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Adrian Bewley's blog: Businesses need to plan ahead for 'bleisure' travel

Date: 07 July 2022

After years of being the next big thing that is still yet to happen, 2022 is the year when bleisure is finally expected to make a mark on business - and leisure - travel. A recent study suggests around two-thirds of business travellers are planning to combine leisure and work in what the BBC terms "workcations" in 2022.

This creates implications for businesses on two primary levels. 

First, how to tweak the travel policy to create clear guidelines so employees know where they stand. 

Second, how to ensure continuity of mobility for employees who may be working intermittently and only occasionally need a car for business use. Given current vehicle supply levels, is it best to keep a vehicle over a longer time frame or to book a car only as and when it's required? 

Many factors are prompting why employees want to combine business trips with holidays. We've learnt we can be highly effective when working from home - so why not while we're on holiday in Malaga or the Lake District?

Today's 'thoughtful' traveller also wants to be more economical and avoid unnecessary carbon emissions. 

I know from my personal experience. Bolting a family trip at either end of a business journey makes good sense, so I always ask if the family wants to join me.

This issue creates further displacement for the business in terms of corporate mobility. It needs to be carefully considered, so employers can establish clear rules over what costs can be claimed as business expenses and what will be considered personal.

There are benefit in kind implications from using a vehicle rented for a business trip for personal journeys, so businesses need to think about how best to handle this to reduce admin and to make employees aware of the tax implications.

Be clear about when the business trip starts and ends, where people will be accessing transport, what the company pays for and what it doesn't, and which parts will be taxable.

There is a different requirement around ground transportation compared to airport travel, as it may be hard to break down which part of a trip was personal and which part was business. 

Modernising the travel policy to this new world is paramount. HR, payroll and benefits and business travel teams need to work together to define the best options for employees.

Advisers at Enterprise can help companies analyse their data so they can align the policy to a hybrid working environment both nationally and internationally.

That same data can help them to design the provision of ground transportation against actual needs. They start thinking about how a mix of dedicated or on-street car club, daily rental and more long-term options can support individuals or clusters of employees who may all be combining a holiday with working at a branch office overseas. 

We are seeing a general trend towards businesses taking vehicles for longer as more employees rely on ground transportation, though there are also regional trends. 

In some countries a two-day lead time is standard. Others have a more instant culture and expect vehicles on demand. Both can be accommodated with advance planning and the use of booking platforms that geolocate vehicle availability in real time - and that means employees can get both the holidays they want and the transport they need.

Adrian Bewley is assistant vice president of business mobility for Europe at Enterprise Rent-A-Car