CWT research: 20 per cent of business travellers take ‘bleisure’ trips every year

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Travel managers and suppliers need to cater for people extending business trips

Adding some leisure time to a business trip might seem like a new phenomenon. But Carlson Wagonlit Travel’s Solutions Group’s analysis of 29 million business trips shows the amount of ‘bleisure’ trips has remained the same for the past five years.

The quantitative results showed that one in five business travellers take bleisure trips each year, accounting for seven percent of all business trips.  In nearly half of bleisure trips, the personal days occur at the end of the trip, in 34 percent at the beginning, while for the remaining 20 percent leisure occurs at both ends of the trip.

Catalin Ciobanu of CWT Solutions Group said, “More and more people are talking about the concept of people adding leisure days to business trips – or bleisure – so it was surprising to see there has been no real increase in bleisure recently. What’s happening is that bleisure travellers tend to take one or two bleisure trips each year, regardless of demographic segment or travel frequency”.

Other key findings are that female business travellers are more likely to take bleisure trips than their male counterparts. Also, the youngest travellers are much more likely to add leisure time to their work travel. Both of these trends are explained by the lower total volume of business travel in the female and younger traveller segments.

Distance also has a major impact: the longer the flight, the higher the likelihood for bleisure. The attractiveness of a destination for bleisure travellers depends on the city of origin. For example, the San Francisco to London route has a bleisure rate of 23 percent, compared to Paris to London, with a rate of only two percent.

Ciobanu continued, “These results are interesting in themselves because they help us to understand the bleisure mechanism. More importantly, the travel industry needs to learn from them. For corporate travel managers, the key learning is the need to take bleisure options into account for their travel policy, especially for programs with a high volume of long-haul trips. There are also learnings for suppliers: knowing who is more likely to take bleisure trips will allow them to better anticipate and cater to the needs of business travellers.”

CWT Solutions Group analyzed a data set of business trips booked by CWT worldwide between 2011 and 2015. The definition of bleisure requires a Saturday night stay at the destination either at the beginning or at the end of a trip, or both.

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