Who says you can’t mix business and pleasure?  Business travellers have been known to take a few extra days' holidays before or after a business trip to explore their destination for some time.  It’s now becoming a bit of a trend - introducing "bleisure travel”.

Love or loathe the name, the idea of incorporating leisure into business travel is a welcomed one. 

Bleisure travel is a combination of business and leisure travel. It’s popular among those who like to squeeze the most out of every trip. Travellers schedule their business trips to coincide with a little holiday break, be that a weekend or a full week in a far-off destination. 

It’s easy to see why bleisure is soaring in popularity. Employees get to explore destinations they potentially wouldn’t have gone to if it weren’t for their business travel. They get more time on the ground by combining their trips into one as there’s less travel involved and less time overcoming jetlag.

On top of that, with the rise in concerns around travel with Coronavirus, adding a leisure trip on to a work trip to an already deemed safe location, bleisure is growing in popularity. For those that are travelling but want to reduce the amount of exposure to flights or airports, mixing business and leisure is the perfect killing two birds with one stone. 

Many companies have come to appreciate the positive impact that bleisure travel has on employees' motivation levels, job satisfaction and productivity. Few, however, are yet to make provision for it in their travel policies. 

How can your business champion bleisure travel?

One area that makes adding a leisure trip to your business travel challenging is not having clarity on what’s acceptable to your company.

By incorporating leisure travel into your company's travel policy, you can clarify the grey areas. Employees will then know what’s expected from them when extending their business trips to do some sightseeing.

When updating your travel policy, you should consider:

  • Who will pick up the tab when an employee swaps his business suit for a bathing suit?
  • Who is ultimately legally responsible for travel insurance and other costs when the staff member extends a business trip for leisure?

Flight Centre Business Travel has compiled a list of points to keep in mind when you structure and implement a travel policy that allows for leisure travel:

1. Communicate your decision

Announce to the entire company that you will be adding bleisure guidelines to the corporate travel policy. Explain the concept of bleisure travel in straightforward language so that the whole organisation understands. 

2. Establish clear guidelines 

Be clear about what’s considered leisure and what isn’t. These guidelines can be used as a basis for indicating who will pay for what. One of the most confusing areas will likely centre around when the business trip begins or ends, and when the leisure side of the travel arrangements kick in.  

3. Establish transparent expense processes

Put precise methods and tools in place to separate business from leisure expenses.  

In most circumstances, the employee is responsible for all costs incurred during the leisure days. These include the hotel, meals, sightseeing and ground travel arrangements. The company will cover all costs involved in the days where their employee is attending the destination for business, plus the round-trip flights. 

You must communicate how expenses will be paid for during both sections of the trip. There's no hard-and-fast rule about how your business establishes these parameters, but clear policies around expenses will make life easier for everyone. 

Your Flight Centre Business Travel Account Manager can discuss the available process and tool options.

4. Establish travel insurance responsibility

As a business, you’ll need to decide if, and to what extent, the company will provide travel insurance for leisure travel. 

If your company currently has a blanket travel insurance policy, you’ll have to decide and clarify whether the policy will cover leisure breakaways. You’ll also need to confirm whether the company or the employee will be responsible for the costs. 

If leisure travel will be covered under the company's travel insurance policy, you may specify that this travel shouldn't deviate significantly from the original travel itinerary. For example, high-risk destinations should be off-limits. You may also want to determine whether any specific high-risk activities are off-limits such as white-water rafting. 

5. Consider restricting leisure days

You may want to consider limiting the number of days an employee on a business trip can use for leisure purposes. This can be particularly important if they choose to visit high-risk areas as part of their leisure days as it can reduce the company’s risk. Some companies have restricted the leisure days to between one to three days. 

6. Consider leisure day booking guidelines

Having employees use the same travel-management company for both the business and leisure parts of their trip will not only be convenient but also ensure greater control and oversight on total leisure and business travel spend. 

7. Set clear partner or family guidelines

It’s is wise to communicate whether it’s acceptable for employees to invite family or partners onto a trip. If so, it’s vital that the company policy states who’s responsible for paying for the additional travellers' expenses, including their accommodation costs while the employee is there for business. It may be evident that the employee covers all expenses during the leisure days, but what happens during the business days?

8. Share exclusive deals

TMC’s offer deals and leisure add-on options. You can encourage employees to enjoy some relaxation time with a business trip by sharing exclusive holiday deals with them, helping them feel appreciated.

As a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, Flight Centre Business Travel has access to a wide range of holiday packages and special offers to destinations locally and abroad. With access to exclusive Flight Centre products that offer a host of discounts and resort credit, our travel experts can help your employees plan bleisure travel.  

Become a champion of bleisure travel and reward your employees with a world of adventure.