6 Untapped New Lifestyle Benefits For Business Travelers

Forbes February 14, 2024

Lifestyle

6 Untapped New Lifestyle Benefits For Business Travelers

If you’re traveling for work, why not make the most of it?

That’s the sentiment among more than a third of Gen-Z and Millennial global business travelers who say they’re planning to add a leisure element to an upcoming work trip in 2024, according to recent research by Hilton. They’re extending their stay, adding fun activities or spending a little extra personal time or money to ensure a more pleasant journey.

“After the pandemic, people started approaching travel differently,” says Danielle Brown, chief marketing officer of Plusgrade, a leading global platform for ancillary travel services. Ancillary services refers to an array of supplementary offerings that can include upgrades, luxury amenities, ways to use or maximize points—and much more.

“With less business travel since the pandemic, travelers are seeking to make the most of every trip they take,” says Brown.

The popularity of ancillary services has grown dramatically in recent years, with more diverse and widely available opportunities now available. A recent global study by Plusgrade finds that 88% of travelers are likely to purchase an ancillary offering while traveling, not including food and beverages.

It’s now easier than ever to add some fun to business travel, thanks to a robust economy of travel-related bonuses and rewards and changing attitudes about work-life balance.

 
Here are a few of Brown’s favorite tips for a better business travel experience:
 
1. Trip Extensions

You got there on the company’s dime, so why not take advantage of your time away? Add a few days to the hotel stay, where you’re staying for business, to relax and explore once work is done. You might be able to use your points or miles (also known as loyalty currency) to reduce or eliminate any cash outlay.

After your meetings are over, use up a couple of vacation days—-or just keep working and blend in some fun.

“More companies are allowing work from anywhere, and some are even allowing unlimited time off,” notes Brown. “It’s easier than ever to get work done from wherever you are.”

 

2. Luxury Upgrades

It could cost less than you think to ensure you arrive at your destination wearing a smile, thanks to new services offered by some airlines, many of which are powered by the Plusgrade platform.

Hate having to make small talk on a flight? Reserve the seat next to you at a fraction of the cost of a full-fare ticket. Blocking a seat can cost as little as $10 depending on the airline and flight, Brown says.

Want to go in style? Some airlines allow you to bid for—or even instantly purchase—an upgraded seat, again often at a steep discount.

Get stressed out by airport lines? Buy a pass that allows you to skip the security line and head straight to the lounge, even without loyalty program status.

 
3. Fun Perks

A growing number of hotels are offering to bundle activities into your stay. Relax between meetings with a spa or fitness session. When you’re not working, take a tour, rent a bike or even enjoy a live performance.

Plusgrade’s platform allows hotels to offer these activities within a hotel’s app, often at a significant discount. You won’t waste time hunting around for a local activity provider.

Alternatively, you can book these activities using credit card points or miles by using the rewards portals of your credit card, airline or hotel loyalty program. Some hotels let you, for example, use points for seaplane rides in San Francisco, a Blue Man Group performance in New York and oyster shucking in South Carolina, among hundreds of other options.

 
4. Friends Or Family Benefits

Travel with your significant other, your spouse, even your kids to your business destination.

“Leave the kids back in Economy and put your spouse up in Business Class with you,” jests Brown.

While you attend meetings, your family can relax by the pool and meet you afterwards. Redeem points or miles to make the airfare, lodging and activities more affordable.

 
5. Loyalty Rewards

To encourage repeat business, many brands offer extra services, discounts or other special incentives to loyal customers. While these loyalty programs may offer different value to different people—Brown says the way to reap the most rewards is to focus on a select few.

In other words, which airline do you typically fly when traveling for business? Is there a particular hotel group you tend to use? What about a go-to car rental operator? Brown indicates that sticking with those providers, along with paying for as many everyday expenses as possible on a co-branded reward card linked to that airline or hotel group, maximizes loyalty rewards.

Following that approach also leads to benefits that can come in the form of emailed promotions offering great deals on travel, lodging, shopping and more—so Brown also recommends keeping an eye out for those.

 
6. More Miles

Many travelers haven’t caught onto the value of buying points or miles beyond what they earn via rewards cards or travel bookings. But as loyalty currency has become much more versatile, the reasons for buying it multiply.

Brown suggests first looking out for a good offer to buy your favorite loyalty currency at a great price.

“Loyalty program members often get heavily discounted offers to buy points or miles, such as buy 1,000 miles and get another thousand free,” she says. “You can ‘bank’ those points to take advantage of a seat or room sale anytime.”

Brown points out that you also don’t have to keep all those loyalty currency to yourself. Many rewards programs use Plusgrade’s products to make it possible to not only buy, but also transfer, gift and sometimes even donate miles with ease.

“We have heard from many travelers who like to keep points and miles in their account so if they have, say, a family emergency or they want to get their family together, they can just book it,” says Brown.

Brown explains that the so-called “bleisure” trend is already quite familiar to corporate travel managers, so you don’t need to feel guilty for finishing that project by the pool and then traipsing off to a surfing lesson.

“More employers today understand the value of employees’ mental health and job satisfaction,” she says. “Allowing bleisure time is a cheap and easy way to have a positive impact on both.”


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