Business in the front, party in the back. A growing number of professional travelers are getting a little extra enjoyment out of work-related trips these days: They book a hotel for a conference and tag on a quick five-day vacation on the backend – or stay the weekend at least – for some much-needed Me Time.

Welcome to the new #bleisure phenomenon, an increasingly popular blend between business and leisure. After 2018’s major hype around ‘glamping’ (a portmanteau of ‘glamour’ and ‘camping’), travel marketing experts have crowned #bleisure this year’s hot travel trend. 

According to new statistics from Expedia, 60 percent of U.S. business travelers added personal time to their trips in 2018, an increase from 43 percent in 2016. The latest survey from SAP Concur – Hipmunk counts 2.2 million #bleisure trips in 2017 worldwide, accounting for 10 percent of all business travel, as business suits and Hawaiian shirts share the same suitcase. 

All generations on board for bleisure

Millennials are major drivers behind the business-plus-leisure trend, with 49 percent citing savings on travel cost as the major reason for piggybacking work travel with vaca time. What’s more, 50 percent of millennials always or often book their vacations around a business trip and 76 percent are willing to travel for business if they can extend their stay.

But make no mistake - the trend is not only cross-generational, but fully globalized. Bleisure trips have increased across the entire world between 2016 and 2017 with 19 percent growth in the Americas, 45 percent in Asia-Pacific, and EMEA leading the charge with a 46 percent uptick.

Ready to get onboard the #bleisure train? Here are three tips for marketers catering to the international life of #bleisure while still keeping it #profesh:

  1. Respond to travelers’ needs in real-time
    When the focus of a trip changes from business to leisure, so do travelers’ priorities. Platforms like Selligent Marketing Cloud offer real-time marketing capabilities to respond to changing needs according to the situation and context. Marketers also rely on our platform’s Live Content functionality to create and add dynamic content to deliver true real-time contextual marketing across all channels.
  2. Use location to deliver relevance
    Location is the number one factor determining whether a business trip will be extended into a bleisure adventure. Location is also the secret sauce for effective marketing: 53 percent of location data buyers attribute higher conversion rates and increased sales to location-targeted ads. Marketers who support travelers with relevant info according to their current whereabouts are bound to earn lasting loyalty and appreciation.
  3. Enlist AI as the ultimate tour guide
    Destination is the top determining factor for whether business travel is truly exciting. 75 percent of travelers named ‘sightseeing’ as one of the top activities they’d like to experience on their business trip. When travelers search for exciting spots and activities on trips, AI engines like Selligent Cortex can deliver relevant suggestions powered by profile information, behavior and current situation – like a personal tour guide for every single traveler.

Ready to live a life of #bleisure? Marketers should consider giving it a try, especially right now: September and October are the hottest months for business-plus-leisure travel. A little R&R is good for your health and job performance. What else is trending in travel? Our quick 2-page report Trends at a Glance: Travel & Hospitality will bring you up to speed on what’s hot in 2019. Click here for a free download. Safe travels!

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Trends at a Glance: Travel & Hospitality

If you work in the travel and hospitality industry, then you need to stay up to date on the top marketing trends that are driving the industry in 2019.

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