Guest Commentary: Bleisure Travel Revisited

Guest Commentary: Bleisure Travel Revisited

The percentage of "bleisure," or business-leisure, trips jumped to 17 percent in 2016, up 3 percent from the previous year, according to Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends report.

Photo credit: iStock.com/LeoPatrizi

This is our second look at “bleisure,” the combination of leisure with business travel. Our late managing partner Roger Herman used to call it, taking a “working vacation,” but the idea was to spend part of the trip working and another part vacationing. According to Concur’s 2016 State of Business Travel Report, the average business trip is three nights including flights and at least some of the travel expenses are generally covered by the organization. The agency Travel Associates believes that 20 to 30 percent of their booked trips would be classified as bleisure travel.

Increasing market

The percentage of bleisure trips jumped to 17 percent in 2016, up 3 percent from the previous year, according to Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends report. Moreover, this combination of business and leisure travel has made continuous increases since the trend was named in 2012.

Considerations of the Bleisure Traveler

The three considerations that business travelers think about are:

  1. The location of the business travel: the farther away from home, the more likely travelers are to add vacation days to the trip – especially when the trip is far and the business will only require a few days.
  2. The second consideration, especially for travelers under age 35, is urban versus rural. There is appeal in the opportunity to spend extra time in urban centers where they have never been before.
  3. Finally, the day of the week greatly affects the tendency for bleisure –the closer the end date of the business travel is to a weekend.

Airlines may inadvertently encourage bleisure

Sometimes traveling on a less popular day (often a Tuesday or Wednesday) will be less expensive. These cheaper airfares may then offset the cost of extra hotel nights. And, if it’s a long-haul flight, that reduction could be more than $1,000.

Reduced costs to extend the trip versus paying for to/from travel

For younger travelers who enjoy fewer days off, bleisure allows them to take a trip without using precious vacation days to get there and get home.

The future of bleisure travel

Our expectation is that this trend of combining business and pleasure will only increase, as people look for ways to optimize their travel time and leisure. Bleisure is the ideal solution for busy business travelers, who want to make the most of the time off they have.

* Special thanks to Charlene Leiss, president, corporate brands, Flight Centre Travel Group USA.

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