Over the next three years, Millennials will come to represent half of the global workforce. They’re bringing their unique values, interests, and preferences to the office environment, and, by extension, to the business travel sector. According to the 2015 GBTA Business Traveler Sentiment Index, employees ages 18-35 were nearly twice as likely to want to travel more for business than Baby Boomers. Now, a recent survey shows that a combined trip of business and leisure, or bleisure, comprises 43% of US business travel.
The Expedia report, Profile of the American Bleisure Traveler, found that bleisure travellers tend to be frequent business travellers from a variety of occupations. When the business trip lasts more than three days, the business traveller is 30% more likely to extend their stay into a personal trip. These trips can be lucrative for the business travel destination. Expedia found that 84% of bleisure trips are spent in the same city or area as the business trip. The top reasons for deciding to stay for leisure were the attractiveness of the city, costs, and how close the trip is to the weekend. Most Americans travel domestically for business (87%). However, when travellers do go internationally for business, more than half of those trips are extended into leisure travel (52%).
The survey found that while booking their trip extension, bleisure travellers often first research the destination itself, then focus their attention to sightseeing, beaches, and dining. Sixty-six percent of survey respondents said they tend to spend more money on leisure activities because of the money saved travelling to the destination. A significant number of travellers (84%) stay in the same hotel as their business stay. However, 72% of respondents said they do not extend their stay in the hotel if the accommodation is too expensive. Expedia found that bleisure travellers conducting pre-travel research visit several websites, with their top searches being local events and multiple OTA sites.
While Millennials are driving growth in the Online Travel Market, research shows they value face-to-face meetings over technology to get business done. This generation accounts for more than $200 billion in annual global travel spend and that amount continues to increase. Clearly, their distinct habits and expectations will shape the travel industry, in both business and leisure, for many years to come.
WYSE Travel Confederation is currently conducting a comprehensive, global survey of the youth travel market. The New Horizons survey is the only recurring survey of travellers ages 18-35. The research offers insight into the travel motivations, activities, booking and spending habits of young travellers worldwide. To take part in the survey, or share it with consumers, click here. Respondents have a chance to win prizes, such as two tickets to anywhere from Emirates airlines.