Business travel does not have to be a pain. For many young professionals, the opportunity to travel for work is an incentive, especially for companies that encourage extending business trips with vacation days.
However, the rise of bleisure trips is far from the only recent business travel development that hoteliers and experience providers need to be aware of. Here are some of the most notable happenings in the sector:
Millennials Embracing Work Trips
Millennials are not just enjoying business travel more than other generations, they are also taking more trips. The American business traveler, defined by MMGY as someone who took at least one trip in the last year and plans on taking at least one next year, takes an average of 6.8 trips per year while millennials reportedly average 7.4 trips.
This is partly because as one of the younger generations in the American workforce, millennials are less likely to have family commitments at this juncture. Business travel gives employees at this stage of their lives an opportunity to have new experiences and make new connections, things that can help them on both a professional and personal level.
While this trend is not surprising when considering how the generation now makes up most of the American workforce, it also provides some insight into the priorities of this demographic. Millennials, in particular, value workspace flexibility, and 69% prioritize it ahead of other workplace benefits.
Traveling for Work & Working While Traveling
While the concept of remote work is often constrained to just working from home, the concept can also be applied to working abroad. The benefits of remote work are well documented, as this lifestyle can lead to happier and healthier employees. Businesses that are responsive to this are even agreeing to let employees take extended trips, as long as they are still working.
Workers who are tired of their normal routine are opting for this unconventional approach to their regular job. This makes it easier for employees to take longer trips to remote destinations and creates an opportunity for hotels in these markets to create spaces that are conducive to working.
Hotels have featured business centers for many years, but advancements in personal technology have made the traditional version of this amenity obsolete. Some hotels have renovated their business centers to resemble the common study areas of modern universities, complete with comfortable seating, desktop computers, and tablets.
Traveling On Their Own Terms
There has been a rise in independence among business travelers, with the majority of travelers booking transportation and accommodations themselves instead of doing so through the company. With most business trips being less than 250 miles away from home, cars are the most popular mode of transportation for American business travelers.
With travelers taking their own cars on business trips, their options for excursions within the area are greatly expanded. This not only creates more opportunities to tack on a leisure trip at the end of the business portion but also gives travelers a chance to explore the surrounding area of the destination.
The sharing economy has created more options for business travelers to arrange their own trips. Ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft have made renting a car unnecessary in many situations and alternative lodging services like Airbnb have given travelers more options to find accommodations that fit specific needs and wants.
Wellness and Microstays
The bleisure trend has led hotels to court business travelers into extending their stays, however, there is also an interesting opportunity for marketing short stays. A microstay is generally understood as a stay that lasts less than 24 hours, something that is most common at airport hotels.
Getting a good night’s sleep at an airport hotel during a layover can make a huge difference in a traveler’s experience, but some hotels are looking at even shorter microstays, where travelers do not even stay the night. Doing this involves letting guests use lounges, athletic facilities, and spas without even booking a room. Services like Sanctifly let members do just this, and Roam Fitness is going a step further by even installing gyms and showers right in airports.
This business opportunity came about as a direct result of more people paying attention to health and wellness while traveling. Concerns about burnout from the hectic schedules and travel delays that often come with business trips have led many workers to attempt to take a healthier and more balanced approach to their travel. While bleisure trips have become popular in part because of a desire for work-life balance, microstays show that this appetite has also influenced travel that is strictly business.