Combining the words to create ‘bleisure’, business trips and travel for enjoyment are now becoming a huge deal within the tourism and hospitality industries.
"Remote and hybrid working has seen us welcome a flurry of Bleisure guests into our once mostly leisure-guest-filled hotels and resorts," says Shaun Lamont, Managing Director of First Group.
Despite the fact that this word was first coined in 2011, the Covid-19 pandemic showed us that we can work from anywhere in the world, and so that’s exactly what people have been doing.
Since 2020, people have either had no choice but to work from home in line with Covid regulations, or they simply chose to leave the office environment to protect themselves and their families. From boardroom meetings to social gatherings and even shopping, everything shifted into the online space.
Now that borders are opening up and travel is once again becoming a top priority for people, bleisure is increasingly becoming more popular. For a variety of reasons, the concept of bleisure travel appeals to business travellers.
On a fundamental level, combining work with pleasure or personal hobbies aids in achieving a lot better work/life balance. This leads to greater job satisfaction as well as reduced stress, and a more positive outlook when it comes to travel for business.
In many cases, bleisure travel is an excellent way to save on one’s very precious vacation days whilst also saving money on travel costs. As long as your job can be done online, this enables those who would otherwise be unable to take a personal vacation to do so. In some instances, people are also able to pocket extra money to spend on fun activities because their job covers at least a portion of their travel and lodging expenses.
The world is changing to adapt to bleisure travel
The market for this form of travel is being realised by governments across the world. South Africa will also explore adopting remote-working and start-up visas to aid in this boom. President Cyril Ramaphosa said in his state of the nation speech on February 10, “The world over, the ability to attract skilled immigrants is the hallmark of a modern, thriving economy. We are therefore streamlining and modernising the visa application process to make it easier to travel to South Africa for tourism, business and work,” he said.
First Group, like many others in the hospitality industry, has had to adapt to this change. “As a Group, we are always looking to innovate and stay abreast of what our guests want (and need!) to make magical, lasting memories with their friends and family. Ensuring that our properties were set up for bleisure guests was simply a non-negotiable for us; we sought to discover what they were after and have responded accordingly.”
4 things are a high-priority for bleisure travellers:
1. Business-relevant amenities: Facilities like FREE, fast and reliable internet connections, easily-accessible electrical outlets and working spaces in rooms are now standard requirements rather than ‘nice-to-haves’.
2. Rooms with a view: Before Covid times, guests would spend little to no time in their rooms during the day. Now that they are mixing business and leisure, the last thing they want is to be stuck in a hotel room overlooking the next building. The whole point of taking a ‘workation’ is to work in an environment that is beautiful, awe-inspiring and nothing like home, right?
3. Top-class childcare: Many bleisure guests take their children on their ‘workation’ and want the assurance that while they are solving the world’s problems, their precious cargo will be taken care of, fed and having fun!
4. Meals included: Self-catering has always been a hit with leisure guests, however, Bleisure guests are strapped for time. When they are not working, they want to be relaxing and enjoying time with their partner or family. They don’t want the chore of cooking which is why so many look for packages that include meals or have restaurants on site.