Work Hard, Play Harder:
Exploring the World of Bleisure
Travel in Asia

Discover the rising trend of ‘bleisure‘ travel, where business meets leisure seamlessly.

14 May 2024

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In a world where boundaries between work and play are increasingly blurred, a new travel trend has emerged that combines the rigours of business with the pleasures of leisure. Meet `bleisure’ travel, the delightful fusion of business and leisure, an emerging trend that both hospitality and travel brands should watch.

Photo Credit: Marriott International

Picture this: a manager crafting a marketing pitch on a sun-kissed beach in Bali, or a techie coding in a quaint café in Hanoi, or an e-commerce brand owner co-ordinating logistics from a co-working cafe in Bangkok. Professionals around the globe are embracing the flexibility of modern work-life balance. And where there’s work, there’s bound to be some play. It’s no longer about tagging along with a partner to a conference anymore, it’s about seizing the opportunity to explore new destinations, indulge in cultural delights and savour culinary adventures – all in a day’s ‘work’.

To woo this new customer base, hotels in Asia are reimagining the guest experience to cater to the culturally curious and experience-loving modern traveller. The popularity of bleisure travel is on the rise, especially among the younger demographic. Thirty-nine percent of such trips last 2 nights while 31% are 3 nights in length, according to a survey by Stratos.

The appeal is undeniable — who wouldn’t want to mix business with pleasure?

 Photo Credit:Conrad Hotel, Pune.

So, how are hotels in Asia embracing this trend?

By offering irresistible packages, amenities and experiences. From seamless check-ins with digital keys to tech-enabled spaces inspired by fashion houses, hotels in Asia such as Sofitel Bangkok and Conrad Pune by Hilton, popular conferencing and technology hubs, are leading the charge in creating experiential stays that cater to both work and play.

Photo Credit: Ora Hotel by Resorts World Singapore

But it’s not just about the flashy amenities; it’s also about the little touches that make a big difference. Hotels are enticing travellers with perks like discounted rates for extended stays – enticing business travellers to stay on and explore a city, free appetisers and even complimentary breakfasts for the entire bleisure travel group.

After all, who can resist the added allure of a free meal or a cosy breakfast spread?

From curated post-conference sightseeing programs to on-site coworking spaces and business centres, hotels are ensuring that guests can seamlessly transition from work mode to relaxation mode without missing a beat.

  Photo Credit: Sofitel, Bangkok.

Photo Credit: L’Effervescence

So Sofitel in Bangkok is one such hotel. Every room is equipped with a Mac Mini while a suite will get you an upgrade to an iPad to use during your stay. Post-work, guests can enjoy free use of bicycles to explore the neighbouring Lumpini Park, and a fitness kit is among the perks offered to help you switch into leisure mode in this tech-friendly and stylish hotel.

And let’s not forget the family-friendly appeal of bleisure travel. Studies show that nearly 3 out of 5 bleisure travellers globally are parents with young children at home, hotels are stepping up their game catering to the multitasker who is looking to combine their work trips and family getaways. Hotels in Sentosa, which is a popular convention and leisure location by the beach in Singapore, are pulling out all stops. From access to co-working spaces  to kid-friendly activities like s’mores roasting and free passes to the Sentosa Express hotels like Ora at Resorts World Sentosa are ensuring that everyone in the family has a memorable experience.

  Photo Credit: Capri by Fraser, Malaysia.

Capri by Fraser in Kuala Lumpur — which is Malaysia’s capital and business hub—-has a “Spin & Play” launderette on each floor that offers guests leisure options including gaming consoles, punching bags or a spell of yoga or kick-boxing. The high-tech apartments seek to satisfy millennials’ “always-on” lifestyle by pairing large work desks and ergonomically designed Herman Miller chairs while “Pow-Wow” a social club is designed with 360-degree views where you get to do all the important stuff – hang out with friends or co-workers, and unwind.

  Photo Credit: YuriArcursPeopleimages via Envato.

But perhaps the most enticing aspect of bleisure travel is the opportunity to immerse oneself in the local culture. Whether it’s exploring the vibrant streets of Tokyo with a local guide or indulging in a calligraphy session in Delhi, hotels like Andaz in both locations are offering curated experiences that allow guests to truly connect with their destination.

Engagement with bleisure travel varies depending on the demographics. Eighty one percent of business travellers are engaging in some form of leisure, according to a survey by National Car with millennial employees (86%) more likely to add on leisure time than Gen Xers (76%) or baby boomers (73%), according to the survey.

  Photo Credit: Capri by Fraser, Malaysia.

So, the next time you find yourself embarking on a business trip, why not extend your stay and indulge in a bit of bleisure? After all, as the saying goes, all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy – and who wants that?

Author: Pooja Thakur

Pooja Thakur is a senior journalist, writer, and editor with over 20 years of experience in print and digital media and in creating custom content for periodicals. She has been a long-serving senior reporter at Bloomberg News covering areas such as real estate, stocks and personal finance and inventing across markets with a focus on Southeast Asia and India. In her free time, she enjoys scuba diving, rucking and finding the newest watering hole in town.

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