As COVID-19 vaccinations increase and government restrictions gradually decrease, more people are returning to business travel. In a recent survey from travel risk and crisis management specialist Global Rescue, nearly two-thirds of U.S. business travelers (61 percent) had already taken their first multi-day domestic business trip by August 2021. While global business travel is returning at a slower pace, with 27 percent of international business travelers either planning or have already completed a multi-day trip, it is clear that traveling for work is back on the agenda.
Interestingly, the return of business travel coincides with the rise of “bleisure” travel – the practice of adding leisure days to work-related trips. In fact, it is predicted that bleisure travel is likely to play an important role in the hospitality industry’s bounceback, as it rapidly becomes mainstream. This sentiment is backed up by a study of 3,850 business travelers in 25 global markets – commissioned by SAP Concur in 2021 – which showed that 89 percent of those who regularly travel for work would like to add a vacation to their business trips in the next twelve months.
Overall, this means a change in the profile of business travelers. For one, bleisure travelers will be looking for longer hotel stays and will increasingly choose their stays based on a hotel’s services and facilities rather than solely location.
To benefit from the “bleisure boom,” hotel operators will need to re-evaluate and adjust their offer accordingly if they want to cater to this new segment. Hotel operators can capture these guests by ensuring their wellness offer meets their needs and exceeds their expectations. Being able to cater to travelers who want to stay active while away from home will be crucial.
This means more than simply installing a few pieces of gym equipment, though. Instead, curating an entire ecosystem of health and wellness – which allows guests to choose when, where and how they exercise – will directly appeal to the new breed of bleisure travelers. While having a fitness center might have been enough for hotels in the past, guests are now, partly thanks to the pandemic and the digital at-home fitness revolution it created, accustomed to working out in their own space, when it suits them.
The good news is that these changes in exercise behaviors are a golden opportunity for hoteliers to create a USP amid a noisy marketplace.
While offering a well-equipped, dedicated gym space remains a fundamental expectation from guests, the new way people “consume fitness” and changes in habits must also be considered.
Adding an in-room wellness option is a great way to offer flexibility to guests who may feel more comfortable working out alone or have developed an at-home/digital fitness regimen. Crucially, it will also cater to those whose schedule doesn’t allow for a gym session or class.
But exercising in-room no longer means static, streaming videos. Investing in connected fitness technologies means guests can explore an interactive world of wellness, turning their stay into an immersive experience.
By partnering with Freemotion Fitness – a leading global brand in hospitality wellness – hotel operators can ensure their bleisure guests enjoy a holistic wellness experience. Best-in-class Freemotion cardio machines, powered by iFIT, offer an endless library of live and on-demand workouts filmed in breathtaking destinations across the globe, led by world-renowned coaches and trainers.
What’s more, working with Freemotion and iFIT means a hotel’s wellness offer goes beyond its fitness center and guest rooms. Guests can access iFIT content on their mobile devices and take their wellness with them – anytime, anywhere.
Wherever they are, iFIT empowers bleisure travelers to maintain their regimen during their stay with the perfect blend of physical fitness, mental health, nutrition and recovery in one seamless experience.
To learn how hospitality wellness solutions from Freemotion create transformative experiences for your guests – across your entire property – contact us today!
See how Freemotion and iFIT helped position The William Vale – a modern luxury hotel in New York City – as a premier destination for immersive and engaging wellness experiences.