Which bleisure persona are you this Easter?

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6 min read

JOHANNESBURG – With public holidays on the 21st and 29th of March, there’s a golden egg of an opportunity for business travellers hatching plans for a bleisure trip (business combined with leisure) – one that not only works for them but their company too.

There’s a reason making the most of the Easter break should be encouraged, says Bonnie Smith, GM of Corporate Traveller. “Employees return with improved morale and reduced burnout, and employers gain a valuable tool for attracting and retaining top talent,” she says.

How to sweeten the travel experience for your travellers? Being flexible with your travel policy and implementing measures accommodating this blended travel trend. “Travellers should be open with their travel managers about their personal needs and preferences when they travel. Travel policy should be a two-way conversation,” says Smith. 

But how do we bring bleisure needs out of the bunny hole and understand what kind of traveller you are? Well, it depends on what business bleisure ‘bunny’ you identify as. Here’s our trail of egg-citing tips to guide you:

The leave hoarder

Do you hoard leave days like candy Easter eggs? You’re the one who’s constantly saving up holiday days, eagerly awaiting the chance to extend any business trip into a mini break. You’re a slow traveller at heart and dream of living like a local, planning longer stays to submerge yourself in the local culture and experience everything the location offers. The destinations at the top of your list are those where you can maximise your stockpiled leave days, giving you ample time for exploration and relaxation.

To consider: If you’ve stashed your leave but don’t want to spend it all at once, combine the public holidays on 21, 29 March and 1 April into a 16-day bleisure break for bonus free days to spend how you like. “Don’t forget to have an open conversation and outline who pays for what with your company,” advises Smith. “Are you paying for food and accommodation on leisure days? Will they cover it? Sort it all out before you go so there are no nasty surprises.” 

Make these travel policy tweaks: “Allow employees to tack on some extra holiday time using their accrued leave, but set reasonable limits so you don’t end up short-staffed. Be clear on which expenses are covered for the leisure portion. An approval process for extended stays is a good idea to ensure proper coverage,” advises Smith.

The family traveller

You’re interested in bleisure trips that give you the freedom to bring your brood along, latching onto opportunities to extend work travel into family holidays. For you, travel plans centre around the chicks as much as the chief executives, so you love family-friendly destinations and accommodations that offer activities for all ages and interests. You prize travel policies that appreciate that you have a role at home, not just at work.

To consider: Think of ways to bring your family along without your company having to expand the budget, for instance, swapping your business class ticket for economy.

Make these travel policy tweaks: “Why not add the brood to the bleisure package? Offer discounted rates for those extra guests or a bigger room to fit the whole family. Also, see if you can negotiate family-friendly amenities like kids’ clubs or hotel dining packages,” says Smith. “Lastly, ensure insurance covers them in case a family medical emergency pops up.”

The routine lover

Nobody comes between you and your routine – even business travel. Your travel itineraries must include your daily rituals, whether a 30-minute morning workout or an afternoon matcha tea ceremony. You seek destinations that offer familiar comforts and amenities so you can maintain your lifestyle when away from home.

To consider: What amenities make you a happy bleisure bunny? Does your company know your preferences?

Make these travel policy tweaks: Flexibility is, ironically, the name of the routine-lover game. “Let your travellers customise their stays,” advises Smith. “Reimburse for workout classes, healthy meals – whatever floats their boat. Airport lounge access can also be a routine-saver (nothing throws you off more than trying to work or catch some shut-eye on a grey airport bench).”

The cultural connoisseur:

You have nightmares about going to a destination without experiencing its famed cultural offerings. No visit is complete without a visit to a museum, local eatery, or sightseeing tour.

You are drawn to destinations rich in history, art, and culture and actively seek opportunities to engage with local communities and traditions. A business trip that doesn’t allow you to at least stop by an art gallery? Not. Cool. 

To consider: The insights into global markets and cultural diversity you gain are a real value-add for the company – something worth pitching if you want to add ‘me’ days to your trip.

Make these travel policy tweaks: Allow more flexibility in daily work schedules during bleisure trips. This enables travellers to attend cultural events, tours, etc. in the mornings/evenings without impacting work commitments. “If you have local offices/staff, enable visiting employees to connect with them for insider tips and locally-guided cultural outings,” says Smith.

The adventure collector

On your airport transfer to your hotel, all you could think about was scaling the mountainside you could see from the passenger window or getting your surfboard ready on the beach you just passed. You’re always on the hunt for the next big thrill and feel at your best when travel itineraries include high-octane sports and outdoor activities.

Consider: Safety first.

Make these travel policy tweaks: “Implement a waiver process requiring adventure collectors to acknowledge they are participating in high-risk activities at their own risk and expense during any personal portion of the trip. You’ll also need clear safety requirements and guidelines they must follow, such as using certified outfitters, guides, proper gear etc. if conducting adventurous activities on personal time,” advises Smith.

Additionally, you can share resources on adventure travel best practices, local rules/regulations, and possibly negotiated corporate rates with trusted local outfitters if employees wish to book through approved vendors at their own cost. “The key is open communication, ensuring proper insurance coverage, and removing any liability from the company for personal adventure activities,” adds Smith.

The bottom line, according to Smith? Don’t put all your eggs in one basket – make sure your bleisure policy is flexible and considers all kinds of business travellers and their alter-leisure-egos. After all, you don’t want to be hunting for new talent when you already have a good egg on the team.

“The ultimate prize is a travel policy that bounces with your employees’ bleisure needs while keeping things like budgets and safety top of mind,” Smith sums up. “Get their feedback, make adjustments, and implement a tailored travel programme that supports bleisure.”