Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A Business Trip....With the Family?

Ten years ago, bringing a child into a business-focused hotel was unheard of. But now, it's becoming the norm for many families. With parents traveling so much for business, they are forced to spend less time with their families. So they figure, why not bring them along? This new trend of mixing business with leisure is aptly named "blended travel."

According to travel industry experts, combining business travel with leisure travel by bringing along family or friends is growing in popularity. Research has shown that in the last ten years, more and more families have participated in blended travel, and it's mostly because of the amount of dual income families has increased. Since both parents are working, there is more money available for travel, but less time to actually take a vacation together, so blended travel has become a way for families to spend time together. Killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Which is definitely helpful nowadays. A quote from a recent MSNBC article states:

A new “Wellness in Travel” survey commissioned by Westin...found that more than half of the 1,500 respondents failed to take all their vacation days . “They worry about losing their jobs,” Nancy London, Global Brand Leader for Westin Hotels & Resorts, said. According to the survey, 64 percent canceled or postponed vacation this year due to work worries.

Blended travel will aid people who are concerned with missing too much work for vacation, because they can combine the two together. Many business travelers will book midweek flights and hotels, take care of their meetings and appointments while their spouse takes care of the kids, and then spend their evenings and weekends with their families. It's a win-win situation.

And now hotels are jumping on the bandwagon, offering incentives for business travelers who bring along their kids. Some are offering free meals for children, complimentary drinks and snacks in the room and even a kids' concierge who will arrange a variety of activities to make the vacation even better for the little ones. Other hotels have put together special events, particularly around the holidays, to spark more interest in booking their rooms. Resorts and hotels are hoping these kind of unique ideas will help boost the hotel occupancy rate, which significantly dropped last year due to the recession. But with blended travel's potential--and there seems to be a lot of it--things in the travel industry may start turning around. Not to mention families will get to spend more quality time together, even if it has to be combined with some business here and there.

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