A new type of travel is on the rise. 

‘Bleisure’ travel – a mix of business and leisure travel – is becoming increasingly popular with millennials.  A 2016 report from MMGY Global, a travel and hospitality marketing firm who polled 1,007 business travelers from across generations, found that millennials took an average of 7.7 business trips over a twelve-month period—more than their older counterparts  (Generation Xers).

On top of this, Generation Y considers itself more efficient on the road than stuck at a desk, and that’s not even touching on the notion that business trips are a status symbol: the more you take, the more successful you seem. 

But what’s this got to do with leisure? 

48% of millennials tack on a couple of extra days to their business trips so they can explore the local area. For employers, this can only be a good thing – after all, business travel like this lets their employees advance their careers and explore the world, which gives them access to new information and fresh perspectives. 

Why Bleisure Travel is Great for Independent Hotels

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The continual rise in bleisure travel is good news for independent hotels – particularly those that regularly cater to business travellers. This is because it fills in the gaps. Travellers to business hotels tend to stay during the week, but bleisure travellers will extend their stay over the weekend to give the hotel extra custom they might otherwise not have had. 

On top of that, millennial business travellers are often on the hunt for authentic stays and unique experiences when they travel. Independent hotels are able to provide this much more easily than large hotel groups! And, as they are smaller, independent hotels can adapt to trends faster because they don’t have as many hoops to jump through. 

Bleisure travellers also spend a lot. In fact, research from Expedia Group shows that 66% of them are willing to spend more on the leisure side of their trip because they’re already saving money (they don’t have to pay for flights and accommodation).

How to Attract Millennial Bleisure Travellers 

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Aid an Authentic Travel Experience

Bleisure travellers like to explore and have authentic travel experiences, but they usually have a very short time frame to do that in. Usually, they tack on just an extra day or two to their business trip, which means making the most of that time is really important to them. You can help them create authentic experiences by providing short guides that highlight local hotspots and promote fun activities. Use your blog and social channels to share “top five” guides that incorporate local eating experiences, one-of-a-kind activities, and must-see attractions. 

Transform Communal Space into Coworking Areas

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With the rise of coworking spaces, you should consider jumping on-board for the sake of your bleisure travellers. They’ll have their laptops and tablets with them, and they’ll need to check in with their emails, their boss, and their to-do list during their stay with you. Sure, you can offer a desk in the corner of each room, but if you really want to tap into the needs of bleisure travellers, you can go one step further! Your hotel lobby probably already gets used as a glorified office, where guests can tap out a presentation while sipping a coffee, but turning these areas into legitimate coworking spaces adds an extra touch. Provide comfortable desks and seats, plenty of plug sockets, and even section off areas where people can take private work calls. 

Seamless Experiences

Millennials grew up surrounded by technology, so it’s a key part of their travel experience. They want technology that makes their stay efficient, like mobile room keys, mobile check-in, and real-time billing. These features should all come together seamlessly to create an enjoyable experience. Remember, bleisure travellers are time-crunched, so every little helps when it comes to helping them make the most of their time (and spending ages filling out paper check-in forms does the opposite of that). 

Offer Special Short-Stay Packages

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Guests who are at your hotel on business are more likely to be staying during the working week while they take part in meetings and conferences. You can encourage them to stay longer before or after their work event by offering them special short-stay packages. For example, you might offer a discount for bleisure travellers that add on a Friday and Saturday night stay to their weekday business trip. 

Hyper Personalise the Experience

Personalisation is becoming more and more important in every aspect of life, not just travel. Hyper personalisation is when you use granular data to understand your guests better and use that information to serve them better experiences. When you have access to data like this, you are then able to contact guests through their preferred method of communication and ask them for specific preferences, like their food and drink choices, taxi reservation requests, room service requests, and room preference. This creates a unique experience for each and every traveller.

Go Above and Beyond to Attract Bleisure Travellers

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It’s no longer enough to offer good, solid Wi-Fi and comfortable meeting rooms – the vast majority of hotels already do this. If you want to attract bleisure travellers and tap into this trend, you have to be one step ahead. This means implementing key technologies to create seamless experiences and nurturing authentic travel experiences that these kinds of travellers crave. There’s no doubt that bleisure travel will continue to rise in the foreseeable future, providing independent hotels with the perfect opportunity to attract more guests that are willing to spend more money. 

If you want to chat more on how best to attract bleisure travellers to your hotel, give us a shout on hello@netaffinity.com!