Business travellers are increasing the length of domestic trips as new data reveals growth in bleisure travel, driven by hybrid and flexible working arrangements and the need for work-life balance. Conversely, short trips saw negative growth this year.
Corporate Traveller, the flagship SME division of Flight Centre Travel Group, analysed the percentage increase in its same-day and one-to-six-day flight bookings from 1 May to 31 October 2023 compared year-on-year to gauge any length-of-stay trends. Corporate Traveller found short-stay trips dropped by an average of 3.9 per cent this year, while longer trips increased by an average of 4.6 per cent.
Specifically, there was negative growth in same-day, two-day and three-day trips this year, at -2.3 per cent, -1 per cent, and -8.4 per cent respectively. From there, the trend in negative growth saw a marked turnaround, with a consistent increase in bookings for trips longer than three days. Corporate Traveller saw a 3.8 per cent growth in four-day trips, a 4.2 per cent growth in five-day trips, and a 5.8 per cent growth in six-day trips.
Australia-based Global Managing Director, Tom Walley, points to changing attitudes and working arrangements driving the growth in longer trips. “The shift to longer business trips is influenced, in part, by changing work patterns. Many executives in hybrid and flexible working arrangements can base themselves anywhere on their remote working days and remain productive. This flexibility is encouraging business travellers to take extended stays, which then gives them freedom outside of working hours to add on leisure activities in a new destination.
Tom says flexible working arrangements have also created greater awareness of the need for work-life balance: “At Corporate Traveller, we have observed an increase in bleisure travel, whereby travellers weave short breaks into work trips. Our data shows increases in trips of four days or more, which suggests many travellers are opting for a ‘long weekend’ or ‘week away’ approach to their trips.
“Aside from extra accommodation, extending a corporate trip has no impact on the cost of flights as they are already booked. In fact, there can be perks to extending a trip, such as discounted rates or cheaper return flight dates. Some organisations are realising that enabling staff to combine business with leisure has a positive impact on staff morale which, in return, positively impacts business success.”
Tom emphasises, “Understanding the shifting preferences of business travellers is essential for the travel industry to adapt and cater to the evolving needs of travellers across different trip lengths. The growth in bleisure travel this year reflects a changing mindset among travellers that will continue shaping the industry and its offerings to meet that growth in demand.”
Corporate Traveller provides regular insights for customers through their comprehensive online Business Support Hub, which for years has provided businesses with a wealth of prescriptive information. In addition, Corporate Traveller’s travel event series, Unpacked, offers customers bleisure travel insights and hacks through webinars and in-person events; and its regular market research uncovers business travel behaviours and needs to help businesses make informed decisions around travel, meetings and events.
|Length of stay||% increase from 1 May–31 October 2023 YoY|
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