mong the many acronyms, phrases and travel industry jargon that business travellers have to contend with, perhaps the most common in recent years is “bleisure”, the slightly unseemly portmanteau indicating the combination of business trips with down time.
The rise of this (irritating-tomany) term does have some basis. In a survey released earlier this year, Booking.com for Business found that 49 per cent of business travellers in 2016 extended a work trip to enjoy the destination more, with 27 per cent intending to do so again in 2017.
One sector of the travel and hospitality industry ready to capitalise on this trend is independent hotels. An independent hotel is generally defined as a hotel that is owned and operated individually and not by a larger company. However, over the past decade numerous “collections” of independent properties have started to emerge. These curated groups essentially allow individual players to compete against major chains – thanks to the strength of combined marketing and distribution forces – while also offering travellers an enticing alternative to mainstream hotel offerings.
With over 650 properties, Preferred Hotels and Resorts is one of the biggest such collections. According to Josephine Lim, the company’s managing director for Southeast Asia, being able to offer a different experience is a key strength: “This is the era of personal choice and there’s been a coming of age for businesses that have a more unique, bespoke and individualised approach to supporting the travel experience,” says Lim.
“With the growing demand for authentic, indigenous travel experiences in any destination, more travellers view staying at local independent hotels as an integral part of the itinerary. Independent hotels are often born of an entrepreneurial hotel owner’s passion for the art of