Connecting To Bleisure 2.0

March 29, 2024

Are you thinking about vacations yet? I bet your customers are — and they’re thinking about it differently than ever before.

The Bleisure trend is something that’s been on our radar for years, even before a global pandemic made working remotely part of our new normal. Now that the workplace has adapted to “work from anywhere” models, hotels and the tourism industry can reap big benefits from extended business trips that turn into working vacations.

There was a 72 percent year-over-year increase in blended travel bookings during the first 10 months of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022Among the many possibilities this new blend of business and leisure travel opens up, the rise in destination weddings and buddymoons — transforming the days after a wedding into a way to discover a destination with friends — allow guests to go to work by day and get into vacation mode when the work is done. “You see people at the pool with laptops, taking calls on the nature paths,” says Stephen Wendell, chief executive of Mountain Shore Properties near the Catskills.

All these new “fly less and stay longer” options can turn what used to be a standard business trip into a chance to immerse oneself in a different culture — to become a local for a little while. Hotels can book more rooms for longer periods of time, restaurants get more customers interested in trying the local cuisine, and everyone can sell more merch to tourists eager to have something to remember the trip by.

Flying less, or even choosing not to fly at all, can also be seen as beneficial to the environment. The carbon-conscious traveler can stay in one location and use local transportation, such as trains, to burn less carbon-emitting fuel while giving them a more memorable experience. “Slow travel is just plain wonderful,” says travel editor Helen Coffey. Every trip she’s taken after quitting airplane travel for good has brought with it “a real connection to place as I’ve passed through landscapes, not over them.”

Where those connections live is where the opportunity for promotional goods also lies. You can connect to your customers by making trips that blend business and leisure both more accessible and more enjoyable.

Adapt to the moment

Adapt To the Moment

Travelers mixing their personal time with their work time are going to be participating in a wide variety of activities — think about the guest described earlier, taking a call for work from a nature trail. They need both performance for being active outside and a professional appearance, so you should be thinking about pieces that look sharp while giving the wearer room to keep exploring after the call ends.

Polos, crew neck shirts and 1/4-zips from TravisMathew are a great fit for these customers, offering a polished appearance on a conference call while also providing plenty of performance during downtime. The Daybreak Shirt and Micro-Mesh Sleeveless Polo from Port Authority present different takes on this blended look while adding UV protection for time in the sun.

Keep it all together

Keep It All Together

When your customers are talking about travel, you should always be thinking about what the traveler needs to stay organized along the way. Different kinds of bags can give them the options they’ll want when they might be going from business to the beach in the space of a few minutes.

From the “go anywhere” styles of backpacks and duffels to larger carry-ons and spinner bags, there are plenty of ways to address the organizational needs of the Bleisure traveler. Compact organizers like TravisMathew’s Approach Case can be used as a Dopp kit or a technology keeper.

Add a finishing touch

Add a Finishing Touch

Some clothes just make you feel like you’re on vacation. For the traveler balancing their work and personal time while on a trip, it’s usually best if those pieces are either off-camera or easily removed.

The El Dorado Shorts from TravisMathew can be an excellent final touch for a full Bleisure offering — who doesn’t feel more relaxed when they’re wearing shorts? The FOMO Novelty Cap fits the bill too, adding a relaxed element to anyone’s vacay vibes.

Whether you’re supplying new gear to keep a remote team feeling like a team from wherever they may be, or coming up with some fresh ideas for a hospitality destination looking to capitalize on the ever-growing Bleisure trend, the opportunities for the blend of business and leisure travel are practically endless. Connecting to the priorities of this new breed of traveler can mean big business for you in the coming months.

Next month we’ll be coming back to a topic we introduced last year — hero styles — and seeing how this continuing trend is evolving in 2024. I hope you’ll join us!