Millennials or ‘bleisure’ guilt?

Bleisure. Combining business and leisure travel is becoming a basic trend and one which companies are being encouraged to integrate into travel policies. However, not everyone agrees and there is some opposition from those who question the value of this type of arrangement.

24% of French business travellers are regular supporters of the bleisure movement and seek to benefit from the growing trend, to extend their business trip with a leisure stay. These findings come from a study conducted by travel agency Egencia. The “French art of enriching business travel” was highlighted and it seems the French may value the benefits of bleisure more than their European counterparts. In Germany for example the figure drops to 20%, whilst in the UK, those in support of bleisure drop to less than 10%.

The study found that that the French associate business travel with motivation and pleasure, whilst the British predominantly view it as stressful and tiring.

But is this always the case?

Other surveys on the subject reveal a figure well below 24%, results published by FCM Travel Solutions put the regular bleisure travellers at just 8% and according to many industry experts, the figures can vary depending on the type of organisation, the profile of employees and importantly the organisational culture.

 In some cases, employees may choose to be discrete about the subject for fear off repercussions and the lack of management in this area reinforces this unease: only 13.7% of business travellers report that their company has adopted a specific policy on bleisure.

But mixing Business and Leisure is not always a success for a host of reasons. A survey conducted by service apartment company, Bridgestreet indicates that 48.8% of travellers of this type explain that they do not, in fact, have any free time during their stay and the younger generation of travellers reported it as a source of stress, fearing their employer will take a dim view of turning a business trip into leisure travel.

From a corporate perspective the boundaries can become blurred as to who is responsible for the traveller during bleisure trips. Experts in the sector emphasise the need for a clear definition of everyone’s responsibilities when embarking on these hybrid trips, with clear guidelines as to what is and isn’t covered.

This dispels any confusion in the case of an accident and illness, particularly since the court’s verdict is often unfavourable to the employee travelling under these hybrid circumstances. A decision by the Court of Appeal on 12 October 2017 set a precedent in this area. It concluded that the accountability for a work accident is overturned when it can be demonstrated that, at the time of the accident, the employee had interrupted his or her assignment for personal (bleisure) reasons. This climate of uncertainty and hesitation surrounding this new phenomenon undoubtedly explains the term “blurring”, another name for these trips with mixed objectives.

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