How to use incentives to turn business travellers into bleisure travellers

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Incentive turning business travellers into bleisure travellers

The term ‘bleisure’ may be relatively new but what it defines has been prominent for quite some time. Business travellers who add a day or two onto their trip for leisure purposes are not a fresh market – but a growing one that’s here to stay.

Hotels need to offer the right incentives to ensure they capitalise on this segment.

Statistics often tell a story and recent figures show the continued strength of bleisure travel and offer some insight into the strategies hotels can use to attract the bleisure group:

  • Almost 40% of business travellers in North America added a leisure leg to their work trip in the past year.
  • Expedia reports 43% of all business trips, both international and domestic, are extended to include some kind of leisure activity.
  • 51% say they plan to do this at least one time in 2017.
  • Leisure days now tend to outnumber work days on the average business trip.
  • Of those who didn’t take a bleisure trip 58% said they didn’t have enough time. Another 18% said their company policy didn’t allow it.

With global business travel spend forecasted to increase by 6% in both 2017 and 2018, here’s how hotels can turn business travellers into bleisure travellers:

Tip #1

Make it easy to bring extra guests

According to Skift, more than half of those who extend a business trip bring family or significant others with them. If it’s convenient and worthwhile to bring other guests, corporate travellers are much more likely to add leisure time to their trip. In fact, about 75% of business travellers said they’d prolong a work-related trip for leisure if a hotel offered a discount or additional nights.

To encourage this your hotel might consider putting together packages aimed at business travellers. For example, a five-night bleisure package could include added extras on the fourth night, and the final night free. This would suit a traveller who has work on three days, but wants to bring their partner for some leisure time once these commitments are completed.

For business travellers with families you can easily bundle an offer that provides discounts to local theme parks or attractions. This way if a guest is concluding their business on a Friday they can extend their stay through the weekend and include their family in the trip.

Tip #2
Understand the different personas of business travellers

Just like other guests, business travellers have many different motivations for extending their trip. They may want to squeeze in some romance with their partner, be active and explore the surrounding area, or simply take time to relax and pamper themselves.

Profiling your guests will make it easier to know what strategy will convince them to extend their stay. Will you offer increased or discounted access to amenities like spas or massage services? Will you offer a discounted room upgrade? Will you give them personalised guides to local attractions or tickets to cultural and historical tours?

It’s important for them to balance their business and personal goals, and your hotel needs to assist them with targeted offers.

Tip #3
Personalise all guest communication

Some guests may be visiting for the first time, for others it could be their second or third trip to the area, so their desires will differ. You need to realise this and tailor your communication accordingly. For someone on their first trip, it will appeal to them to explore the city and see all the highlights. For a third-time guest, it might simply be a matter of using the extra time to unwind.

Make sure guests are aware of your offer. Send them additional information in pre-stay emails via your online booking engine, and remind them at check-in that they can still take advantage of your unique offer, or leave information in their rooms about the opportunities to prolong their stay.

You can also reward guests who are part of your loyalty program or give others an incentive to join with with additional night offers or discounted amenity offers.

The bleisure trend is certainly one worth pursuing for hoteliers. Many travellers may only get one opportunity per year for a proper vacation, so they’re eager to steal leisure time where they can on their business trips, lest they risk burnout.

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