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Last year we had 'revenge travel,' the catchphrase that described the pent-up demand to bust free from the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic and exercise a little wanderlust.
Now we have a new buzzword going - 'bleisure travel.'
And it could help the airlines and hotels, which have been waiting for two years now for business travel to return but might instead get a new hybrid category of business and leisure.
As Fortune Magazine and other media outlets reported, bleisure is what you think it is - a combination of business and leisure travel. In the face of the pandemic, business travel came to a virtual standstill. Companies stopped sending employees on the road; travel restrictions prohibited international travel - or at least made it difficult - and the emergence of Zoom meetings and other technology took the place of face-to-face meetings.
But then some lodging companies started to get creative, offering packages to entice businesspeople who were already working remotely to come and enjoy the beach or the mountains while they were at it.
Now, as the estimates for the return of business travel have extended all the way to 2024 - and with some companies prepared to continue to temper their business travel budget with more remote work - airlines and hotels are looking to bleisure to fill the void.
According to a report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, just 58 percent of business meetings and events are expected to return this year, and the Association estimates business travel will make up 43.6 percent of room revenue in 2002. It was 52.5 percent in 2019.
But many companies are beginning to attend business conferences and meetings on a limited basis, and many are allowing their workers to attend again - and to tack a few days on to the trip to spend a little personal time. In some cases, workers are even able to bring their families.
To be clear, workplaces aren't picking up the tab for employees to party on the company dime. The workers pay their own share. But businesses are sometimes able to cut deals with a hotel for the employee to receive discounts for the extended stay.
Rich Thomaselli has written for TravelPulse since 2014 and has been a professional journalist for nearly 40 years. His work has...
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