To say the pandemic has changed the way people perceive travel is an understatement. As one of the industries that witnessed how an unprecedented health crisis could put the world at a standstill, the travel sector went through its toughest challenge in recent history. But the pandemic also saw the industry reinvent itself with the emergence of new travel styles and trends — blended travel, for example.
Trip Actions define blended travel as any type of travel that blends work and leisure time, including adding extra days to a business trip or working remotely from a different location. This type of travel has risen in popularity during the widespread adoption of remote and hybrid working formats during lockdowns.
With working not anymore limited to staying in the office from 8 am to 5 pm as companies now allow workers to have at least a day to work wherever they opt to, this novel development in lifestyle led to modifications in the way, we view leisure vacations.
A survey by Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, a British multinational hospitality chain, found that 65% of millennials and 59% of Gen Z consumers prefer to work for a company that allows employees to travel flexibly. More than a third of respondents also agreed it is beneficial to combine work with a leisure trip abroad, and they are willing to add a few days to their business trips to travel.
In a panel discussion hosted on November 17 at the newly opened Crowne Plaza Vinh Yen City Centre, artist Quang Vinh, travel influencer Le Ha Truc, and travel expert Linh Le sat with the general managers of Crowne Plaza Vinh Yen City Centre and Phu Quoc Starbay Benjamin Schwarz and Winston Gong to dive deep into the four emerging trends associated with the concept of blended travel.
Working from home affects how we travel
As a singer, Quang Vinh believes working from home has made his work more effective: "We can have online meetings to discuss and finalize lots of things together. So when I arrive at the studio, we can get down to work immediately."
While staycation or workcation became familiar concepts just two years ago, for Le Ha Truc, they have been a part of her life for a long time. She said that workcation is possible if you know how to manage your time and execute your tasks efficiently.
Traveling to a hotel or resort in a warm, exotic overseas location or an exciting city as a base for remote, flexible working has boomed over the past two years. Unlike previous generations who rather save up a large sum of money for a trip, younger people are now more flexible with their budgets. Some of them can choose to spend money for a day or two to stay at a hotel to work for a change of scenery.
Hybrid working, hybrid lives
An increasing number of business travelers are planning to extend their work travel with leisure days to get the most from their trips. Key to this is the flexibility and ability to work while traveling – whether it is a long-haul trip or a weekend visiting family – that’s enabled by new working practices.
Linh Le, a travel expert, admitted that he has been doing this for years. Whenever he travels for work, he always tries to arrive at the destination a day ahead to rest or avoid jetlags. Adding more days to their trips provide workers with more flexibility to enhance their productivity.
Inspiration through traveling
When the pandemic gave some employees the freedom to organize their primary employment hours in a way that suited best for them, millions of people began looking for extra hours to upskill, pursue new interests, or even transform hobbies into businesses to supplement their income.
Quang Vinh noticed that the current generation does not want to stick to one job all the time. Sometimes, they need to have getaway trips to refuel their power. “The more you go, the more knowledge you gain,” Vinh shared. He himself starts off as a singer, then thanks to traveling, he develops a new career as a travel vlogger on the side.
Nowadays, Truc sees many TikTokers rising as influencers in their field: “Being a person who influences the public is a good way to develop yourself and get extra income in addition to your 9-to-5 job.” Being a KOL has let her explore what she is suitable with, what she likes, and what she can learn.
In the post-pandemic period, people increasingly view travel as a tool for self-care as much as for discovering new places and experiences. According to Priceline, one of the drivers of this huge rise in enthusiasm for family travel is a sense of regret amongst parents that they didn’t use their vacation days in the past and a belief that their mental (78%) and physical health (73%) would have benefited from doing so.
As a hotelier, Benjamin Schwarz, GM of Crowne Plaza Vinh Yen City Centre, pointed out that hotels have to look at all traveler segments and understand the needs of all age groups as a result of this trend.
“It’s necessary to take this segment of travelers into consideration as the blended travel landscape grows. Crowne Plaza is a prime example of hotels and resorts that are designed with New Care Economy travelers in mind. It combines a calm pace to suit the silver generation, ample excitement for younger guests, and warm hospitality in a great variety of locations, including Vietnam’s Vinh Yen and Phu Quoc.”
Linh Le recommended some ways in which hotels and resorts can upgrade their service to catering everyone, such as placing older people near the elevator, building kids clubs for children, and even spaces for teens.
“If a hotel understands this trend, they can benefit a lot from it. When you can attend to the needs of a multi-generational group, you are generating revenue, not from one, but can be up to 4 persons or more at the same time,” Linh Le shared.