Women are out there getting business done in greater numbers than ever before, booking nearly half of all business travel. This trend is expected to grow and right along with it, women will be tacking leisure time onto their business trips—which is also a growing trend. Last year, a report1 released by the Global Business Travel Association Foundation and Hilton found that within the previous year, one-third (37%) of North American business travelers extended a work trip for leisure. Millennials (48%) added leisure at a higher rate than Gen-X travelers (33%) and Baby Boomers (23%). And on average, travelers added three additional days for leisure.
To me, it’s exciting that so many of us—across generations—are traveling domestically and internationally for business, with the ability to extend days to explore new locations and cultures. I’m also aware that as female business travelers, our unique travel safety needs are starting to receive the right level of industry and risk management attention.
Which begs the question, Do the travel safeguards that help protect us during the business segment of our trip extend to our leisure time? How do we know what’s covered? Are we covered? What’s our plan in case of an emergency or security incident? Our first step is to make sure we understand where business stops, and leisure starts—and what’s covered and not, so we can plan ahead and make sure our safety and wellbeing are protected across the length of our trip.
Taking the travelers initiative
Know your company’s bleisure travel policy. Some companies have bleisure policy coverage as part of their duty of care obligation, and some don’t. While companies routinely provide safety-related services such as travel insurance, risk intelligence, concierge services, and a 24/7 helpline—they may not automatically extend these to the leisure portion of your trip. Your company representative or travel manager should be able to clearly detail this coverage for you. If there are gaps, and especially if you are traveling to a foreign country, it’s a good idea to research your options for purchasing travel insurance. Sites with updated 2018 recommendations include Consumers Advocate or Travel Insurance Review. Coverage can include emergency evacuation, baggage loss or damage, medical and dental coverage, and emergency travel assistance services.
Make sure your bleisure travel companions are also protected. The GBTA/Hilton research reported that 44% of business travelers journeyed with someone else for their leisure portion. If you have companions joining you for your vacation time, or, if they are also with you for the business portion of your trip, you’ll want to ask if they are eligible for any of your company’s duty of care coverage. Typically, they will not be covered. If that’s the case, it’s recommended you look into purchasing extra insurance, especially for children traveling with you so they’re protected in case of a medical emergency or safety threat. Also, be sure to share your total trip itinerary (business + leisure) with your travel manager and company manager, so they can reach out and locate you in case of an emergency.
The case for bleisure duty of care policy
It’s possible that bleisure travel may increase the risk we’re exposed to and increase the duty of care companies need to provide, but it’s also becoming an increasingly valuable asset to leverage for organizations that want to attract top talent. In today’s competitive marketplace, having a defined bleisure policy that’s actively promoted and socialized throughout the company (and beyond) can be a great way to attract leading candidates. It’s also a perk for existing employees, who can benefit by arranging bleisure trips with corporate travel discounts.
As a fellow road warrior, I know that if we make sure we know the company duty of care policy and how to close any coverage gaps, and if we study up on female business traveler safety basics, we can experience results-producing business meetings and a great travel adventure in the same trip.
1.Extending Business Travel into Leisure Time – Bleisure Study; North America-Based Business Travelers, June 2017, Global Business Travel Association Foundation and Hilton.