Corporate Travel Doesn’t Need to be Stressful - All work and No Play

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Corporate Travel Doesn't Need to be Stressful - All work and No Play

Business travel was never designed to be fun. Very often you fly to another city, jump in a cab, go to a hotel, meet in the hotel’s conference room, jump back in a cab, and then fly back to the office.

You may have just visited one of the most beautiful, culture-rich cities in the world… and never even knew it.  But these days many people who need to travel on business are becoming “bleisure” travelers, a term used to define professionals who mix vacation — or leisure — time with business.

According to a BridgeStreet Global Hospitality report, 60% of travelers reported having taken bleisure trips, with 30% adding at least two additional days to their trip. Respondents said they do this because it limits the stress associated with business travel, making them more relaxed when away from home. And sometime it’s just to enjoy the city they are traveling to.

On a business trip, Caroline Michaud, a PR executive for a hotel group, opted not to do the traditional first plane out after finishing a business meeting in London. Instead she took the last flight out so she would have time to visit the National Portrait Gallery and Buckingham Palace. “I’m always seeing how you can stretch the trip,” she said. Even if it just means six extra hours in a city, she wants to do it. “You don’t have to stay extra nights to get the real feel of a city,” she said.

Bleisure travel is fast becoming a way of life for the business traveler. Many see extending their work trips as a perk of the job. When a business trip is extended with family or friends, the burden of travel is lessened and can make employees more willing to travel in the first place.

Bleisure travel is very much becoming part of the business travel world, but how is it managed? We’re still finding that many corporate travel policies don’t allow for grey areas such as bleisure. The biggest questions are – who pays for the extra nights’ hotel accommodation and the flights home?

First of all, if your staff are on business they would have to fly home anyway, so we would always advise that travel policies state the flights home are paid for by the business, as long as there is no substantial increase in price. The accommodation costs are usually the main issue. However, we find

these are usually negated by cheaper “off peak” weekend flights, i.e. business flights on a busy Friday night usually come at a premium, whereas on a Sunday afternoon these flights are cheaper and most businesses are happy to offset this cost on the extra nights’ hotel accommodation cost.  Some companies feel it helps employees overcome jet lag and be more effective while they work on the road. Taking it a step further, some companies even use the business-trip extension as a recruiting tool.

But the practice does carry risks for companies, which are responsible for the safety of their employees whether they are working or at leisure on a business trip. Employers are advised to warn business travelers of any known dangers in the immediate vicinity of their business travel in case those dangers are encountered on leisure or tacked-on time.