Hotels might have hunkered down economically during the pandemic, but there’s financial hope on the horizon in the form of the awakening bleisure travel (or “business leisure”) industry. In this type of travel, people take trips for work and turn a portion of that time into leisurely vacations.
Once a relatively modest subset of the travel market, bleisure continues to grow stronger. Today, it’s showing a high degree of promise thanks to remote workers eager to move past lockdowns and home offices. White-collar Millennials are especially fond of this work-meets-tourism trend, with 49% acknowledging they’ve gone the bleisure route. And they’re hardly the only generation ready to mix the professional with the personal.
This is exciting news, but it comes with a caveat: Hotels interested in wooing business and leisure travelers can’t bank on bleisure without making changes that go beyond attractive rates or incentivized extended stays. So, what siren song seems to appeal most to the bleisure-minded? Their wellness.
Bringing Self-Care to Business-Leisure Travel
The average bleisure customer is focused on self-improvement both physically and mentally. This shouldn’t come as a surprise, particularly for wellness-focused hotels that have kept up with health-related trends in the hospitality industry. Statistics indicate that around half of the people who routinely travel exercise while away from home. In other words, staying on top of their overall health is critical for bleisure hotel guests.
This presents a golden ticket for hotels ready to put the pandemic to bed. Nevertheless, too few hotels in the industry concentrate their guest wellness upgrades on one of the most overlooked elements of self-care: Offering bleisure travelers a supremely good night’s sleep. How important is getting good zzz’s while on the road? One J.D. Power study noted that 78% of consumers who experience exceptional sleep at a hotel would return to the same property. Prioritizing guests’ sleep seems to be a winning bet to engage bleisure travelers.
Hotel Sleep: So Much More Than the Mattresses
Some of the best-designed wellness hotels have already taken the first steps toward encouraging deep slumber. For instance, certain brands have partnered with bedding companies to help showcase (and sell) mattresses. Other hotels offer rooms with hypoallergenic bedding and pillows. But no hotel has disrupted the travel and wellness market completely.
Again, this presents a huge opportunity for hotels willing to take bleisure guests’ self-care to new levels. Consider the scenario of a traveler introduced to a combination of sleep-promoting amenities. Upon check-in, she’s ushered to a room featuring noise-reducing windows and, just for good measure, a white noise machine. She’s presented with a “pillow menu” that allows her to choose from a range of luxury pillows that best suit her needs. She’s given sheets and a robe made of infrared smart textiles that convert her body heat into energy to increase circulation and keep her comfortable all night.
As an add-on, she’s provided with free premium access to a sleeping app such as Relax Melodies during her stay. With the addition of aromatherapy, access to the facility’s state-of-the-art fitness center, and a room service menu designed for the health-conscious business traveler, she’s set.
As a growing travel industry trend, bleisure has taken on an important role in traveling at large; wellness and travel are becoming more linked than ever, and bleisure is not just a subcategory anymore. Hotels willing to lean into the bleisure market through comprehensive wellness offerings - right down to innovative sleep amenities - might wake up to find themselves ahead of the pack.