In today’s fast-paced, remote, and hybrid-working world, the boundaries between work and leisure are becoming increasingly fluid. Following a sharp decline in 2020, business travel is expected to recover close to pre-pandemic levels this fall, according to Reuters.*1 An opportunity to explore new places, work trips have given rise to the fast-growing “bleisure” travel trend, which stands for combining business with leisure. The global bleisure market is now valued at $315.3 billion and is growing at a CAGR of nearly 9%.*2
Sonesta International Hotels’ upscale brand, Sonesta Select, offers guests a lighthearted, playful, and personal experience that supports the business and leisure trend. Sonesta Select’s offerings provide guests with the radiant energy of well-crafted spaces and locally rooted team members to fit their lifestyles even while on the road.
Popular Bleisure Travel Destinations
According to Sonesta Select’s 2023 booking data, some of the most popular hotels among bleisure travelers are Sonesta Select Miami Lakes, Sonesta Select Boston Milford, and Sonesta Select Atlanta Midtown Georgia Tech.
Sonesta Select offers guests a memorable stay no matter what their visit entails, as the staff is friendly, and amenities are curated for their comfort.
How to Mix Business and Leisure Travel
Whether planning a short visit or a multi-week stay, business travelers who prioritize the convenience of strategic locations, comfort of thoughtfully designed in-room amenities, and smart loyalty programs tend to derive more value out of their work trips.
Choosing the right accommodation can make all the difference in how energized and successful guests feel on their work trip as well as how easily they can kick back and relax during a few personal days.
According to Sonesta Select’s research, savvy business travelers focus on three key criteria to maximize value:
- In-Room Amenities
- Property Amenities
- Loyalty Program
Beyond these primary factors, respondents highlighted additional considerations such as wellness amenities, meeting spaces, business services, and laundry facilities.
Location consistently emerged as a top priority for savvy business travelers.
Proximity to their point of interest, such as corporate offices or event venues, was paramount in minimizing commute times. Editorial Manager at Expo Travel Group, Diana Vicheva said: “A conveniently located base saves so much time that could be better spent on things like getting over jet lag, keeping up with emails, dealing with ongoing tasks, or preparing for meetings.”
Business travelers spend an average of 3 days in a domestic location, so to make the most of their trip and experience their host environment, they have to be incredibly efficient. For bleisure travelers, proximity to local attractions has also become essential. Heather Smith, Cofounder at Journey Here Travel, explained: “If I am not meeting clients, I am going to stay close to things to do, such as museums or other attractions in the area.” Proximity to highways and transportation options was highlighted as crucial for increased mobility and flexibility in itineraries to explore new destinations and day trips during personal time.
Savvy business travelers prioritize in-room amenities that help them stay productive and relaxed. Among the most sought-after amenities are:
- Ample Workspaces: Business travelers value comfortable and well-equipped workspaces. Ergonomic chairs and spacious desks contribute to a productive environment.
- Comfortable Beds: A good night’s sleep is essential to staying energized and productive on a work trip, especially when traveling through time zones or combining work with leisure.
- Coffee Machines and Mini Bars: Jeremy Scott Foster at TravelFreak explained: “Having a good coffee station in the room helps with productivity because you don’t have to leave your desk, go all the way to the lobby, and grab a cup of lukewarm coffee and a packet of sugar.”
Savvy business travelers also emphasized other amenities that help them maximize efficiency and free up time for leisure, including:
- Fitness Facilities and Pool: Wellness amenities like fitness facilities and pools help travelers strike a work-life balance while on the move.
- Meeting Spaces: Meeting spaces are essential for business travelers who need to host meetings or conferences during their stay.
- Business Services: Access to essential business services like printing and photocopying is appreciated by business travelers who may need to handle work-related tasks on the road.
- Laundry Services: Irons, on-site laundry facilities, and dry-cleaning services are a welcome convenience for business travelers.
Loyalty programs hold significant sway over hotel selection for frequent business travelers. Nearly 65% of respondents Sonesta Select interviewed cited loyalty programs as a key consideration. These programs offer cost-saving opportunities and enhanced hotel experiences, including:
- Room Upgrades: Savvy business travelers value the prospect of room upgrades, which can significantly enhance comfort during their stays.
- Early Check-Ins and Late Checkouts: Flexibility in check-in and checkout times allows travelers to maximize their trips and carve out moments of rest amid busy schedules.
- Complimentary Services: Many loyalty programs offer complimentary services that make the overall experience more enjoyable and efficient.
Loyalty programs help business travelers turn business into bleisure at little to no additional cost. Sonesta Select’s guests can earn or redeem points in the award-winning Sonesta Travel Pass loyalty program. Starting on September 27, Sonesta Select will triple their guests’ Sonesta Travel Pass points for stays, allowing them to experience feature generous, modern rooms, abundant amenities, and spaces that encourage them to come together and connect.
1 Lampert, A., & Oladipo, D. (2023, June 7). Fall business travel international flight bookings near 2019 levels, ForwardKeys says. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/business/aerospace-defense/fall-business-travel-international-flight-bookings-near-2019-levels-forwardkeys-2023-06-07/
2 Bleisure Travel Market Size, Share, Growth | Forecast 2032. (n.d.-b). Allied Market Research. https://www.alliedmarketresearch.com/bleisure-travel-market-A06357