World Wise

The ris­ing re­al­ity of blurred lines

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Ross Atkin­son

Busi­ness + Leisure = Bleisure – The ris­ing re­al­ity of blurred lines

To­day’s café has be­come the cof­fee and wine bar; the gro­cery, now a deli, buf­fet and caterer for pri­vate par­ties; the vine­yard a res­tau­rant, func­tion and tast­ing room. There are count­less as­pects of ev­ery­day liv­ing that have evolved, grow­ing into some­thing more than they were, and blur­ring the lines that had distin­guished the dif­fer­ent com­part­ments of our lives in the past.

This has spilled over into the world of busi­ness travel. Bleisure trav­el­ers are those who pur­posely add a per­sonal as­pect to their busi­ness trips for leisure. It’s no won­der; we all have been in the air­ports on a Fri­day af­ter a long week on the road dur­ing sum­mer trav­els watch­ing the lines of va­ca­tion­ers. A re­cent twit­ter search on #bleisure brought back count­less posts and one in par­tic­u­lar caught my at­ten­tion:“…find­ing your pro­fes­sional edge. #bleisure changes choices of de­ci­sions when trav­el­ing.”

Trav­el­ing for Bleisure?

One might be quick to judge, think­ing the idea is still a one hit won­der and doesn’t have longevity for the trav­el­ing road war­rior. Oth­ers have vary­ing fla­vors for the name it­self. For ex­am­ple, Avis dubbed the same con­cept“biz­ca­tion.”

Re­gard­less of what it’s called, there are sev­eral re­cent re­search re­ports on the topic that show trav­el­ers on the move for both busi­ness and plea­sure. One re­cent study by Hotwire of 2,020 Amer­i­can trav­el­ers found that just un­der half (49 per­cent) of adults use their busi­ness trips to dis­cover new places. Since the topic is such an op­por­tu­nity to cross-sell, book­ing sites now in­clude up­selling bleisure as­pects of des­ti­na­tions fol­low­ing con­ven­tions, as ho­tels drop their prices af­ter the large groups leave town.

To ex­em­plify the shift in be­hav­ior, ac­cord­ing to a 2014 study of 640 in­ter­na­tional guests, the BridgeStreet Global Hos­pi­tal­ity Bleisure Study found 46 per­cent of re­spon­dents in­di­cate they add per­sonal travel days to al­most ev­ery busi­ness trip.

Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing Life

Trav­el­ers hit­ting the road for busi­ness are ex­tend­ing their jour­ney to ex­pe­ri­ence life. Six out of ten trav­el­ers are more likely to take a bleisure trip to­day than they were five years ago. The pri­mary rea­sons for adding a leisure com­po­nent to a busi­ness trip are sight­see­ing, din­ing, arts and cul­ture. But from my per­spec­tive there’s a broader and more stim­u­lat­ing mo­ti­va­tion; ac­cord­ing to the BridgeStreet re­port, the top rea­son for bleisure travel is to see more of the world and gain cul­tural knowl­edge.

Trav­el­ing alone has its pros and cons. How­ever, more than half of those re­spond­ing say they bring fam­ily mem­bers. With 40 per­cent of the Amer­i­can work­force fore­go­ing count­less paid va­ca­tion days, this could be part of a rem­edy that once again brings the core fam­ily to­gether to share new ex­pe­ri­ences in art, cul­ture, cui­sine – in other words, life in gen­eral.

Mix­ing Work and Plea­sure

A num­ber of ques­tions come up around the con­cept of biz­ca­tions. If you’re the owner of a com­pany won­der­ing about your or­ga­ni­za­tion’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – or more specif­i­cally, who’s pick­ing up the tab when the lines are so blurred – you are not alone.

To­day, there is still a sig­nif­i­cant op­por­tu­nity to help em­ploy­ees un­der­stand the com­pany’s po­si­tion on the topic. Since there are clearly ben­e­fits to hav­ing em­ploy­ees who gain life lessons that are only taught through first hand ex­pe­ri­ences, find­ing a com­mon ground and a pol­icy that ben­e­fits both the em­ployee and em­ployer seems fit­ting. At the time of the Hotwire study last fall, al­most 60 per­cent said their com­pa­nies did not have a pol­icy to ac­com­mo­date adding per­sonal days to busi­ness trips.

This opens up even more ques­tions. Who pays for the em­ployee, spouse, sig­nif­i­cant other or even fam­ily mem­bers? (Re­mem­ber, when your trav­el­ing em­ployee makes a jour­ney stretch over a week­end, there may be op­por­tu­ni­ties for greater cost sav­ings.) Aside from mon­e­tary con­sid­er­a­tions, what hap­pens if there are travel dis­rup­tions or even as­so­ci­ated risks? Is your em­ployee’s travel part of the com­pany’s re­spon­si­bil­ity or are they on their own – and are they aware of that?

When the sur­vey asked trav­el­ers their com­pa­nies had a pol­icy on bleisure travel, less than 14 per­cent of re­spon­dents said“yes.” Even though the lines may seem blurred, the time is at hand for com­pa­nies to look at the bal­anc­ing act and make those lines crys­tal clear for their em­ploy­ees.

Biz­ca­tions or bleisure travel is here to stay. There are count­less ben­e­fits for em­ploy­ees and em­ploy­ers alike, and it makes a great re­cruit­ing tool for all of our com­pa­nies. Em­brace the idea, clear up the blurred lines and let your trav­el­ers ex­pe­ri­ence new cul­tures, lan­guages, food and the un­der­stand­ing of oth­ers.

Doesn’t that ben­e­fit us all? BT

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.