Business + Leisure = Bleisure

For many of us, travelling the world normally means red-eye flights and days spent in dark conference rooms – our only taste of what it would be like to spend quality time in that destination is a quick glimpse of a city park, street café or museum through our taxi window as we brave traffic between meetings.

The fact that we are at the southern most tip of Africa, most business destinations are long haul providing an opportunity for travellers to extend their trips for leisure purposes, adding a day or two before or after their conference or meetings to spend some time exploring the sights.

“For the effort and cost it takes to plan a business trip, it makes sense to spend a few additional days in your destination. Arriving a few days before you need to conduct your business also gives you an opportunity to relax and orientate yourself so that you ease in to your surrounds and are fresh and prepared to tackle your business trip with minimal inconvenience,” explains Flight Centre Business Travel Brand Leader, Ryan Potgieter.

“If you’re worried about the additional expense and time, there are ways in which to enjoy bleisure in your destination without encroaching on your productivity and budget. You simply need to be smart in your travel planning and enlist the help of a travel management company to ensure you get the most benefit from your bleisure extension. Even something as obvious as booking a hotel with unlimited free WiFi can give you peace of mind when you’re away from the office.”

Travelling for a conference or planning a business trip in 2018? Here are Flight Centre Business Travel’s top tips to combining a little leisure with your business travels.

  1. Plan your stopovers Flying direct to your destination could save you some time but it may cost more. Consider flying via a city you’ve always wanted to visit and spend a few days en route for a leisure break. 
  2. Take the train If you’re travelling in Europe and the USA, you may wish to travel by train instead of flying short-haul between cities. Not only is it usually much cheaper, trains come equipped with WiFi so you can work while watching the beautiful scenery pass you by.
  3. Negotiate with your hotel Business hotels are often full during the week and have rooms available at discounted rates over the weekend. Your travel management company can negotiate a good weekend rate with the business hotel in which you’re staying instead of moving hotels.
  4. Maximise your public transport Research the public transport opportunities there are in the city to see whether it is possible to buy a discounted multiple-day pass instead of paying on an ad hoc basis or catching taxis. 
  5. Schedule your meetings for later in the day Avoid the traffic and schedule meetings after 10am so that you have some time before business to explore your surrounds. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast where the locals do or consider going for a run or walk to get the lay of the land.
  6. Use Meeting Venues Schedule meetings in places that are beautiful or scenic. There’s no need to conduct business in a dark office when you can enjoy a beautiful view. Ask your hosts to recommend a venue that gives you a sense of the city you are in.

Travelling for business certainly need not be a chore. Says Potgieter: “Take a leaf out of the millennial playbook and mix a little leisure with your business so that you enhance your business travel and return home with more than jetlag and an overflowing list of ‘to dos’.”