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Expedia study reveals key trends in ‘booming’ bleisure travel sector

Posted by Lee Hayhurst on
Expedia study reveals key trends in ‘booming’ bleisure travel sector

New research conducted by Expedia Group Media Solutions has found 60% of corporate travellers globally extend their trips to add some leisure activities.

The study underlines the so-called ‘bleisure’ phenomenon that is seeing an increasing blending of business and leisure travel.

Expedia commissioned the multi-national study that was conducted by Luth Research and covered American, British, Chinese, German, and Indian travellers

The results of the Unpacking Bleisure Traveler Trends  report were released today at the annual Phocuswright Europe conference in Amsterdam.

It found bleisure travelers take more than six business trips per year, and more than 60% of business trips during the last year were extended for leisure purposes.

In the US, bleisure travel conversion is consistent with the multi-national average of 60%, representing an almost 40% increase in American bleisure travel since 2016.

The study found 72% of respondents said there are destinations they have visited or will visit in the future for business that they would like to extend for bleisure,

Fifty-six percent said they are more likely to consider a bleisure trip in a destination with great food and restaurants, closely followed by approximately 50% influenced by beaches, weather, nature, historical monuments or sightseeing.

Andrew van der Feltz, senior director, EMEA & APAC at Expedia Group Media Solutions, said: “The study provides a deeper look at the influences and motivations of the growing and valuable bleisure audience, and the actionable insights will empower marketers to strategically target and convert these travellers within the condensed research and booking window.

“By showcasing unique experiences and activities, which are influential factors during the decision-making process, every destination, hotel, restaurant, attraction, airline, and more, can entice business travellers to extend their trip for leisure.”

Other Key findings

Converting to Bleisure

  • Business trips lasting 2-3 nights are most likely to result in bleisure trips (50%), as are trips where the business destination is far away, or more than 400 miles from home (49%)
  • Leading factors that influence bleisure travel decisions include traveling to a destination with great entertainment (48%) and visiting an iconic or bucket list destination (43%); easy-to-navigate destinations, proximity to the weekend and additional personal costs required to extend the trip for leisure are also influential factors

Bleisure Research & Booking Resources

  • Approximately 80% of bleisure travellers spend 1-5 hours on research during both the inspiration and planning phases, which is more condensed than more traditional leisure booking windows
  • Before deciding to bleisure, 68% of travellers conduct research using a search engine, 47% use travel-related websites – including OTAs, airline and hotel sites, and review sites – and 44% use destination websites
  • Most bleisure travellers personally research and book accommodations (61%), airfare (42%) and dining (38%) for the leisure portion of their trip

Willingness to Travel for Bleisure

  • Two-thirds of past bleisure trips were in the same city as the business trip, but more than 80% of bleisure travellers are willing to travel from the business destination for leisure
  • On domestic and international trips, more than 50% of bleisure travellers are willing to travel 1-2 hours via car from the business destination for the leisure portion of their trip, and more than 28% would travel 1-2 hours via plane
  • When traveling domestically between the business and leisure destinations, 38% of bleisure travelers are unwilling to travel via bus and 25% are unwilling to travel via plane

Bleisure Budgets & Payment Preferences

  • Compared to a typical vacation, 57% of bleisure travellers spend the same amount of money or more on a bleisure trip, and more than 75% save money specifically for bleisure travel
  • When on a bleisure trip, credit cards are the leading preferred payment method (69%), followed by cash (47%) and debit or ATM cards (44%)
  • More than two-thirds of bleisure spend is allocated to hotel, airfare and dining for the leisure portion of the trip

Key Takeaways for Marketers

  • Bleisure Travel is Booming: 60% of business trips convert to bleisure, and with travellers taking more than six business trips per year, on average, there’s a profound opportunity to reach and entice this valuable audience.
  • Bleisure Knows No Boundaries: There is nearly equal likelihood of bleisure travel for both domestic and international business trips, and travellers are willing to travel away from the business destination for leisure.
  • Destination To-Do’s: With nearly 70% of business trips being for conferences, there is an opportunity for destinations to encourage extending for leisure by highlighting activities and experiences to drive repeat visitation.
  • Condensed Path to Purchase: Most bleisure travelers spend less time on research than they would on a leisure trip, so marketers have a shorter window to strategically target and influence behaviour and purchases with call to action messaging.
  • In Market Targeting: Bleisure travellers may not book everything in advance, highlighting opportunities for marketers to reach and convert travellers in-trip – especially for ancillary products like dining, tours and activities, entertainment and transportation.

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