More and more business travelers extend their stay at their destination for leisure purposes. This new trend is Bleisure Travel. Bleisure Travel defines what is a growing trend in the travel industry, as the blurring of personal and professional lives of travelers increases on a global level. Others refer to this recent phenomenon where the business trip leads to a short vacation, with some rest and relaxation, also known as R&R.
Some facts from a case study:
- 43% of international travelers always take their mobile professional devices with them on holiday or on weekend trips;
- French and German travelers are the ones that blur their professional and private lives the least;
- The French have a very negative opinion of the use of mobile professional devices. Most notably, 59% of them believe it to be a source of stress;
While these statistics point towards a very real potential conflict between personal time and business time, it also underlies another phenomenon where business travelers are now more direct about going on some business trips with partner and sometimes also the children.
According to a US report published by Orbitz in 2012, polling 600 American business travelers, 72% said that they take extended executive trips that have a leisure component. 43% had a significant other accompany them on a business trip.
Knowing how much vacation time goes unused by most Americans, specially compared to Europeans, this can therefore represent a great opportunity for destinations catering to the American business traveler segments. Europeans cities and most big American cities can reap the rewards from this trend, where a business trip to Paris can be extended into a weekend in London, Belgium or South of France, or a trip to Philadelphia or New York be followed up on the seashore to Atlantic City, for example. Of course, many may decide to extend their stay in the city where the conference or meeting took place, to discover and make the most out of it.
Social Media changes the equation
The challenge that evolves out is due to mobile professional devices and the evolution of travel technologies. This is where understanding online marketers, mobile and social media practitioners can gain a competitive edge, as can be seen with many luxury hotel chains such as Hilton, Marriott, Four Seasons. Many of these luxury hotels mine social media to enhance the customer experience prior, during and after the stay in their establishment.
Younger business travelers are showing different behaviors than the other ones, according to a recent survey organized by Expedia with 8,500 travelers in 24 countries. Some highlights:
- 18-30 year olds take more leisure trips (4.2 mean) than those 31-45 (2.9 mean) and 46-65 (3.2 mean).
- In North America, 54% of 18-30 year olds bring a significant other on a business trip, versus 36% of 31-45 and 16% of 46-65.
- Globally, 42% of 18-30 year olds say they would spend more of the company’s money on high-end meals, compared to 26% of 31-45.
Not surprisingly, the study also found that younger business travelers are much more vocal on review sites such as TripAdvisor or Yelp, not necessarily because they are more outspoken but perhaps more simply because this generation was brought up with sharing platforms as part of their daily life.