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Business Traveller (Middle East) - - News -

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

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