How to manage bleisure travel requests
Here’s a short guide to help you manage requests for personal travel extensions during business trips.
A traveler heading to Barcelona on business hopes to add on a three-day beach vacation with a partner. A foreign traveler in San Francisco wants to catch a professional American football game before returning home. Call it bleisure or workcation, the option to add play time to a work trip is a good way to boost traveler satisfaction and wellbeing. Business travelers who choose to add personal days to business or incentive travel may need guidance and assistance. Here’s what travel managers and arrangers should consider.
Write a clear policy.
Rules for bleisure should be clearly outlined in the travel policy to limit liability and risk for the organization and the traveler. Items to cover may include but are not limited to:
- Requirements and process for manager approvals
- How far in advance and through what channels travelers may request personal travel extensions
- How to meet duty of care
- Parameters for non-employee companions
- Implications for time-off policies
- Whether rules for spending on meals, entertainment, alcohol, tips and room service (including the mini bar) apply to the bleisure segment of the trip
- How expense reports should be handled
- Should travelers be prohibited from activities that may put them at risk, e.g., white water rafting or driving ATVs
Do the math.
Travel arrangers who support the requests should first determine the cost of flight and hotel accommodations for the business travel portion of the trip, in line with the travel policy. Then, calculate what, if any, additional costs would apply for earlier arrivals or later departures. The traveler will be personally responsible for the cost difference. Allowing business travelers to take advantage of negotiated rates can help ease the switch from work to play.
Explain the expenses.
Invoicing or itemization should clearly delineate the expenses the organization and traveler each must cover. If costs are lower when additional stops or nights are included, will the policy and company allow savings to be applied to certain costs associated with the extended travel, e.g., hotel; rental car; individual meals; and parking? Expenses incurred by persons accompanying the traveler may not be covered for the bleisure portion of the trip, even if the company is covering companion expenses as part of an incentive.
Research Snapshot: Wellbeing and bleisure
Interest in bleisure is rising. In a recent BCD Travel, WTS’ global parent company, survey this spring, half of surveyed travelers said they were likely to combine business travel with leisure in 2022. This indicator was 17 points lower last year.
Survey respondents were asked about the work-life balance support they could benefit from as business travelers and found out that many of the selected options are related to possibility of adding leisure elements to business trips.
Half of surveyed travelers said they:
- Wanted to be able to add a few extra days to business trips
- Were interested in having a companion join them