Hopping on the “Bleisure” Train: Mixing Business with Leisure


By Glynn Burrows


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Glynn Burrows, owner of Norfolk Tours in England, discusses BLEISURE, the growing new tourism trend catering to travelers who mix business with leisure. This includes regular business travel and sales meetings along with conferences and retreats, industry expos, remote workers, and even digital nomads. As he shares on the podcast and in his article below, it’s a win-win-win situation for all involved. Watch here on YouTube or download the podcast on PodBean.


Don’t you just love all the new words which keep appearing? Over the last few years, we have come to accept terms like “zoom-bombing”, “lockdown”, “covidiot” and, for us in the UK, “brexit”, among many others, but now we have another one to add to our vocabulary: “Bleisure” travel. This relates to the blending of business and leisure concerning travel. In other words, instead of just going to do business and then coming home, the trip can be extended to include some sightseeing, or family members can go along too, to make full use of the visit.

Conferences can be exhausting, sales meetings can get tedious and trips that include multiple meetings and dinners can be overloading, so it is preferable to break up the tour by including other things. Why cram in three meetings in one day, when you can have them over three days and visit some amazing, inspirational places and take in the local atmosphere while you are there?

This type of travel is beneficial for all concerned: The company gains because the business traveller works better and is much more likely to create a good impression and get contracts or make sales if he or she is relaxed and happy. The worker will give that bit more if they are rested, relaxed, and tuned into their surroundings. The accommodation provider will get a few extra nights’ accommodations and possibly more customers, as tag-along guests could be staying too. The local economy will gain from the more involved people staying in the area, and visiting places other than hotels and airports.

A well-rested person is much more likely to form good relationships than someone who is visibly exhausted, and someone who knows a bit more about the area they are in will have distinct advantages over those who simply know they are in a hotel somewhere. The old adage that “people buy from people” is so true and, if the visitor learns about the area, as well as the company they are dealing with, they are more likely to connect as people.

If accommodation providers think a bit more about “bleisure” and start to offer packages to cater to this type of travel, they may just be in danger of increasing their income, not only for the trip at the time, but for future trips, either from the same company or from the families concerned.

Business customers are human beings too. They have families, they take vacations, they have brothers, sisters, parents, cousins, etc., and they could just be your best opportunity to attract more customers. Why do so many hotels package the business client as something different from the usual visitor? Business visitors could be your best advert if you thought of them as people, rather than business people.

I remember, in the late 1970’s I used to visit the central library in my local city as I was carrying out a lot of historical research in the records. Some weeks, I would go in on the bus and some weeks I would go in on my motorcycle, so, sometimes I was in a suit, and sometimes I was in motorcycle gear. I always went to the same place for lunch and, you guessed, when I was in a suit I was treated in one way and when I was in my motorcycle gear I was treated very differently. I was the same person, spending the same money, yet I was treated differently.

How could they have made my experience better? Simply by realising that the person in front of them wanted the same things, even though he was dressed differently.

A businessman wants a memorable experience and, if encouraged, he may come back with his family. Why not have a loyalty scheme? Why not discount extra nights and don’t forget to make businesses aware that you can provide for other members of their party while they are working? If you are having a large conference, with lots of singles, why not put on an outing for partners while the conference is going on? This could encourage partners to come along and enjoy a day out too.

Offering packages, either extending stays or providing information about possible ways to spend time in the area is an excellent way of letting people know what is available. Most business meetings are during the day, so, if you are near a theatre or if evening events are going on in the area, let visitors know.

Let business travellers know that you have people who can arrange other things for them while they are there. Ask what they would like to do, or learn about and provide the information for them. Going out of your way to give visitors what they are looking for is a sure way to get them coming back.

If you have a room which you can make available for business people to work in, that would be great too. Hotel rooms are usually very uncomfortable to work in and, on many of our trips, as a couple, I have been trying to work while my wife has been sitting watching tv. A quiet workspace would be a fantastic thing to have and it would only need to have a couple of desks and office chairs, or even easy chairs and laptop stands.

Bleisure is here and, if we all look to improve our offering, it could be a great way to increase our takings too.

Glynn provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history. Past guests have visited and experienced stately houses and gardens, castles and churches, ruins and villages, birding and wildlife, World War II airfields, and general area taster tours too. Accommodations can be in all types of establishment, from character buildings such as windmills, thatched cottages and castles, self-catering or five star luxury –  just say what you want and it can be arranged. Nothing is too much trouble for Glynn! Visit www.Norfolk-Tours.co.uk.

Norfolk Tours in England


About the Author:

Glynn provides customized, private tours and also helps his clients trace their English family history.

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