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How Bleisure is redefining Millennial and Gen Z Travel?

New-age employees aren’t averse to extending business trips and then painting the town red…

In the pre-liberalisation age, domestic and overseas companies both adhered to a rigid, process-centric corporate ethos. But the era of new-age start-ups, coupled with the ascent of colossal corporations and conglomerates in the Indian milieu, has led to an inevitable transformation in the country’s corporate culture.

As millennial employees now comprise a major proportion of the workforce, domestic firms have been pushed into displaying greater flexibility in the work culture while offering lucrative salaries in seeking to attract the best talent. Naturally, this has triggered many new trends, including some in business travel.

For instance, business travellers are no more solely intent on simply attending an overseas conference and then rushing home post-haste. Instead, they are extending foreign sojourns to let their hair down and enjoy a simultaneous holiday. The combination of official business and informal leisure days is now termed ‘bleisure’.

This is different from the early days when employees were travelling for business purposes only. Millennial employees are now lending new meaning to the concept of work-life balance by managing both personal and professional lives with élan. They understand our lives cannot be lived in black and white only but require a rainbow range of colours.

Today, these millennial and Gen Z bleisure travellers are triggering soaring growth in this segment. Besides being objective-oriented, they are keen on personal aspirations, are tech-savvy, prize the accessibility of assets more than ownership and always believe in maintaining a healthy work-life balance. What’s more, their rising disposable incomes and the increasingly-digitized world is stoking their wanderlust.

The tourism and hospitality industry realizing these changing trends has been designing customised offerings to match the needs of modern bleisure travellers. In turn, these travellers are grabbing the irresistible offers, especially from brands and companies that strike a chord with their ethos and ideologies. Unlike conventional business travellers of previous eras, these bleisure travellers seek more value for money. Some elements driving their decision-making include quality spaces backed by elegant designs and tremendous functionality, value-for-money deals, free Wi-Fi, privacy, proximity to hot destinations and central locations, convenience and unique experiences that hospitality brands offer. Research indicates that 75% of business travellers in the country consider a good digital experience essential when opting for any hotel or airline. What’s interesting is that almost one-third of travellers avoid hotels charging for Wi-Fi. Clearly, customer-centricity is important for the brand’s success. Moreover, for bleisure travellers, first impressions count. Therefore, structures with an eye-catching façade are what they prefer, rather than drab exteriors. Consequently, it is imperative that hospitality brands invest in attractive façades.

With these interesting trends in mind, OYO is offering innovative accommodation offerings. Through its Collection O, OYO is refining and redefining the experience of business travellers via the simple maxim, ‘quality is key’. Its customised, personalised offerings include more spacious rooms with premium linen and furnishings, on-request laundry, 24x7 in-room dining and unlimited breakfast, workstations in all rooms, high-speed Wi-Fi and last, but not the least, OYO-trained customer service personnel. No doubt, in the times of bleisure travellers, customer-centricity is paramount.

(The Author Ankit Tandon is Chief Operating Officer, Operated Business, OYO Hotels & Homes)

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