Mixing business with leisure

26 July, 2016

As we all know, the digital age has revolutionised the way in which we work and live. Mobile and internet devices allow uninterrupted connection. People are able to go from work to personal activities and vice versa whenever they need to, wherever they are. As a result, more and more travellers are taking advantage of their journeys by adding a few days to their business trips to enjoy some down time in a new locale while they are away from home.


Our research into ‘Bleisure’ travel, where business and personal travel are combined, found that it is a popular pursuit. We analysed air transactions booked by CWT, analysing a total of 7.3 million flights taken by 1.9 million business travellers worldwide.


Every year 20% of business travellers take bleisure trips, accounting for 7% of all business trips. These values have remained largely unchanged since 2011, which indicates that this is not a new phenomenon.


However, the percentage of bleisure trips varies depending on the traveller demographic category.


  • Female business travellers are more likely to take bleisure trips than their male counterparts, with 8.5% of women taking advantage of their work travel compared with 6.8% of men.
  • Younger travellers are significantly more likely to take bleisure trips: for travellers aged 20 to 25, the rate is closer to 15%.

  • Our research also found that frequent travellers are the least likely to take bleisure trips - the rate is below 5% in that group.


Unsurprisingly, popular destinations for bleisure travel include the some of the world’s most popular tourist spots. Popular global destinations include:


  • Singapore

  • San Francisco

  • New York


While in Europe, the bleisure hotspots are:

  • Paris

  • Lisbon

  • Barcelona

  • Istanbul

  • Nice


We found that the larger the distance between the origin and the destination cities, the higher the likelihood for bleisure. We also found that the likelihood of a bleisure trip increases with the distance between the origin and the destination cities: intercontinental trips have rates more than three times higher, on average, than those measured on domestic routes.


What does this all mean for travel managers? Companies need to be aware of the demand for flexibility and consider that as a factor in their travel and risk management policies. Much like the sharing economy and services such as Airbnb, younger travellers are increasingly taking advantage of new ways of experiencing popular destinations and businesses must adapt and communicate their policies effectively.


Even more importantly, traveller tracking is vital to ensure that employees can be found should any incidents take place where they are staying.


To read the full report, Combining business and leisure trips: A quantitative look at the bleisure phenomenon, visit the CWT Solutions Group website.