JOHANNESBURG – The Rugby World Cup is keeping all of Mzansi glued to their screens currently, and for professionals mixing business and leisure, it’s a prime opportunity to experience this spectacular event first-hand – with some help from the company.
“Globally, over two-thirds of business travellers take at least one bleisure trip per year. For professionals who have work commitments coinciding with the event, it’s a golden chance to experience world-class rugby and French culture amidst business engagements,” says Bonnie Smith, GM Corporate Traveller. “After all, you get the perks of experiencing a globally acclaimed sporting event, discovering a new destination, and building unforgettable memories – without compromising work responsibilities.”
Advance Planning Tips for a Smooth World Cup Bleisure Experience
The key to seamless bleisure travel is meticulous preparation. Smith shares some planning pointers to help you balance work and leisure with French finesse:
- Make Travel Arrangements ASAP
With thousands of passionate fans flocking to France, flights and hotels will be in high demand. Make all bookings as early as possible to lock in your preferred options.
- Schedule Work Commitments Strategically
Plan your business agenda wisely so you have sufficient time to enjoy the matches. If possible, schedule meetings on non-match days. On match days, keep your schedule light and evenings free for the games.
- Research Transportation Thoroughly
Carefully figure out how to get to and from stadiums smoothly. Also, check travel time to your business meetings as the country will be more congested than usual. If driving, book parking spots well in advance. If using public transport, research routes and real-time schedules to avoid missing kick-off!
- Learn Key French Phrases
Practice a few basic but helpful French phrases and etiquettes. Locals always appreciate visitors who try to speak their beautiful language, and it will be useful in the boardroom too.
- Tech Tips to Seamlessly Balance Work and Play
Leveraging technology intelligently can make blending business and leisure travel smooth sailing:
- Consolidated Calendar: Maintain one unified calendar with all your work appointments and match timings, ensuring everything is easily accessible in one place. Remember to include buffer time for transportation between meetings and stadiums.
- Streamlined Check-In: It goes without saying but always leverage airline and hotel apps to complete check-in formalities in advance. Skip the hotel lobby and head straight to your room or match venue upon arrival.
- Digital Itinerary Access: Always have e-copies of your booking confirmations, match tickets, and detailed travel plans handy online and on your phone for seamless access. TMC apps, like Corporate Traveller’s SAM, allow you to receive real-time trip updates including flight changes, boarding info, and destination weather. Instant travel alerts also notify travellers of any unexpected developments or incidents.
Keep it professional
While bleisure travel allows fun experiences, you must continue upholding workplace responsibilities and behave appropriately:
- Mind Your Manners: Don’t get carried away with World Cup fever and avoid excessive drinking, rowdiness, or any inappropriate conduct that could cross professional lines. Remember, even during off-hours you are representing your company and brand.
- Prioritize Work Commitments: Ensure leisure activities don’t eat into important work commitments. Be punctual for meetings and avoid distractions from the rugby euphoria.
As Smith advises, “While we want travellers to enjoy trips, professionalism must be maintained. Companies are responsible for duty of care, but travellers also have a duty of loyalty.”
Too good to be true?
Can you really enjoy the World Cup on the company dime? Not really, warns Smith. Your employer likely won’t be footing the bill for your bleisure trip. Generally, they’ll pay for anything related to the business portion of your travel, but as soon as you transition into leisure time, the bill’s on you.
“You can expect your employer to book flights for you to and from the destination where you will be working. However, any other travel (for example, to a different destination on the way home) will likely need to be paid for by you. You may also be asked to contribute towards the flight costs. Be sure to check the travel policy for exact details,” she warns.
Your employer won’t cover any of the costs of your trip that are for personal reasons. This includes things like meals, accommodation, and incidentals. You can only claim these expenses when you’re staying overnight for work purposes. So make sure you know what you can and can’t spend before shelling out on multiple World Cup tickets!
Although your company won’t foot the bill for everything, bleisure is a fantastic way to experience this amazing event. So, play your cards right and get ready to experience the best of French culture, cuisine, arts and world-class rugby!
For more information about Corporate Traveller, or to interview Corporate Traveller South Africa GM Bonnie Smith, call Dorine Reinstein on 083 278 8994 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.