Along with the development of information technology, aviation and other modern means of transportation, mixing vacation — or leisure — with business has become a familiar activity, making bleisure travellers a significant revenue stream for the tourism domain.
More comfortable business trips
In 2014, I went to Myanmar for the first time to attend a one-day seminar. I proposed to the organiser to book my flight ticket for a broader period than the schedule for official business. On the first day, the plan was for the delegates to gather in Yangon, then spend the whole day at the seminar on the second day and return home the day after. I thought it best to book the tickets with the departure date one day earlier and return a day after the original pln. Of course, I would take care of the expense for food, accommodation and travel for those extra days. I could of course have returned immediately after the seminar, but I wanted to stay a few days in Myanmar to explore this fabulous country of tower pagodas and visit some of my friends and find material for some articles. My boss facilitated my plan, as he likes this kind of business trip.
When it comes to business trips, people often visit and leave a country before having learned about the culture and features of the place they have travelled to. With me, it is different. Not only did I accomplish my work, but I spent the rest of my time in Myanmar talking with my old friends to better understand where I was. I made new acquaintances with native speakers and they gave me a lot of interesting details about Myanmar. Other than the day of hard work, I was extremely relaxed and felt the work did no strain or stress me out.
Before I knew about bleisure, I flew from HCMC to Vientiane in August last year to attend a seminar. I arrived in Vientiane in the evening and only had little time to relax prior to attending the stressful meeting the next morning. On the last day, I hurried to the airport and was exhausted. It is challenging to travel and then attend meetings continuously. If you compare my two trips, of course, bleisure is the way to go. Mixing business travel with leisure is not new to the travel community, however recently it has become a popular trend known as “bleisure” – a combination of “business” and “leisure”.
Service industry grashs the trend
A few years ago, bleisure emerged as a travel trend, perhaps due to the need to balance work and leisure, or as a result of a lifestyle of people who like to take advantage of the small amount of time they have outside their busy schedule.
According to a report on the trend on a travel website called Skift published in 2015, mixing business trips with leisure emerged as a lifestyle rather than a neccesity for some people. Half of bleisure travellers said they usually brought family members or some important persons with them on their business trips.
FoundersCard, a membership-based program that offers perks like discounts on hotels, travel and shopping, conducted a survey of its members and provided interesting information. The FoundersCard survey in late 2016 found that 81% of respondents said they had combined business trips with leisure. An additional 51% said they were planning a bleisure trip at least once in 2017. Interestingly, 23% of respondents said they intended to travel to change the worksetting, which the FoundersCard calls “Workcation”, coming from “work” and “vacation”.
Trung Nguyen, manager of marketing and communications at a luxury resort in Phu Quoc, said he often combines leisure with a business trip. “The time for work can fall on weekends and I usually stay for one or two more days if the company does not have too much work at that time,” Trung said and he thinks it is a common trend, especially for young people. He thinks with the development of social networking, finding tourism information at the place you go for work is really easy.
Grasping this trend, many companies actively prepare tours for their visitors to visit the local region. Trung said when he had a business trip in Korea and Singapore, the partner company had sent e-mail in advance to inform him about a tour the day after work would be finished so that anyone who wanted to join could register. “This proves that the combination of business trip and leisure has become more and more popular,” he said.
Ms. Maria Du, a marketing director with plenty of experience in travelling and working with many domestic and foreign hotel partners, said that with high working pressure and busy work schedules, it is difficult to arrange time for a long vacation: “So, every time I go on a business trip, I always try my best to combine it with leisure to help balance work and life.” She said many hotels are now aware of this trend, so they design state-of-the-art facilities to serve the needs of work combined with leisure.
“The concept is getting more and more popular,” she said: “Every place I went to, I thoroughly investigated some particularly interesting things and destinations that I wanted to explore. Then I talked to the concierge department of the hotels where I stayed so they could help me arrange tours that would fit my schedule the best. “
As a busy woman with a busy schedule, she thinks work is always a top priority, but relaxation also helps her get plenty of energy to keep up with her work.
Tran Viet Phuong | Wanderlust Tips | Cinet