For hotel owners, the overall growth of business travel and the emergence of the bleisure tourist represents an area of real opportunity. After all, business travellers with an interest in leisure are more likely to extend their stays, and may spend money on business facilities within hotels and the various offerings in the wider local community. Hotels are, of course, savvy to this and are looking at the different ways in which they can promote and entice the corporate business traveller to add on to their work stay and the various things they can offer to support this increasing need.
How hotels can CAPTIVATE the bleisure traveller
Become a local resource and showcase the location
According to one research, 85% of passengers are more inclined to prolong their stay in a location with exceptional sightseeing opportunities. It’s not just about travelling for meetings and events anymore—it’s about experiencing the destination. Anyone anticipating an element of free time during their trip to a new location wants to know as much as they can about what there is to do in the area and go and experience this, but may not have time to research everything beforehand.
For these travellers, ease is crucial. Such questions can be answered through information on a hotel’s website or through specific emails sent to the corporate traveller in advance of their stay. Hotels can also gain valuable organic SEO traction by significantly ‘beefing up’ local area and attraction pages, along with blog posts that take deep dives into the best activities, attractions and experiences near the hotel.
That said, it’s equally important for hotels to promote their own amenities, but on either front, the power of human interaction and engaging with staff to glean invaluable local knowledge cannot be overlooked and is a large asset for any hotel.
Having strategic local partnerships and alliances in place also helps create a win-win situation for hotels, local companies, the local economy and bleisure travellers. It facilitates ease and convenience by being booked through or being pointed in the direction of, preferred and trusted partners and ensuring service will be of the requisite level. Bleisure travellers are, for the most part, known to be willing to spend more money on dining, entertainment and tours because their company paid for their flights and it is for the hotels and related services to make the most of this opportunity.
Create special packages/offers for remote workers
Since these guests are not 100% leisure or 100% business, thought needs to be given as to the unique needs of this demographic, and how hotels can create compelling offers that address those requirements. This can be everything from discounts on extra nights to all-inclusive packages that feature meals at your restaurant(s), tickets to nearby tours and attractions, and access to business-centric resources like ergonomic desks or private work pods, along with high-speed Wi-Fi.
It is also important to look at how workspaces can be blended with relaxation. A growing number of hotels are adding flexible workspaces and meeting rooms to their offerings, but bleisure travellers also need a place to unwind and unplug so they don’t feel the compulsion to constantly stay connected during their additional leisure stay. Downtime is just as important. Hospitality companies can tap into the need for relaxation by making it easy for travellers to compartmentalise and step away from their responsibilities.
Highlighting a hotel’s loyalty scheme
Business and leisure travel have ample opportunity for repeat business. There is a great opportunity for hotels to capitalise on the flexibility of the traveller and offer great perks if they do return. The same goes for the bleisure travellers—while travelling for business often results in individuals joining loyalty schemes, hotels need to be sure they include perks and rewards in their loyalty scheme that cater to the differing needs of these travellers.
While the last two years have drastically changed the hospitality landscape, the emergence of hybrid travel as a major trend is an exciting opportunity for hotels to regain momentum and expand the idea of what their best guest looks like. By embracing these travellers and making tweaks to already existing processes, hotels can drive revenue through extended stays and ancillary spending. They also have the opportunity to create one-of-a-kind experiences that bring those guests back for future visits (either with or separate to work) and transform them into loyal advocates for their brand.
Preparedness for technology
The corporate guest is very connected to technology and technology-related items are generally at the top of the wish list for business travellers. In addition to complimentary, reliable and fast Wi-Fi, they want faster (self) check-in/-out at any time, easier methods of in-stay communication while they are out working, USB ports in their rooms or main areas, the convenience of direct online booking and online guest services. Note that leisure travellers won't turn their noses up at some technological treats either.
Advocate for bleisure and help travellers de-stress
Research by booking.com found that (unsurprisingly) 93% of business travellers feel stressed at some point on their journey. Having offerings that promise to alleviate this stress can make them much more likely to decide that a particular hotel suits their needs and purposes for their trip.
Of the top 12 concerns for business travellers identified by the survey, two were related to navigating an unfamiliar environment. As a hotelier with local staff, hotels can find easy and simple ways of ameliorating this stress—offering shuttles to popular points of interest, and helping guests plan their routes around town is a given for hotels with good service embedded within their ethos, but what a difference this makes to the experience of the guest.
Even for the most experienced and frequent traveller, missing a flight or a train can still be a concern. Hotels and their staff can proffer up their local knowledge of the city and help alleviate the pain of dealing with this by helping them plan their logistics and timings, organising reminder phone calls, and more. So simple, yet so effective! It is often the small things that count, the attention to the minutiae and smallest detail to help corporate bleisure travellers experience and enjoy a stay. In this industry, we all know the difference these small things can make. Great service from hotels and their employees will ensure travellers return time and time again.