Bleisure trips, combining business travel with leisure time, is a growing trend with mutual benefits for companies and their employees. Allowing people to add free time to the start or end of a work trip signals to employees and prospects that an organization is invested in their happiness and well-being–and also is a powerful recruitment and retention tool. Holger Schmeding, managing director of BCD Travel in Germany, offers guidance for companies looking to take advantage of the bleisure trend.
“Bleisure travel is handled differently in every company and requires individual solutions,” said Schmeding. “However, each company can start with the same information-gathering and assessment process.” Companies can start by organizing a cross-departmental team to develop and recommend bleisure travel guidelines for the corporate travel policy. Schmeding suggests that travel managers, HR, security and legal representatives participate in the task force, as well as frequent travelers.
6 questions to consider before embracing bleisure
How will employees advise supervisors about bleisure plans?
Create a formal process that will be detailed in your travel policy, but remember that transparency and simplicity are essential. To meet duty of care requirements, you need compliance. And to achieve compliance, you need a process that isn’t cumbersome for employees or their managers.
How will business and personal time be separated?
Create guidelines that define when business ends and vacation begins. Employees should be required to document and report that separation to their supervisors.
How will costs be divided?
Companies should clarify exactly what falls under business and leisure travel. Employees will understand what costs they can claim, and which ones their employers won’t cover. Specify in your travel policy who will pay for costs incurred during personal time, including accommodation and meals. Detail the process for documenting and reporting travel expenses to clearly separate business and personal costs.
Will the policy set limits on bleisure time?
Some companies limit the number of personal vacation days employees can add to business trips, especially if they’re traveling to high-risk places. Ask your travel management company for guidance on how to gauge and manage traveler risk.
Who will manage bleisure communications with employees?
Messages must be consistent, as well as clear and easy to understand. Ask your TMC for help creating effective traveler engagement strategies and campaigns for bleisure policies.
How will you educate managers and employees about the program?
Create a training and communication plan. Make sure managers and employees know whom to go to with questions. Proven traveler engagement strategies will help here, too.