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Business Match

EQ Travel Management reports bleisure trips are new staff Incentive

Despite what most people think, business travel was never designed to  be enjoyable! Travellers find themselves rushing from airport, to  taxi to meeting to hotel, an overnight stay and then you have to do  the same thing all over again the next day in reverse.  Before you  know it, your back at your desk in the office, having visited a city  but not seen any attractions or culture.

In 2014, Skift published a report on Bleisure and since then the term  “Bleisure” has been a hot topic for businesses and the business  traveller.  At the time as many as 83% of respondents said they used  time while away on business trips to explore and enjoy the city they  are visiting – it was a real eye opener for businesses and it has  since become clear that bleisure trips will continue to grow.

Travel Management Companies are seeing increasing amounts of clients  extending their trips and bleisure is fast becoming a way of life for  the business traveller. Many see extending their work trips as a perk  of the job. The flip side is leisure travellers continue to work while  on holiday (when was the last time you left your work mobile at home  while on holiday).

Franc Jeffrey from EQ Travel Management commented “We find that 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.  We also have clients advising us that bleisure trips can be  advantageous to the company as a whole, with staff gaining better  knowledge of a city and its culture being good for business.

With all this in mind, it’s evident that bleisure travel is very much  becoming part of the business travel world, but how is it managed?   Many SME’s 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?

This all goes back to having a clear and concise travel policy and  making sure it covers bleisure activity, otherwise extending business  trips for bleisure would have to be decided by management on a case by  case basis and you run into the danger of a member of staff feeling  aggrieved that their bleisure trip isn’t paid for while another member  of staff is.

But, as a business, what do you need to consider?

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 ie  flights on a Friday night busy business routes, usually come at a  premium, whereas on a Sunday afternoon they these flights are cheaper,  most businesses are happy to offset this cost on the extra hotel  nights’ hotel accommodation cost.

Businesses also finding that airmiles and hotel loyalty schemes are  playing their part in bleisure travel as travellers use airmiles or  points to fly their partner to join then or extend their hotel stay.

Staff are increasingly expected to work harder and travel more. If you can create solutions that allows them to play hard at the same time it  can add to the work life balance motivating them and in turn make them  happier and more productive, which of course helps the bottom line.

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