Shopping Toronto’s Queen West. Sampling a Sunday morning crepe on the streets of Vieux-Québec. Sailing on a schooner in St. John’s. Paying homage to Pluto and Saturn in Winnipeg’s Planetarium Star Theatre. It’s called bleisure — the mixture of business travel and leisure — and it’s compelling to a growing number of intrepid business types.
Studies conducted by online gurus such as Google and Hotwire found more than 50 percent of business travellers surveyed tack on extra time either before or after a conference, meeting, or fact-finding mission. Their purpose? To roam the streets of their host cities, sampling local cuisine, drinking-in local culture, or scoring tickets to concerts and sporting events. [ITALICS]Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends Report indicates popularity of bleisure trips has increased since 2012 by six percent.
It’s little surprise, average ages of bleisure travellers skew young. A study by BridgeStreet Global Hospitality says the majority of bleisure lovers are younger than age 35. A leading online travel company goes further, finding that among American travellers surveyed, 56 percent of those aged 18-34 were significantly more likely than their older colleagues to take time out after a business trip to see the sights. Interestingly, only 37 percent of business travellers aged 35-44 were likely to stay on.
Among favoured bleisure activities: dining, sightseeing, Broadway shows, art galleries, NBA and NHL games, or simply sleeping-in. Hotel chains in major cities are taking advantage of bleisure travel trends by offering incentives to stay on once conferences are complete. Post-conference accommodations often drop dramatically in price. Some — like all Germain and Alt hotels — get creative, eliminating check-out times to allow travel-weary guests the luxury of a lie-in.
The BridgeStreet study also indicates bleisure-takers rate their projects more interesting and rewarding when personal days are tacked on to business travel. Cash-strapped millennials love that they can save on flight costs by adding vacation days to business trips in far off spots. And, as they’re already at their destination of choice, precious vacation days aren’t wasted in long-haul flights!
The takeaway from all this work-followed-by-fun? Opportunities for bleisure may mean company morale will get a boost!