The term bleisure has been a travel trend that has been gaining in popularity over the last few years. Part corporate travel, part vacation, employees are increasingly requesting to add in some downtime before or after a business trip.
But what percentage of corporate trips include an element of leisure time? What are the benefits of blending business and leisure trips to businesses, and what are the top reasons employees are so keen to use their vacation days after traveling for work? Read on for our list of bleisure travel statistics for 2023.
Bleisure in the business travel market
- Annually corporate travelers spend 22 days on average traveling for work. The average business trip lasts 3.8 days (SavvySleeper).
- Pre-pandemic, 57% of businesses had travel policies allowing employees to add leisure time to their business trips (Forbes).
- In 2021, 37% of corporate travelers from North America extended their business trips to do some sightseeing and other leisure activities (GBTA).
- U.S. business travelers take over 405 million long-haul business trips annually. It is estimated that employees are adding vacation time to around 60% of these trips (243 million) (Stratos).
- A survey by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) asked travel managers if they thought employees were more interested in blended travel post-pandemic. 82% of respondents answered that their teams were now equally or more interested in adding leisure time to their business trips (GBTA).
- In the UK, 45% of survey participants said they intended to add a leisure element to business trips in the future (Crowne Plaza).
- In 2022 a U.S. survey found that 89% of participants wanted to include some vacation time to their next corporate trip (American Hotel & Lodging Association).
- 41% of travel managers have noted a rise in colleagues asking to add a longer stay to their work trips for leisure purposes (GBTA).
- 81% of business travelers are engaging in some variation of bleisure travel. 61% of travelers include leisure activities in their itinerary, while 41% are lengthening their stay to carve out some time off around their work trip (National Car).
- The percentage of business trips that become a bleisure trip varies from country to country, 56 % in the UK, 65% in Germany, and 62% in China (Stratos).
- In 2022 American Airlines revealed that almost half of its $13.46 billion revenue was generated from bleisure itineraries, a record high for the organization (AFA).
- Compared to a 2019 survey, workers feel less pressured to hide the leisure elements of their trips from their boss (19% versus 21%) and their colleagues (22% versus 24%) (National Car).
- 79% of bleisure travelers state they volunteer more frequently for business trips where they can extend and enjoy some vacation time (National Car).
Which business need is the origin of most bleisure trips?
- 67% of bleisure trips begin as an itinerary to take in a conference. 46% start as a trip to external meetings and 42% as sales opportunities. Meanwhile, 30% of bleisure travelers are traveling for an internal appointment, and 5% list their purpose as “other” (Stratos).
How many days does an average bleisure trip last?
- 17% of bleisure trips last 4 nights or more, 31% are 3 nights in length, 39% are for two nights, and just 12% of bleisure travelers are away for only one night (Stratos).
- 32% of bleisure stays are taken by frequent travelers who take one or two business trips each month (Expedia).
What are the top destinations for bleisure trips?
- Perhaps unsurprisingly, New York City generates the most bleisure trips each year, with Paris, France, coming in second and London, UK, third (Statista).
Do bleisure travelers travel solo?
- 35% of bleisure travelers have company during their trips (Stratos).
- 36% of bleisure travelers have family or acquaintances in the destination (Stratos).
- 65% of survey participants stated they thought it was fine for friends or family to accompany corporate travelers on business trips as long as they didn’t distract from work commitments (Visit Anaheim).
- 58% of male business travelers reported taking their partner on a number of business trips compared to 48% of female corporate travelers (National Car).
- 57% of employees confessed to looking to take business trips to destinations they know their loved ones would enjoy (Visit Anaheim).
Which employee demographic engages most with the bleisure travel trend?
- Engagement with bleisure travel varies from generation to generation with Millennial employees (86%) more likely to add on leisure time than Gen Xers (76%) or baby boomers (73%) (National Car).
- 32% of bleisure trips are taken by frequent travelers who take one or two business trips each month (Expedia).
- Senior leadership teams and executives are twice as likely to extend their business trips for leisure compared to non-management employees (National Car).
Employees consider corporate travel an important perk
- 86% of bleisure travelers see corporate travel as a key component to career development, and 81% see it as crucial to cementing key business relationships that would be impossible without traveling for work (National Car).
- 3 quarters of millennial corporate travelers see traveling for business as a benefit of their role (Hilton Hotels & Reports Survey).
- 39% of bleisure travelers report they actively seek job roles that involve opportunities for business trips and are open to losing other benefits to have more chances to travel (National Car).
- When asked whether they are willing to forego other perks in favor of more business travel, male employees emerge as more willing, with 21% stating they would accept a lower salary compared to the 10% reported from their female counterparts. 22% of male participants said they would accept a role with fewer vacation days versus 10% of females, and 28% of men said they would consider less flexibility around their work hours to take more work trips (National Car).
What are the most common motivations for bleisure travel?
- When surveyed, 4 out of 5 corporate travelers responded that they felt they should be allowed to take some time for leisure during a work trip, and 79% believed their employer would agree (National Car).
- 65% of millennial corporate travelers believe traveling for their company is linked to their sense of status (Hilton Hotels & Reports Survey).
- For many employees, bleisure trips are linked to efforts to become more sustainable, with 60% of surveyed business travelers reporting that the pandemic has made them more conscious of the environmental impact of traveling (Crowne Plaza).
- Bleisure travelers list their favorite elements of traveling for work as exploring new destination (70%), making new connections (58%), having a change of work environment (57%) and having new experiences (55% (Visit Anaheim).
What are the benefits of bleisure trips?
- Corporate travel is linked to employee satisfaction, with 90% of business travelers desiring to travel for work for the rest of their careers (SavvySleeper).
- Close to 100% of business travelers report enjoying time spent on business trips (National Car).
- A Hilton survey of U.S. travelers revealed that 76% of participants reported negative outcomes if they went too long without taking time off. Burnout rated top with 41% of the vote, with boredom (36%), irritability (30%), and depression (29%) taking second, third, and fourth place (Hilton hotels).
- The same survey reported that just over half of American employees (51%) feel guilty when asking for time off, with 28% not taking all their vacation days. With these staggering stats, businesses encouraging bleisure travel could stand out as advocates for employee happiness and ultimately benefit from better engagement and retention (Hilton hotels).
- Employees of all demographics who combine leisure travel with their business trips reported a better work-life balance (91%) compared to respondents who didn’t combine their vacations with traveling for work (79%) (National Car).
- Bleisure travelers report returning to the office more refreshed than non bleisure travelers (54% versus 35%). This stat varies between demographics, with 55% of Millenials feeling invigorated by their bleisure trips compared to 48% of Gen Xers and 42% of baby boomers (National Car).
- 33% of workers stated they are more concerned with their physical and mental well-being since the Covid-19 pandemic. US participants especially reported that the last few years had increased their appreciation for travel for its mental health benefits (21%) (Crowne Plaza).
- Bleisure trips can help reduce the cost of accommodation for business trips. 82% of bleisure travelers will opt for the same hotel for the entirety of their trip giving companies access to favorable rates for extended stays while sharing the spend. Organizations that encourage their corporate travelers to sign up for loyalty programs and stay with their preferred hotel brands can access further perks like complimentary wi-fi, room upgrades and late check out (GBTA).
- 34% of surveyed business travelers shared that their most innovative concepts were conceived while on a business trip. This stat jumps up to 53% for team members aged 16-24 (TravelPerk).