Study: More than 40 percent of business trips extended for leisure purposes

About 43 percent of business travel trips are extended for leisure purposes, according to new study from Expedia.

The line between business and pleasure is blurring for many travelers, according to a new study from Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising sales division of Expedia Inc. The study found 43 percent of all business trips, across domestic and international destinations, are “bleisure” trips that may start with business meetings and end with sightseeing and other leisure activities.

In general, bleisure travelers “often have compressed and complex purchase patterns and are influenced by a variety of factors, including trip location, sightseeing and activities in destination, and trip proximity to the weekend,” according to the American Bleisure Traveler study released Dec. 7. “Bleisure trip research and planning happens in such a short window of time, so it’s important for marketers to understand the factors that influence the decision-making process for business travelers,” said Monya Mandich, senior director of global marketing at Expedia Media Solutions. “The findings show the destination, local activities and travel costs are leading factors in whether a business trip is extended for leisure, giving destination marketing organizations and hoteliers a powerful opportunity to target business travelers with deals and information that will help inspire bleisure travel and drive incremental revenue.”

Expedia and co-researcher Luth Research found bleisure travelers tend to be frequent business travelers, as 32 percent travel for work once or twice a month, most often for two to three nights. More than 80 percent of bleisure travelers said they tend to stay at the hotel where they stayed on their business trip, while more than 30 percent said they are likely to stay at a different hotel or with friends or family. Of those who said they don’t typically stay at the same hotel, the biggest factors for that decision include the hotel price (72 percent) and whether they have family or friends in the area (58 percent).

At 66 percent, destination is the leading factor in turning business travel into bleisure. Of those who consider destination a factor in bleisure travel decisions, 85 percent said they are more likely to consider locations with great sightseeing, followed by beaches (63 percent) and food and restaurants (57 percent). Nearly 50 percent said the museum or art scene is a factor, while 42 percent are more likely to consider bleisure travel in locations with outdoor exploration.

More than 60 percent rated major cities like New York, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C., as leading destinations for bleisure travel. Additional destinations touted for their bleisure appeal include Denver, Boston, Nashville and San Antonio.