The business travel industry is expected to rebound in 2023, inching closer to the once $1.4T industry size. There are a number of trends and insights that luxury hotels should be aware of when planning for the future of business travel. These include capitalizing on two intertwined and profit-enhancing opportunities: remote working and bleisure trips. Be ready for these new hybrid travelers, and you’ll enjoy increased bookings while ensuring your luxury property remains competitive in the post-pandemic world.
The pandemic caused a dramatic decrease in business travel volume, however, 72% of business leaders surveyed said that this would not change the number of business trips taken by employees. Many companies have already figured out how to accommodate a blend of remote and in-person work. Now, the workers are also figuring out how to get the most out of their new hybrid reality. The opportunity to work remotely coupled with a return to business travel has created a huge opportunity for bleisure bookings throughout 2023 and beyond.
Blended travel isn’t going anywhere. Many business travelers are determined to explore the city or region deeper before and/or after their business engagements. In fact, 38% of business trips contained a weekend in 2022. Another part of the trend involves families and couples, who represent the largest group of those extending their trips. Thanks to an increasingly remote world, many spouses or partners are working remotely. There are also ongoing remote schooling programs for children. When it is so easy for partners, families and couples to tag along with their significant other taking a bleisure trip makes sense. This often adds 3-6 travel days and multiple guests to what used to be an overnight.
Anticipate the needs of the non-business travelers by providing ideas, outings and programming specific to their situation. For example, create itineraries for tag-along passengers while employees are in business meetings. Include itineraries for all ages and relationships (family, spouse, friends), and don’t forget that some tag-along members will also be working – or schooling.
Be the local expert by creatively curating experiences. View local attractions, restaurants, and activities within your area that can be included in a business traveler’s itinerary. This shows the destination’s unique culture, scenery, and attractions and encourages the traveler to explore beyond the scope of their business trip. Definitely showcase local businesses such as restaurants.
Also remember to focus on convenience and proximity to the property to allow business travelers to make the most of their limited time in the city and make their experience stress-free. Promote the walkability of your location and offer guides to using subways, bike or car rentals if applicable.
By celebrating bleisure travelers in your ads and social, you’ll be putting good ideas in travelers’ heads. BCV saw increased engagement on boosted posts with copy reading “Work from [Property Name]” paired with imagery of amenities conducive to working remotely, efficiently, and without distraction while traveling. Help travelers separate work from play by outlining work/life balance opportunities on-site and showcasing imagery and video of a “day in the life” working from your property. It is also a good idea to enhance their stay and their total expenditure by providing guests with posts that highlight early morning and late night dining options to ensure your offerings align with their schedules.
More than a marketing trend, the extended travel movement is a positive outgrowth of a shifting workforce. After the hassle of the planes, trains and Ubers involved in getting to a location, it makes sense to get more out of each trip. When the destination is a luxury hotel, resort or spa, the question really becomes, ‘Why not tack on a few extra days’?
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