Experts agree – “bleisure” is an acronym that describes a wonderful new trend of combining business travel with leisure travel. After all, work can take you to some pretty great places, and it really sucks when you can’t stay an extra few days to take in the sights!
The business plus leisure travel trend aims to change all that, and so far it is doing a bang-up job. Millennials in particular are demanding about their career perks, and bleisure is one of those perks that can get this talented yet notoriously fickle generation of workers to stick around and keep contributing to the corporate culture and bottom line.
B-leisure offers plenty of incentives for all to enjoy. Business travelers can tag on a mini-vacation to make work travel feel less onerous (even bringing their partner or family along to enjoy the getaway!). Hotels and short-term rentals (a la Casago) are also seeing a spike in interest as bleisure travelers seek out cool and unique local places to stay during their mini-venture.
In this article, learn what you need to know to position your rental property or other type of short-term lodging to appeal to the business traveler who plans to work in a little R&R after the workday is done!
Who Is Traveling for Work and Pleasure?
The most recent statistics show that nearly half of all business travelers currently add on an extra day or few to enjoy the local sights and scenes.
Even more compellingly, three-quarters of business travelers surveyed say they plan to add in more leisure travel during their business trips in the near future.
To put this number into perspective, just how many business trips are we talking about? Research shows that right now, travelers take around 462 million business trips every 12 months. By the year 2022, that number may rise to just under 500 million trips!
What this means is that the rental market has never looked better for property management professionals seeking to increase bookings for short-term rental properties. So what can you do to make the properties you manage stand out from the crowd? Let’s find out!
Appealing to Flex Travelers
Guests who are combining business travel with a short-term leisure excursion are looking for a very specific set of amenities when they choose a place to stay.
To appeal to this unique group of guests, you almost have to imagine that you are trying to appeal to two very different guests in one: a business traveler who is there to work efficiently and a leisure traveler who is there to explore and make memories.
So first, let’s put on our business travel hat and take a look at what your guest will need in terms of lodging amenities to get the job done efficiently and effectively!
Free reliable high speed internet access is a must – this one is not negotiable for the business traveler. A quiet place to work with a comfortable desk and office chair is also a bonus. Any extra business services, such as access to a scanner, fax (or e-fax), printing/copying and courier services will add extra value.
Additional business amenities that many working travelers are looking for include dry cleaning, access to workout facilities or a gym set, personalized concierge assistance with booking meetings and help procuring a taxi service. The option for meal preparation or delivery and a coffee service/breakfast bar on the go can also be memorable extra value-added perks.
Next, let’s put on our leisure travel hat and investigate what the leisure guest who is on vacation may be seeking in terms of selecting a short-term vacation rental property.
Here again, reliable free high speed internet access will be a main non-negotiable perk for most – the world today is so connected that it is nearly unthinkable to ask any guest to go without!
Concierge services that can offer personalized local recommendations for things to see and do, places to dine and shop, city guides with curated stops, tour and event recommendations and similar services will also be much appreciated.
Leisure travelers also want to relax. For property management teams seeking to appeal to the leisure guest, access to hot tubs and jacuzzis, private pools and saunas, on-site or mobile spa services, workout facilities or gyms plus coffee/breakfast bar options and similar offerings will be a major plus.
Leisure guests also want a memorable experience. Millenial travelers in particular place a premium on having a “locals” experience, which often includes staying in the heart of the local community they are there to explore rather than feeling marooned in the tourist district.
The more local culture you can pack into your vacation or short-term rental property, the more appealing it will be to the business-turned-leisure traveler. Here, it nearly goes without saying that a location in close proximity to arts, culture, dining, shopping, entertainment and activity will also work in your favor when attracting new leisure guests.
If your short-term rental location is not situated ideally for local sightseeing, emphasize how easy it is to get there and how nice it will be to return home to a private retreat at the end of each day. Alternately, highlight proximity to the airport, bus depot, train station or subway as a perk.
Comfort Is King for All Travelers
No matter what the reason is for travel, all guests are seeking comfort – a “home away from home.” This in part explains the rise of off-the-beaten-path options like couch surfing, where the traveler arrives in a new place and instantly has the help of a local to find their way around.
This can be a very comforting experience when you are in a new place! While the business plus leisure traveler is typically looking for a much different type of lodging than your average couch surfer, one thing they do want to find right away is a sense of comfort.
From the plush softness of the pillows, sheets and blankets on their bed to the familiarity of a single-cup coffeemaker in the kitchen, you can’t go wrong emphasizing local comfort with all the extras that make your accommodation feel like your guests’ “home away from home.”
Other options to consider include a personalized selection of coffee and tea, soft robes and slippers, ear plugs and eye masks, easy-use alarm clocks, plenty of power strips with USB capability, phone charging stations, a selection of morning papers and local current issue magazines, television with local and international news, password-enabled access to subscription streaming services for television and movies and a selection of free bottled water, sodas and snacks.
A Local Contact Is the Cherry on Top
Your business-turned-leisure guest will be trying to pack a lot into a limited time period. It is actually quite ambitious to try to juggle two completely different travel purposes in a single trip!
The “secret sauce” that can tie this whole recipe together will be, simply, YOU.
Whether this means that you are personally available to welcome your guest and help them get acclimated or you designate someone from your property management organization who is on call for each guest, there is no substitute for that personalized touch when your guest arrives for their stay.
Ultimately, the sound of a friendly, welcoming voice can make up for many other lesser omissions, paving the way for positive reviews and future bookings!