Facilitated by the development of remote working, “bleisure” is fast becoming the major travel trend of the future. Hotel groups, traditionally associated with business tourism, are now focusing on leisure and all-inclusive packages to meet the new expectations of travelers.
“Is your trip for business or pleasure?” This phrase, straight out of American movies from the 1980s and ’90s, is now a thing of the past. This new trend coming from the United States mixes “business” with “leisure.”
The concept in itself is not new, but the development of working from one’s home office combined with forced immobility for more than a year has transformed the notion of travel. Now we want to be able to take advantage of it, as well as be in good conditions for working.
Large groups are jumping into the breach
This trend has not gone unnoticed by major hotel groups traditionally associated with business travel. Some, such as the world’s number-one, Marriott, are making a shift to all-inclusive and boutique hotels. According to Alexandre de Juniac, director of the International Air Transport Association (IATA), who spoke with The Straits Times, leisure travel will recover faster than business travel. And some feel that it is likely that business tourism, transfigured by the pandemic, will never resume as before. An opinion shared by Glenn Fogel in French business publication Les Echos. The CEO of Booking fears a complicated recovery for the hotel industry.
Paradisiacal destinations and concept hotels
The Marriott group has bought 19 clubs in the Caribbean and Central America. Other American groups and France-based Accor have preferred to invest not in paradisiacal places, but in trendy hotels, decorated by top interior designers and/or with star chefs in the kitchen. A more lifestyle-oriented choice, adapted to a city clientele.
However, the recovery of tourism appears challenging. According to IATA (International Air Transport Association), there will be no return to normal before 2024.