Hotels Need to Wake Up to Bleisure Travel
It’s time for hotels to wake up to bleisure (business + leisure…silly word, I know) travel.
The way the industry has done business travel historically focused far too much on huge contracts for hundreds of rooms with negotiated rates.
Business travel continues to increase but is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024 (and I’m skeptical about that). Representing about a third of business travel, meetings and events are predicted to be among the slowest to return, according to McKinsey.
In the meantime, what travel remains needs to be optimized.
81% of travelers engage in some form of bleisure travel where travelers incorporate leisure activity into a business trip, bring a partner or family member, and/or book some personal travel around a business trip.
To appeal to bleisure travelers, hotels should be:
upgrading their WiFi networks and highlighting the reliability
focusing on how soundproof the sleeping rooms are so Zoom meetings are uninterrupted
creating functional workstations inside the sleeping room for two travelers because more than half of bleisure travelers are traveling with a spouse/family
offering unlimited in-room coffee and tea
expand room service to be faster (e.g., through a partner like Hyatt Centric did) and 24/7
The local experience matters, too, if the travel is a one-two bleisure punch. Offering complimentary bike rentals, hiking kits, and having an unpretentious staff who can give approachable and timely recommendations are all competitive advantages more than ever.
Business travel will not return to previous levels anytime soon. The most competitive hotels will proactively target the bleisure dollars that remain. Instead of waiting for it, it’s time for hotels to support work/life integration for those who are traveling.