Business travelers are increasingly mixing business with leisure. Today's business traveler is no longer limiting their business trip to a flight and hotel stay. Now, whether they're traveling to attend a conference or making a trip to settle a contract, these "bleisure" travelers are finding new ways to make the most of their business trips. In some cases, these travelers are even going as far as bringing the family along to enjoy the destination to make it a memorable vacation.
This type of "bleisure travel" is becoming so common that Fortune magazine pointed to it as one of the emerging travel trends to watch in 2016. The New York Times even reported that 47 percent of American business travelers added leisure days to at least one of their business trips.
These emerging trends open up several revenue opportunities for tour and activity operators. Here's a closer look at this trend and some ways tour and activity operators can market to today's bleisure traveler:
Emerging Business Traveler Trends
Many of today's entrepreneurs and business owners establish rapport with clients, prospects, and business partners by planning events or outings. The golf meeting is no longer the norm as business meetings can take place over a yoga retreat, farm-to-table dinner experience, or even a kitesurfing or paddleboarding excursion. According to Entrepreneur magazine, “outdoor adventures are becoming the new golf for business." Instead of organizing luncheons and other special events at a country club, the new generation of business owners are busy organizing mountain biking adventures and other outdoor activities. “Business is now being made personal," reports author Lisa Evans.
Another trend is to extend the business trip for personal reasons. According to The Bleisure Report from BridgeStreet Global Hospitality, almost 80 percent of business travelers are open to the idea of adding more leisure activities to their trip, and 73 percent believe bleisure opportunities benefit them as an employee.
So whether it's making connections with clients or getting the most out of their destination, it's clear that the majority of business travelers are interested in enjoying a few leisure experiences outside of company time during their trip.
Marketing Tips and Strategies for Bleisure Travelers
As a tour and activity operator, there are several ways you can position yourself as a prime destination or activity of choice when business travelers—or their travel planners—are mapping out the itinerary.
Make Yourself Known to Travel Planners
Reach out to corporate event planners and business travel agents to make sure they are aware your business exists and what types of packages and activities you offer—these are the decision makers for many a business traveler, and are in charge of recommending or suggesting various tours and activities to round out their client's visit. Making contact with these individuals and sending them marketing materials, such as brochures, flyers, or website information, can help you stay "top of mind" as they pull together suggested itineraries for their corporate clients.
Connect with Human Resources Departments
Business owners and managers in charge of organizing employee retreats may also be interested in incorporating tours and activities you offer as part of their quarterly excursion or annual getaway. Reach out to a company's human resources department to find out who is in charge of planning events and activities for the company. You can send marketing materials via snail mail or email your website and contact information with group pricing and package options available. Set up group pricing and tiered pricing options using an online booking software program, such as ZOZI Advance to streamline the booking process for multiple guests.
Offer Convenient Online Booking Options
According to The Bleisure Report, 50 percent of those surveyed would add on two or more days to their business trip. A single-day excursion at your venue, such as a kayaking adventure, mountain hiking experience, or a full-day horseback riding tour could be the perfect addition to these travelers' itineraries. Make it easy for these travelers to book a full-day activity or multiple activities as a package by offering online booking options on your website with customizable itineraries. You can make use of add-on features at checkout to include additional tours or activities, or extended tours and activities priced at 30-minute or 60-minute increments. Giving travelers the option to customize their itinerary can make trip planning that much easier—and make your company an attractive option during the trip planning process.
Promote Couples Packages and Last-Minute Offers
According to an Orbitz trend report, 43 percent of American business travelers had a significant other accompany them on a business trip. Many business travelers may be looking for ways to spend some quality time with their significant other during this trip, which means tour and activity operators that offer special packages for couples or even discounts on last-minute bookings for those who are searching for things to do in the area may be able to capture this market. You can promote couples packages on your website, and promote last-minute booking options for those who may be searching for local activities at the last minute.
Whether you offer group excursions targeting corporate event planners or promote couples packages for business travelers traveling with a significant other, there are several ways to tap into the bleisure travel market. Use these tips to fill your calendar and maximize revenue opportunities throughout the year.