From business events and conferences to team and client meetings, business travel is beginning to rebound after well over a year spent behind screens. That said, employees are becoming increasingly selective when it comes to the trips that they choose to take. One way to encourage and motivate teams to get on the road or in the air is by tapping into rewards that can make the time and effort spent reaching a destination even more worth it.
Enter the rise of bleisure travel. Put simply, bleisure travel is the combination of business travel with leisure travel — in other words, tacking on a few days onto a business trip for leisure purposes.
A world of benefits
Business trips can be incredibly rewarding, but they can also be tiring — from long flights to time spent away from loved ones. By adding leisure into the mix, their appeal increases dramatically with employees. Bleisure travel gives employees the chance to enjoy a new destination, which can leave them feeling energized, motivated and inspired. It provides an opportunity to recharge after a busy few days. Many employees also bring their family or partners on these trips, helping strengthen relationships.
All of these perks translate into an array of benefits for companies, too. Bleisure travel has the power to boost morale, increase productivity, promote higher employee retention rates and more. So, it should come as little surprise that it’s becoming more popular than ever.
Trends shaping the future of bleisure travel
There are a number of trends shaping bleisure travel today. More than ever, employees are craving experiences that give them a chance to fully unwind and help improve their wellbeing. They are also looking for out-of-the-box culinary experiences. And they want to experience local culture and understand how residents live, work and more.
Some destinations are more suited than others to deliver on these trends. In addition, a variety of other factors come into play that can add to the strength of a bleisure destination: among them, transportation, ease of travel, safety, accommodation options and so on. Here, we’ve rounded up several transformative experiences that align with the trends in bleisure travel.
Prioritizing wellness like never before
Health has become top of mind for everyone over the past year and a half as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and employees are increasingly focused on their well-being — especially when they travel for business purposes.
Employees that meet or attend a conference in British Columbia can get the immersion in wellness they’re craving at the on a transformative forest bathing experience. The Japanese practice of shinrin-yoku, or walking mindfully in the woods using all five senses, is known to improve mental and physical health — a perfect way to relax after week of meetings. Through the experience, they can expect a very slow stroll through an ancient forest, where they will be invited to interact with natural surroundings using touch, sight and sound.
Exceptional dining experiences
Employees have had no shortage of meals from home throughout the pandemic, and not surprisingly, they’re jumping at the chance to enjoy memorable culinary experiences while traveling to new destinations.
For instance, a tour of the world-class wineries and restaurants in Prince Edward County and Niagara-on-the-Lake are sure to offer the perfect way to end a successful week. Amongst the vistas and vines, employees will be in for a real treat when they taste the best of Canada’s culinary landscape.
Authenticity takes centre stage
More than ever, employees are craving authentic experiences when they travel. A trip to charming Québec City, for example, offers many opportunities to explore the culture and history of Canada. One idea? If timing aligns, experience the Québec Winter Carnival: 17 days of non-stop festivities including ice canoe races, ice sculpture contests, night parades and more. Or, take part in traditional Québécois games, cuisine and maple syrup making at an authentic heritage sugar shack.
“With its natural beauty, world-class dining, historical sites and opportunities for authentic, cultural experiences, Canada makes for a perfect destination when it comes to meeting the needs of today’s bleisure travellers,” says Jennifer Attersall.
The Destination Canada Business Events team assists planners in bringing corporate, association and incentive events to Canada. Contact our team for inspiration, impartial advice, ideas to inspire and excite attendees, itinerary suggestions, or bid assistance with your next Canadian event.
Director, Incentive Travel