The pleasure of bleisure – how millennials transformed business travel

Is there a worse buzzword about at the moment than “bleisure”?

The portmanteau term to describe a trip that mixes business and leisure sounds like an unpleasant skin condition, rather than something that you might actively choose to take part in.

Regardless of how I feel about its name, new research tells us that there is a rising trend towards this kind of travel – and that how we choose to travel for business is changing.

New data from SAP Concur has found that bleisure trips – defined as a business trip including a Saturday night stay – increased by 46 per cent across EMEA in 2017, with the top five destinations made up of Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Dubai and Frankfurt.

This blurring of business and leisure time has millennials’ fingerprints all over it, and while on average millennials make up 38 per cent of global bleisure travellers, Generation X and Baby Boomers at 31 per cent each are not far behind.

I can proudly claim to be a bleisure traveller myself, having just this summer accompanied my partner to Germany to attend a conference she was speaking at. The conference was in Wittenberg (the birthplace of the Reformation, pictured), but we took the opportunity to add few days in Berlin either side and take our daughter along, making it into a family holiday.

There were a few extra niggles caused by adding a leisure element to the trip, namely travel insurance and expenses – who pays for what? But it was certainly nothing insurmountable.

The unseen advantage of travelling in this way was that it became a real bonus holiday. We still had a ‘proper’ holiday later in the year, so the trip to Germany was an unexpected visit to a couple of cities we probably wouldn’t have visited otherwise. It took away any pressure I might have felt to enjoy myself in a way one can sometimes feel on a normal holiday – after all, I hadn’t chosen to be there. Consequently, I enjoyed it enormously. In fact, I’m already checking for other conferences my partner can attend in the hope that we get to go to some random European destination next year.

While bleisure is certainly an easy add-on for conference and event delegates, I’d be interested to know if it’s something that those on the planning side are also taking advantage of. And most importantly, if you can think of a better name for it, please do let us know…