It’s the age of the bleisure traveler: professionals looking to extend their business trips for leisure. Satellite offices, remote working, and the rise of mobile have all led to an increasingly global workforce, and in turn, an increased propensity for travelers to take quick, frequent trips that consolidate business and leisure.
In our most recent bleisure-themed post, we discussed how marketers can take advantage of the bleisure boom. To expand upon our custom research into bleisure traveler trends around the world, we wanted to hear from our own travel marketing experts who often travel for business and are frequent bleisurers. Below, avid travelers from Expedia Group Media Solutions offices around the globe – from Singapore to London to Miami – share their thoughts on why, how, and with whom they bleisure.
Location + people are key
While there are numerous variables that affect a traveler’s decision to combine business and leisure, our employees expressed that above all, location was the pivotal factor in their decision to extend a business trip. Having friends and family in the area came in at a close second. “I bleisure both with coworkers and/or meet up with friends and family. Anyone who is willing to bleisure is invited,” says Jennifer Andre, Senior Director, Business Development.
Despite location’s strong sway, a potential bleisure traveler’s mind isn’t necessarily made up in advance. Bleisure can happen anywhere, anytime; bleisure travelers are planning their trips on the fly, often from their smartphones, and with increasing flexibility and improvisation. Destination marketers have a key opportunity to connect with potential bleisure travelers by highlighting the sights, excitement, and recreational activities unique to their location.
Bleisure frequency is rising
When asked whether their propensity to bleisure has increased, decreased, or remained the same, the majority of respondents expressed that their bleisure travel has gone up in the past five years. This aligns with our global research findings on bleisure. Global travel as a whole is increasing – the World Tourism Organization predicts an increase of three to four percent in international tourist arrivals for 2019.
However, it’s not just the increase in global travel that’s caused a corresponding uptick in bleisure travel: The affordability of lengthening travel may also play a role. The rise of online travel agencies (OTAs) reduces cost by bundling airfare, lodging, and more. Additionally, a vacation day which would otherwise be used to travel to or depart from the destination is saved during a bleisure trip.
The increasing flexibility and the immediacy with which travelers can select, book, and even alter travel plans may also be contributing to the rise in bleisure. Approximately 80 percent of bleisure travelers spend just one to five hours on research for their trip, including inspiration and planning, illustrating a condensed path to purchase.
The bleisure packing list
There’s a sense of immediacy, improvisation, and adaptibility with which bleisure travelers plan—and experience—their trips. Bleisure travel can be fast-paced. Travelers will often go straight from a business meeting to a dinner out or from unwinding poolside to making a tight connecting flight.
When asked about their three most essential items to pack for bleisure, the need for adaptability was reflected in the respondents’ packing lists:
- A power pack for their phone
- A collapsible water bottle
- A lightweight travel blazer
- A nice dinner outfit
- And of course, devices: noise canceling earphones, kindle, iPad, tablet, smart phone (with as many external batteries as allows for their ‘always on’ habits during long flights and airport transfers)
Curious to learn more about the bleisure boom and the opportunities it presents for destination marketers? Discover insights on how to reach and attract the bleisure audience with our Unpacking Bleisure Traveler Trends research.