By Paul Cockeram
Billy Business Traveler used to groan about his annual trips to meet clients or attend conventions. And that was before the pandemic made air travel harder by adding mandatory masks to the hassle of hauling carry-on luggage down long airport hallways. If only the effort could be made more worthwhile, thought Billy. Then came the Las Vegas convention – and Billy’s first experience with bleisure, the trend that’s changing hospitality.
Billy and his wife had talked about taking a family vacation to Vegas. Could he combine them? Before the pandemic, Billy would have said no, imagining himself tied up in conference sessions while his family sat around the hotel. But something made Billy think twice. His conference sessions started on a Wednesday and ended with the keynote speech on Friday. What if he extended the trip through the weekend, or even into next week? The family could entertain themselves while he worked, and afterward they would have some quality time together for a show, maybe a hike at nearby Red Rocks Canyon park.
That was the moment Billy made up his mind to blend family and business travel, becoming part of the new bleisure trend. The word derives from a blend of “business” and “leisure,” and it has forecasters predicting that bleisure will become the new face of business travel. Some of the largest players in the hospitality industry are betting that bleisure will transform hospitality well into the 2030s. The largest impacts will be felt by hotels, resorts, and beds-and-breakfasts. But cafes, tourist destinations, coffee shops, and restaurants are also advised to tune in.
Some changes will disrupt old paradigms that have dominated the hospitality sector, while others promise to create new opportunities for businesses that adapt. ASUS has the tech you need to keep these new customers happy and your staff productive.
Bleisure travelers need new accommodations
The seeds of bleisure were planted during the pandemic lockdowns, when working from home became the new norm. Remote work blended employees’ personal and professional lives in ways that continue to remain popular, so Billy finds it completely natural to bring his family to a business conference that segues into a vacation. And he’ll be looking for hotels and restaurants that help him conduct business while keeping his family entertained.
By bringing this new blend of priorities, bleisure travelers threaten some old assumptions. First, when Billy extends his stay through the weekend and beyond, he disrupts a standard paradigm of the hotel industry that said summer was for tourism while the “off season” was for business. From that viewpoint, a series of business conventions made for busy weekdays and slow weekends. But bleisure travelers who lengthen their stays upend that pattern, even expanding the market for extended stay hotels.
Extended stay hotels are already a booming sector of hospitality and promise to grow more prominent. One of the largest hospitality companies in Europe plans to expand its extended-stay network threefold over the next three years. In this new environment, hotels and B&Bs can attract new customers by luring bleisure travelers who are looking to add days to their stays and smiles to the faces of their families.
But Billy Business Traveler only spends his money at companies that meet two very different sets of needs. First, Billy wants everything to go smoothly so he can focus on work, but he doesn’t have much time to research local sights or wait in long lines. Second, Billy’s family is looking for convenient restaurants and entertainment opportunities that help everyone stay in contact. Three sets of ASUS products can keep Billy’s trip on track.
ASUS Mini-PCs make self-service easy
Billy will look for kiosks that let him check into the hotel, make dinner reservations, and even plan an excursion for his family. If Billy can check in at the kiosk with his phone and go directly to his room, that’s good. If the hotel’s staff can track Billy’s check-in and reservations, then use that information to personalize his stay, that’s even better. An ASUS NUC is an ideal candidate to outfit that check-in kiosk, especially when paired with a ZenScreen Touch portable touchscreen display.
ASUS NUCs pack the power of latest-generation, full-size desktop PCs into ultra-small form factors that slip in anywhere from kiosks to check-in desks. These little boxes are highly configurable, so you can get exactly the performance and connectivity you need and nothing more – though easy maintenance and upgrade pathways ensure that you can scale up your hardware as your business applications become more complex.
Highly functional kiosks will grow increasingly important in the new landscape. Think of those self-service touchpoints in airports and grocery stores, then replicate that trend across the entire hospitality sector. At every step, ASUS NUCs will provide the power necessary to run these applications in a compact, customer-friendly package.
ASUS 2-in-1 computers keep staff connected
Billy is already comfortable with the technologies that make remote work feasible, so he will continue to embrace these technologies as they develop. His business and private lives will increasingly blend in all sorts of ways, like merging restaurant lunches with digital gaming. In this world, the most successful hospitality businesses will be the ones that quickly adapt to meet their customers’ needs as those needs change from moment to moment.
Businesses best positioned to make this transition are already offering multi-use spaces, including hotels and coffee shops. In fact, the chief marketing officer of Europe’s largest hospitality company predicts that hotels will transition from waystations for travelers to community centers and public meeting spaces. He foresees successful businesses that “provide multipurpose rooms and spaces where people can work, eat, and socially connect throughout the day. Now that many people can work from anywhere, hotel rooms need to be able to transform in a couple of minutes.”
Such quick transitions require constant, instantaneous communication between management, staff, and customer records — the kind of connectivity that results from outfitting everyone with an ASUS 2-in-1 computer. These powerful laptop PCs can double as tablets at a moment’s notice thanks to their detachable keyboards, making them the perfect communication tool for floor staff who are constantly on the move.
We offer ChromeOS and Windows options so that you can pick the OS and form factor that you’re most comfortable with. Many of our 2-in-1 laptops include a garaged stylus, so if you’re using one as a check-in device, customers can use the stylus to navigate with precision and sign digital documents quickly and naturally. Since multiple people will handle these devices throughout the day, we apply an antimicrobial treatment to their commonly touched surfaces to promote hygiene.
In situations where portability isn’t a factor, you might find one of our AIO systems to be the most convenient solution. The ExpertCenter E5 AiO 22, for example, includes a customer-facing screen that’s perfect for communicating vital information with customers during hotel check-in and check-out.
As hotels integrate generative AI more completely into freestanding kiosks outfitted with ASUS Mini-PCs, those kiosks will handle more of their customers’ check-ins and ordinary requests. Human staff will be freed up to provide a finely tuned level of service. Human staff whose 2-in-1 computers keep them tapped into the hotel’s network can message one another about customers’ needs and schedules through the company app. A new level of micropersonalization becomes possible.
If Billy’s family makes a reservation for a package tour tomorrow afternoon, while Billy is scheduled to attend the conference, then the desk staff can message the cleaners about the perfect window to clean Billy’s room. If the cleaning staff access Billy’s customer records to see that his wife and children love candy, they can leave treats in the room that are custom-tailored to the family’s tastes. And if Billy has a lunch date with his family followed by a sit-down meeting with a new client, the hotel staff can transform the dining space into a conference room in moments. The possibilities are endless when ASUS technology keeps customer data circulating among the staff.
Bleisure travelers reward flexibility with repeat business
Once micropersonalized customer service becomes the new standard, customers will forge the strongest bonds with businesses offering the greatest flexibility. Flexibility is the heart of bleisure travel because Billy and his family will be sharing the same spaces despite having different needs. At times, Billy’s room will serve as a professional meeting space, or at least a formal-looking background for a video call. But his room must also remain comfortable enough for his wife and children to put their feet up and enjoy a movie. Hotels offering multi-room suites have a definite advantage here.
For smaller businesses that lack the staff to provide micropersonalized service, a coworking space can allow Billy to separate business from pleasure. Imagine a small suite set off from the lobby area, or even a one-room office accessible from the B&B’s ground floor. Outfitting that workspace with an appropriate ASUS display and peripherals will send the message that workers can conduct business in style. The better equipped and convenient the workspace, the more memorable the hotel when Billy plans his next business trip. Any time Billy’s conference brings him back to Vegas, the firms that previously served him well will lure him back. The same goes if Billy decides to bring the family again.
ASUS ExpertWiFi meets the need
But when it comes to flexibility, nothing is more fundamental than powerful wireless networking with reliable connections. Providing that level of WiFi service can be a challenge for small to medium-sized businessowners. ASUS helps businesses answer this challenge with our ASUS ExpertWiFi. Endorsed by businessowners like the co-founder of Les Filles Kitchen, this system provides flexible, pain-free deployment of wireless networking throughout any facility.
Wireless networking is important not only for hotels and B&Bs but also the cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, and taverns that might attract the attention of Billy and his family. After all, bleisure is not just about meetings. Bleisure gives Billy an opportunity to experience destinations more deeply, and since he is saving money on airfare and accommodations, Billy may be willing to spend more for dining, entertainment, and tours of the local sights.
To attract bleisure travelers, cafes and coffee shops should provide a constant stream of Wi-Fi to keep them in touch with the office or help them communicate a sudden change of plans to their families. On the other hand, to help workers focus on their families for the evening, restaurants might advertise one dining room where the Wi-Fi signal is strong and another where customers can disconnect. In any case, for small to medium businesses looking to maximize their wireless networking, ASUS ExpertWiFi remains the ideal solution.
Looking ahead to the 2030s
All signs point to bleisure travel growing more widespread with potential to evolve. Travelers will continue to extend their trips while making the most of their destinations. An executive who discovers she must travel to Singapore for a week might seize the opportunity to explore the country by staying an entire month. She could spend part of that month working remotely, part of it touring the region, and part getting to know her new neighborhood.
That is good news for both workers and businesses. After all, in the year before the pandemic, Americans wasted a record number of vacation days by failing to use them — 768 million days total, up nearly 10% from 2017. Post-pandemic workers are reluctant to fall back on the old excuses for postponing vacations.
Business owners have also caught on to the benefits of bleisure. Small and large companies alike recognize how bleisure boosts morale and incentivizes employees to travel for work. As employees use more vacation time, companies will enjoy happier, more productive workers with lower risk of burnout. Meanwhile, more businesses might agree to pay the employee’s airplane ticket in full if the added days at the end of the trip don’t increase the ticket price, directing more money into the local hospitality trade.
All this is good news to an industry that suffered during pandemic lockdowns. In the darkest moments, as workers went remote and tourists canceled or postponed vacation plans, some commenters predicted the end of business travel and tourism forever. Fortunately, predictions of the death of business travel were greatly exaggerated. Business travel rebounded more quickly than was predicted in both 2022 and 2023, due largely to bleisure travelers.
Small and medium-sized businesses can compete for their dollars with ASUS products. Customers who are comfortable with technology will appreciate frictionless touchpoints via kiosks powered by micro-PCs. Mobile staff will serve these customers’ needs within the moment thanks to 2-in-1 computers that function as mobile tablets. And a steady stream of trouble-free wireless networking will keep everyone synchronized.