Traveler Experience
What Is Bleisure Travel and How Popular Is It?

What Is Bleisure Travel and How Popular Is It?

Libby Zay

14 Jun 2022
5 minute read
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Working professionals are increasingly adding leisure days before or after business trips to explore new destinations, see friends and family, or take time to rest and recharge. This trend of combining business and leisure travel, known as bleisure travel, is expected to take off over the next few months as savvy travelers seize opportunities to save time and money on summer vacations.

How did bleisure rise in popularity, and what does this mean for employees and companies? Read on to find out.

What is bleisure travel?

Bleisure is a portmanteau of business and leisure. The term describes the combination of both types of travel, typically accomplished by tacking an extra day or more of leisure time onto a business trip.

Bleisure travel is also known as:

  • Blended travel
  • Bizcation
  • Hush trips
  • Playcation
  • Workcation

Why is bleisure travel gaining popularity now?

Bleisure travel has steadily become more common over recent years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the trend. According to Navan data, more than one-third of business travelers already combine personal and business travel. In 2019, 31% of business trips booked on Navan included a weekend, but now that share has grown to 38%—proof that the bleisure trend is quickly accelerating.

The widespread adoption of remote and hybrid working formats during the pandemic paved the way for employees to work from anywhere for extended periods of time. In a recent Deloitte survey, business travelers attributed the ability to work remotely as the reason they planned at least one trip this summer.

Read More: 5 Reasons to Combine Business and Personal Travel

Bleisure travel is becoming widely accepted. Sixty-six percent of companies openly allow or plan to allow leisure extensions to business trips. And, as companies aim to promote a people-friendly culture in which employees are encouraged to take personal time, bleisure travel is expected to grow. Many forward-thinking companies even promote bleisure travel as a work perk, which helps to attract and retain talent in this competitive job market.

Employees love bleisure travel, too: In a recent survey by the Global Business Travel Association, 82% of corporate travel managers said their workers were equally or more interested in bleisure travel than they used to be. Industry reports say millennials have led the way in normalizing the trend, which is expected to continue its upward trajectory as that generation climbs the corporate ladder.

Photograph of a Navan traveler carrying their luggage and enjoying the Navan app

What are the advantages of bleisure travel for employees?

The beauty of extending a business trip is a partially subsidized vacation, especially when it comes to employee-paid airfare. Imagine a company footing the bill to get an employee to a conference in San Diego, and then the employee stays for the weekend—or longer—to spend time at the beach. The employee pays their way during the leisure portion of the trip, and they may even bring friends or family along with them.

Another upside to a combined business-leisure trip is that traveling to a destination ahead of time gives business travelers the opportunity to adjust to new time zones ahead of the workweek. There’s a better chance that an employee will be on top of their game if they feel rested and recharged.

Read More: How to Plan a Combined Business and Leisure Trip

How does a travel management platform that supports both business and personal trips help?

Employees who work for companies that use Navan can easily and confidentially add leisure bookings to business trips. Corporate and personal payments are kept separate, and employers do not have visibility into leisure bookings. Best of all, employees have exclusive access to thousands of corporate negotiated hotel rates—specialized pricing typically only available to business travelers—that they can use for personal travel.

Travelers could also rack up points with their favorite loyalty programs. After adding loyalty information in the Navan app, users can browse search results that take these affiliations into account and serves up the best rates that help them earn—allowing them to make a decision based on both points and price. These savings can make it more affordable to book future travel.

How does bleisure travel benefit companies?

For companies, supporting combined business-leisure travel is a win-win. Encouraging the practice can help fix the disconnect between a company’s time-off policies and its culture around using PTO, ultimately leading to better recruitment and retention. Companies can leverage a travel management platform like Navan to promote bleisure travel, since employees can easily and confidentially add leisure days to business trips.

On the other hand, allowing employees to take advantage of leisure time has been shown to create healthier, happier, and more productive employees. Overworked employees are prey to fatigue, poor health, and stress—all of which can lead to an increase in workers' compensation and health care costs for companies.

Read More: Why Personal Travel Benefits Are the Perk Companies Should Offer Now

What challenges does bleisure travel pose for companies?

As more employees blend business and leisure trips, expense reports become harder to complete accurately. The numbers speak volumes: A full 19% of expense reports have errors, and it costs companies an additional $52 and 18 minutes to correct each report. Companies that do not establish clear boundaries risk allowing receipts for personal expenses to get caught up in the mix.

To reduce fraud, errors, and mistakes, an all-in-one corporate travel, cards, and expense management solution helps enforce travel policies at the point of purchase while eliminating the need to track expenses and submit them for approval.

A collage view of a Paris trip itinerary on the Navan mobile app and the Navan corporate card

How can smart cards help?

Using smart cards tied to expense management systems reduces rogue spending and eliminates expense reports altogether. For example, after an employee swipes their card for a coffee, the expense will automatically be approved if it falls within the built-in policy parameters. The employee has confidence that they are within policy, and the process of reviewing and approving spend is automated.

On the flipside, when an expense is not within policy—for example, if an employee attempts to charge a coffee on a non-business travel day—it will be automatically declined. With Navan, companies can establish clear boundaries for personal and business expenses, which brings the sometimes-blurry line between work and play into focus.

Read More: Why Companies Are Switching To Virtual Cards

Combine Business and Leisure Travel with Navan

Travelers around the world book business, personal, and bleisure travel with Navan for a trusted, quality experience. Schedule a demo or get up and running with Navan in just 5 minutes.

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