Bleisure boom in the experiential trend

In 2017, 75% of business travellers will lengthen its business trip combining it to one or more leisure days, as reported by Booking.com in its analysis of the Travel & Tourism industry trends.

In 2016, the percentage of bleisure travels, which mixed business and leisure components, was 17%,  while 14% in 2015 and 12% in 2014 , as reported by Travel Weekly. Bleisure travels are a growing trend of the industry.

Source: Travel Weekly’s 2016 Consumer Trends

Expedia Media Solution released the report “Profile of the American Bleisure Traveler”, based on a survey on 128 business travellers. The report underlines how American business travellers are becoming bleisure tourists, on average in 43% of their travels, which last two (42%) o three nights (29%). For this reason, business travellers are able to dedicate more time to leisure, free time and fun. 21% of bleisure travels registers more days dedicated to leisure than to business, and 37% of travels registers the same number of days dedicated to the two activities. This means that in 51% of cases, additional leisure days are equal or more than business days.

Even in this segment, experience plays a fundamental role. Moreover, 66% of respondents stated that the main reason to lengthen a travel is linked to the attractiveness of the destination.  At the same time, 33% of them affirmed that the main leisure motivation is the presence of some kind of event, such as a festival or a cultural event (86%), a sport event (76%) or a concert (64%). In-destination experiences are the most important component. The booking process of leisure activities starts 3 or 4 weeks prior to the travel (41%) or within 1 or 2 weeks (43%). In fact, 47% of respondents researches information about events on specific websites even before looking at OTA’s (41%).

In the bleisure travels booking process, the digital component is decisive. Depending on the website category visited by a bleisure traveller, the device is different. For OTAs websites, 42% of travellers uses mobile devices only, as for home rentals’. On the other hand, for airlines (61%), metasearch (68%) and hotel chains (61%) websites, travellers use only desktop devices. Moreover, Monday is the day which bleisure travellers prefer to look for information on travel websites.

At Twissen we observed how the experiential component is fundamental to extend a business travel to a leisure holiday. There are new opportunities for tourism destinations and for in-destination services providers, which will need to improve their knowledge of this new segment and of its preferences.