Bleisure backpacker

Are you making the most of bleisure travelers?

Have you heard of bleisure? Even though it sounds kind of “bleh,” it’s actually one of the most important trends in travel right now. Bleisure (noun) is the practice of tacking on a couple days of vacation before or after a business trip. This practice has grown 40% in only the last two years. Here in the United States, we’re up to 60% of business trips turning into bleisure and who knows how much more room there is to grow? Based on the characteristics of bleisure, it’s clear that hostels stand to gain the most from capitalizing on this travel trend. Let’s dive into some bleisure insights provided by our friends at Expedia and see what we can learn.


Who are the bleisure travelers?

So, who are these business travelers turning a work trip into an excuse for a vacation? The majority of bleisure travelers are hostel’s core demographic, you guessed it, the millennials. If you’re a business traveller ages 22 to 35 you’re 50% more likely to make it a vacation than the middle-aged business travelers,  and four times more likely than older business travelers. Plenty of millennials prefer an Airbnb over a hostel, but here’s why when it comes to bleisure, a hostel might be their best bet: 65% of bleisure travelers are going solo. During bleisure there’s no renting a house with all your friends, not even sharing a room at the Marriott with Ted from accounting. It’s easy to see why a millennial business traveler might prefer to spend their two extra leisure days in a hostel with their new best friends than at the Ramada all alone. 

Why bleisure can be big bucks

Although it is affected by weather, bleisure is not affected by seasonality. Business travelers want some bleisure time during the offseason just as much as during the high season. Bringing in bleisure could mean filling some unsold rooms.

Another point related to occupancy: Bleisure travelers are likely to add an extra 1 or 2 nights before or after to a 2 or 3-night business trip. Because they’re here for work, they’ll keep your rooms occupied midweek when they’re there to work, before or after the weekend. For hostels that struggle with weekday occupancy, this could help.

Who can welcome the bleisure backpackers?

It’s no surprise that to benefit from bleisure, your hostel needs to be of high quality. The average bleisure traveler makes $79K, meaning if they choose a hostel, it’ll be for the experience, not the price. If your hostel is cheap and cheerful, this might not be the travel trend for you.

It definitely helps if your hostel is already receiving business travelers. 82% of bleisure travelers stay in one place for the whole trip, to avoid the hassle of switching accommodation. Before you close this tab, assuming that you’ll never lure any bleisure backpackers away from the corporate hotel down the street, know that just this month, BridgeStreet, a business travel company with more than 5 thousand corporate clients, started adding hostels to its inventory. You know that when a 20-year-old corporate travel firm is getting on the hostel bandwagon that this movement is going mainstream.

The Bleisure trend will help city hostels more than the country ones because 79% of bleisure takes place in the same destination as the business trip. If your city is already a well-known business center, pay extra attention to bleisure. 

About the Author Byron Bunda

Byron has worked with hostels big and small, city and rural. His first job was as a receptionist in San Francisco and his favorite was leading the events for a 500-bed hostel in Sydney. Today he's a Market Manager at Cloudbeds. Besides all things hostel related, he enjoys motorcycle riding, especially because it's the perfect way to get from hostel to hostel!