Bleisure Travel: a beacon of hope in the event of a pandemic?



The following article was written by Stéphanie Diamond. She is a seasoned international human resources expert and currently Vice President of Human Capital Management for Global Rescue, the leading provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk management services.

While the recent Global Rescue survey showed more people have already returned to business travel than initially expected, the business traveler segment is still far from bouncing completely – in particular with the Delta variant which slows down travel volumes during the second half of this summer.

Yet business travel is bound to come back – even if that means slowly. And as it is, the experts say pleasure trip – a business and leisure coat rack that references a growing trend for business travelers to add leisure days to work-related travel – will likely play a big role in getting more and more employees back on the job. the road and in the air.

Here are two main reasons why.

Virtual meetings simply cannot replace face-to-face meetings. Personal interaction will always be more effective in building and maintaining relationships, fostering trust and stimulate business growth.

Business travel also has a vital impact on our economy. A Oxford Economics study found $ 12.50 of additional income is generated in the economy for every $ 1 spent on business travel.

Leisure travel is nothing new, but the traveler profiles that underpin it are.

In fashion now

Before the pandemic, the travel trend was particularly popular with a younger generation as well as those in the tech industry, but according to a recent Financial Times articleit is becoming more and more common and extending to “creatives and consultants, and now more types of businesses with families”.

“Because we lost our vacation freedom during the pandemic, people aren’t coming back to the usual excuses for not taking trips,” said Allison Fleece, co-founder of WHOA trip. “They make these trips happen. “

The advent of a more flexible working environment has enabled them to do so, creating the perfect conditions for a boom in leisure travel. A whopping 89% of people consider adding personal vacation time to their business trips the following year.

Steve Hafner, CEO of travel research firm Kayak, agrees, saying he expects business travel to return to normal levels before COVID-19, just with fewer day trips and more fun. “Now you know you can work from anywhere. Why make it a day trip? ” he said. “Go more days.”

On the corporate side, bleisure is a way to encourage employees to travel for work if they are allowed to use it as a way to work during their personal time. “Employees are more willing to travel for business if they have the opportunity to discover the destination to which they are going”, wrote Shelcy V. Joseph, a former Forbes contributor.

A benefit to the employee is that the company will generally pay for the flights if the extra days do not increase the total cost of the flights. However, don’t think of it as a paid vacation. If the leisure portion of the trip falls on weekdays, the employee is expected to need to use their vacation days or work remotely, as well as pay any additional leisure costs incurred (meals, additional days of transport to the hotel in the event of travel to neighboring towns, etc.). This is why so many traveling employees try to plan their trips to take advantage of weekends or long holiday weekends.

As for productivity, traveling for work takes a lot of energy and can be tiring. When you add in a few extra days for leisure, it allows employees to process their trip and rejuvenate themselves. Not to mention, if you’ve already jumped through COVID-19 travel hoops, then why not add a few extra days of leisure to justify the effort further?

Whether you are an employer looking to use leisure travel to incentivize a return to business travel or an employee looking to take advantage of it in the future, it is important to consider how duty of care play a role.

Employers must ensure that their duty of care legal requirements are detailed in detail. The pandemic has demonstrated that productive work can be done from almost anywhere, leading people to take advantage of this circumstance.

Business leaders such as CEOs, security officers, travel managers, and human resources directors are responsible for developing and overseeing policies, programs, and logistics that protect staff in shift. They have a duty of care to their staff, to take care of them and to avoid exposing them to unnecessary or undue risk.

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