Seattle, Wash., November 16, 2017 – Combining business and leisure travel, known as a “bleisure” trip, continues to trend in the U.S. and it offers big advantages to properties that can attract this high-value guest. The length of stay for a business versus bleisure traveler jumps from 2 nights to 6-plus, according to a recent study conducted by Expedia Media Solutions and Luth Research.
Further from the study, a massive 43 percent of business trips in the U.S. are bleisure today – and the key to bleisure business is of course appealing to the business traveler first. Seventy percent of business travelers who tack on a leisure portion travel at least every 2 to 3 months. Knowing this audience, along with their needs, can help hotels further attract the business-plus-leisure traveler.
Attracting the High-Value Bleisure Traveler: Insights for HotelsHow Business Travelers Book
Business travelers typically do not book until their dates are fixed, and they research and book much quicker than leisure travelers as well2. They typically book flights first, then accommodations, so hotels offered through a package offering with air often get first access to this audience.
Hotel location is the most important criteria when traveling for business – proximity to meetings and conferences is extremely important as most business travelers prefer to walk from their hotel. Flexibility is also key since business travel plans often change. Star ratings are also a part of the business traveler consideration set, as they have higher expectations for quality and comfort than the leisure traveler.
66 percent of bleisure trips are decided based on the destination1, so perhaps unsurprisingly, cities that are most likely to attract bleisure trips are common leisure destinations.
How can hotels further attract the bleisure traveler? Expedia’s Sue Spinney, Senior Director Owner Services, offers the following tips:
- Leverage Conferences: Forty-three percent of bleisure travelers are traveling for conventions/events1. Hotels should target travelers coming in for specific corporate events. For example, for CES, the largest global consumer electronics show, in Las Vegas in January, advertise special rates for attendees to extend their stay over the weekend and enjoy the city. Eighty-four percent of bleisure travelers stay in the same hotel1 that they did for business, but the number one reson for not staying in the same location is cost, so an extended rate can go a long way.
- Offer Specific Bleisure Packages: Offer an “Extend Your Stay” package that includes some type of value add such as breakfast, parking, food and beverage, or spa/activity credit. Business travelers with Monday-Tuesday or Thursday –Friday trips are most likely to opt in on a weekend (before or after) stay2. Also, make sure the convention and visitors burea ( CVB) or whoever is planning the event is aware of any Extend Your Stay or Bleisure-specific offer.
- Reach Out with Post-Booking Deals: For guests that have already booked, reach out using tools like Expedia’s EPC conversations and offer value adds or discounted rates if they extend their stay.
- Appeal to Both Types of Traveler: Understand that the needs of the business versus leisure customer can be different. Reach out and find out what they need in advance to ensure you are meeting their needs for their full trip, not just the business portion. Thirty-four percent of business travelers admit to missing their bed the most when they’re away, which provides the perfect opportunity to showcase your pillow-top mattresses and high thread-count sheets.
- Leverage OTAs and TMCs: Create a custom package offering, through your own website, online travel agencies (OTAs) and travel management companies (TMCs), offering elements that appeal to both business and leisure needs, such as discounts for extending, or discounts on popular activities for booked guests. For your TMC partners like Egencia, which are entirely focused on the business traveler, offer special deals through their business portals for extended stays.