Workations and ‘bleisure’ travel: everything you need to know about 2022’s biggest trend

Friday, July 22, 2022

Everything you need to know about Workations and Bleisure travel

Picture this: you’re sitting at your laptop, sending important emails to prospective clients or about to sign onto a video call, and you’re suddenly interrupted by a gentle hand on your shoulder. It’s a bartender bringing your freshly squeezed juice. You take a sip, look out onto the horizon where the sun is making the ocean shimmer before you, and then get back to work.

This – or something very similar – is how much of the world’s workforce will enjoy a working day or two this year, for this is the year of the workation. ‘Bleisure’ travel has long been a buzzword applied to those who blend their business and leisure travel, perhaps jetting off to New York for meetings and extending by a day or two to explore the museums or enjoy a little live jazz. But ‘bleisure’ travel has taken on a whole new meaning  – and 2022 has witnessed the rise of the ‘workation’.

What does this mean for travel advisors? Read on to find out…

What is a workation or ‘bleisure’ travel in 2022?

Remote working had seen a huge rise in the decade prior to the pandemic, but now 31% of the world’s workforce is expected to be doing their jobs from home by the end of 2022. Remote work offers the flexibility to live and work anywhere in the world, and thousands of people will test these waters by taking a ‘workation’, where they set themselves up in a new city or country for a week or two, working by day and exploring by night and at weekends. They’ll continue with their normal 9–5s, but just do it in another location temporarily.

This is a more extreme version of what was traditionally known as ‘bleisure’, the concept of blending work and leisure trips into one for convenience and cost saving. 

What will this type of traveller want in their accommodation?

Every business traveller is different, but there are certain things that all remote workers will want – the most important being good internet connection. This means you’ll need to carefully consider what kind of accommodation to book. That shack on the beach in Thailand might look like a fun option, but if there’s no connectivity, your client won’t be convinced. Check the internet situation first and lay it out in your quote so your client has the full picture. You’ll want a minimum of 10mbps download speed and 1mbps upload speed for anyone doing remote video conferencing.

Unlike traditional business travellers, when it comes to accommodation, location is less important. Ordinarily you’d likely book the financial or business district in a city, for example, but remote workers might not have meetings to attend and are more likely to explore once working hours are over, so locations close to nightlife and leisure activities such as museums might be better. It could be that you’re booking hotels in rural or remote areas; by the beach or somewhere with mountain views.

Consider alternatives to the traditional accommodation you might book, too. While hotels offer maximum convenience, an aparthotel might be more affordable for longer stays, offering studio bedrooms with small kitchens so your clients can decide whether they cook for themselves or eat in the onsite restaurant. Self-catering could be a more popular option for those taking much longer breaks of three weeks or more, so look out for apartments in quiet areas that will have the right connectivity.

Which destinations suit remote workers and ‘bleisure’ travellers?

With travel restrictions lifted in most destinations,the world is your client's oyster - almost. Things like internet connectivity, safety and cybersecurity are likely to be important factors when your client is deciding where to go, as well as traditional vacation-booking factors, such as cost, climate and things to do. Nomadlist is a brilliant tool that allows you to see destinations popular with ‘digital nomads’ – people who live and work remotely abroad permanently – and you can sort the places by your client’s priority, from weather to cost of living to internet reliability.

Not sure where to begin? Here are a few suggestions for great remote working destinations.

Estonia

This northern European nation was one of the first to draft brand new legislation aimed at remote workers in 2020, offering visas for up to a year for anyone wishing to live and work for themselves or businesses abroad. The country has an attractively low cost of living, with a beer costing around $3.40 and a quality, two-course meal costing around $35 per person. Its capital, Tallinn, has ample co-working spaces your clients can utilise for desk and meeting room space, and internet speeds sit at around 80mbps throughout the country. But what is there to do beyond the working day? Tallinn is famous for its handsome Old Town, a handful of excellent museums, and a thriving nightlife scene with live music almost every night.

Barbados

The Caribbean island nation of Barbados has opened its doors to remote workers this year and with its palm-fringed beaches and balmy year-round climate, it’s bound to be a popular choice for workations. The island has the fastest networks in the Caribbean, with fibre-optic broadband and excellent public wi-fi, and workspaces like Regus and TEN Habitat for a more professional environment. It’s a relatively small island, meaning weekend tours and activities such as snorkelling and sailing provide a brilliant break from the working week, and an opportunity to upsell experiences to your clients.

Mexico

Travellers can stay in Mexico for up to six months without a visa, making this one of the most remote work-friendly places in the world. The capital, Mexico City, has become a hotspot for remote workers in the past few years, attracting people from all over the world with their laptops to enjoy the incredibly low cost of living and exciting nightlife. The city has a reasonable average download speed of 33mbps, but many of the major hotels enjoy much faster internet access, ideal for your remote working clients. The country has two coastlines with big-name resorts offering all the mod-cons remote workers could need, as well as access to some of the prettiest sandy beaches in the world. Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya is a popular coastal spot for remote workers looking to connect with fellow expats, while relaxed Puerto Escondido is the place to send clients with a penchant for surfing and sunsets.

Dubai, UAE

Dubai has been a big destination for business travellers for decades, and for remote workers it’s a bleisure haven. With superfast wi-fi, ample modern hotels and resorts, and a huge expat community, this Emirati city is a joy to work and play in. By day, your clients can set up in co-working spaces throughout the city, and by night they can sample the buzzing bars and clubs that throng after dark, or head out into the desert to watch the sunset over the sands. Weekends can be spent enjoying the beach, hot air ballooning over the desert, or exploring the other Emirates such as adventure hub Ras Al Khaimah.

Portugal

Billed as the fourth-safest country in the world according to Global Finance magazine and with a cost of living around 50% lower than in the USA, Portugal is becoming a hotspot for remote workers. Its dynamic cities like Porto and Lisbon offer co-working spaces and high speed internet connections, plus excellent nightlife and some of the best options for eating out in the country. Its coastline has beautiful sandy beaches lapped by the Atlantic Ocean with plenty of modern, well-connected resorts in which to hunker down during the week before spending weekends surfing, lazing on the sand or taking snorkelling and sailing trips. Portugal also produces some of the best wines in the world, so after-work drinks here are another level and vineyard and winery tours make a brilliant break from the screen. 

What kind of activities suit this type of traveller?

Many remote workers will be bound by the hours their business sets for working, so they might well spend much of the daytime at their laptop. This means evening activities are likely to be most popular. Things like nightlife or food tours will suit a bleisure traveller, as well as theatre events or even stargazing activities. If your client has a four or five-day working week, consider upselling some one- or two-night tours from their destination so they can explore beyond their base.

They might also be interested in museums and other cultural activities that can be enjoyed at weekends; many cities also have late openings for some venues which allow workers to visit galleries during the week, so look out for this and let your clients know.

Finding the right type of activity to suit your workation/'bleisure' clients can be simple: the Bedsonline Booking Engine allows advisors to seamlessly cross-sell ancillaries from an extensive portfolio of options, with relevant items being suggested to compliment the overall booking. Ancillaries include car hire and transfers in addition to an extensive range of activities - how will your clients spend their downtime?

Want to know more about the top travel trends of 2022? Download our eBook now!

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