‘Bleisure’ has replaced business travel as employees choose to work from beaches and pool

 Business travel used to consist of two or three-day corporate getaways, but a new trend that blends business and personal travel may change that.

Bleisure travel’ is exactly what it sounds like: a merging of business and leisure travel. Imagine being sent to attend a two-day conference in Miami, and then enjoying a partly-subsidized two-week beachside stay before attending another business meeting.  

Technology and an unexpected global experiment in working from home during the pandemic have revolutionized the world of work. From the freelance writer to the contracted coder, technology has made bleisure, a state of traveling before, during, or after business trips, a reality.

Workplaces that permit bleisure travel to allow employees to extend their business trips and spend time vacationing and sightseeing at their destination. Some workers can even bring their families and friends along. 

The phenomenon is different from digital nomads, who travel permanently while working online. For bleisure travelers, the stays are far shorter. 

The term bleisure was first coined in 2009 by the Future Laboratory, a business consulting group. Parts of bleisure travel packages come out of the employee’s pocket, but employers with bleisure policies can strike deals with hotels and tour operators for discounted rates and other amenities. 

Bleisure can help revitalize the struggling business travel industry from the pandemic’s impact.. In 2020, spending on business travel was nearly $700 billion, but the pandemic dealt the industry a crippling blow as companies now expect as much as a 25% decline in number of business trips through to 2025, compared to before the pandemic.

For some airlines, the rise of remote working, online conferences, and pandemic-era restrictions wiped out nearly 75% of their income. Business travel is rebounding more slowly than leisure travel, and industry experts don’t expect a full recovery before 2024.

Bleisure trips were already rising before the pandemic, with the number of business trips that became leisure trips rising 60% between 2016 and 2018, according to Expedia Group Media Solutions, a travel information platform. That trend is expected to continue after the pandemic due to changed work habits, a desire for longer and more immersive vacations, and concerns about the environmental impact of business travel

Delayed or canceled travel plans are making many consider embarking on ‘revenge travel’ to make up for a lost time during the pandemic, Vivi Cahyadi Himmel, CEO, and co-founder of corporate housing provider AltoVita, told Fortune’s Rachel King last year.

"When it comes to business travel, the knock-on impact of ‘revenge travel’ is that employees are now open to extended stays, traveling further afield, and looking for a more diverse range of accommodation," Himmel said.

So next time you get sent on a business trip somewhere warm, you may want to pack a few more sets of swimwear.

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