How business travelers are extending their travel for leisure

Professionals today are using the same cloud-based technology that they used to work remotely during the pandemic to allow them to work while traveling. Combining business and leisure—or “pleasure,” as it has become known—is hardly a new travel trend, given its frequency and variability.

Leisure travel stems from changing attitudes towards work flexibility and pervasive technology that allows us to connect to the office remotely from anywhere. With the rise of hybrid and remote work options, workers today can more easily incorporate leisure time into their business trips. According to Morning Consult’s May survey from the American Hotel & Lodging Association, nearly 47% of business travelers extended a work trip for leisure in the past year. But more would like to try it: almost 82% are interested in going on a blended trip in the future.

To learn more about pleasure travel trends, TravelPerk compiled statistics from February and May 2022 Morning Consult Surveys (subsequently commissioned by AHLA) and the Greater Business Travel Association February 2022 Business Travel Recovery Poll. All data points are from surveys, which indicates some level of approximation.

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8 out of 10 business travelers include leisure activities during their trip

Once office workers learned to work from home during the pandemic, many realized they could work from anywhere.

As the digital nomad lifestyle has become more mainstream, workers have found ways to mix work and play. Of these workers, nearly 50% said they looked up things to do on their own for fun while in their business travel location — another 4 in 10 visited family or friends while on a business trip. And 1 in 5 have a family member accompanying them on their business trip.

A businessman uses his laptop while on a flight for a work trip

After the pandemic, some employees are inclined to extend work trips to retirement

Nearly 3 in 10 of the Global Business Travel Association’s member companies say employees are more interested in increasing work travel during the holidays than before the pandemic.

More than half said the pandemic hasn’t changed their employees’ willingness to increase travel for fun. Less than 20% said employees would be less inclined to pursue extended trips.

On paying for vacation components of a pleasure trip: 78% of polled companies said they paid workers for the transportation component of the trip, such as a flight to and from the destination. And 4% said they reimbursed employees for other expenses related to the vacation aspect of their trip, such as a hotel room, rental car, and meals.

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Most Blitzer trips last between two and six days

Technology has expanded how people combine business and leisure travel. Blended travel often involves adding a day or two of fun before or after a business event. Now workers can bring the technology they need to work on the road for long periods of time.

While most blended trips still last less than a week, Morning Consult found that workers today can be on the road for longer. That means workers can take time off for vacation and then stay at that destination to work for a few more days. People who have to travel to multiple cities prefer to stay longer in one place rather than returning home between trips—or travel to more conveniently located destinations for their work trips.

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‘Bleisure’ travelers list many reasons they like to mix business and leisure travel, including cost and people interaction.

In the Morning Consult survey, respondents said the top reason for adding personal activities to a work trip is because it makes a trip more fun. Additional motivating factors are that it can provide quality time to visit with family and friends—or bring them along—so travelers can connect with business colleagues as well as loved ones.

Saving money on costs was also seen as an advantage. If an employer covers the transportation portion of a trip, travelers can better control their personal expenses. Adding some personal days to the trip can increase the flexibility to travel during off-peak times or weekdays, saving employers money.

Morning Consult also notes that work travel can take people to places that weren’t previously on their radar, which is another incentive to add a vacation to a work trip.

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