Bleisure: Surprising Stats Behind Business Travel

leisure trends survey

It may not seem like stealing but that’s often what today’s business travelers feel that have to do in order to squeeze in a worthy vacation.

New research from the first National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey shows frequent business travelers are displaying a healthy habit of managing work/life balance on the road – but many are keeping it to themselves.

Some 80 percent of business travelers feel they deserve to take a break from work and make time for themselves during business trips, but only 38 percent would consider telling their bosses about it, believing such travel is a “no-go.” Nearly half of these travelers (40 percent) will avoid telling co-workers — and 31 percent won’t even tell their spouses or significant others. Vacation shaming continues as a quarter of business travelers go so far as to avoid posting about their bleisure adventures on social media.

But all that secrecy may be unwarranted. Results from the National survey show that nearly all bosses and supervisors surveyed (92 percent) support their employees when they take time out to enjoy themselves while traveling for business.

“Business travel may seem glamorous to some, but the reality of navigating airports, managing hectic meeting schedules and sleeping in unfamiliar places can become tiresome and stressful over time,” said Rob Connors, vice president of brand marketing for National. “We were pleasantly surprised to see our survey results showed not only are frequent business travelers finding ways to balance both business expectations and personal interests on the road, but that their bosses support them in doing so.”

In fact, striking that balance to make business travel more enjoyable has clear benefits.

 

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Happy, Productive Road Warriors

  • Ninety-two percent of business travelers are satisfied with their quality of life when traveling for business; 89 percent are satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.
  • Ninety percent of business travelers plan to travel at least the same amount or more in 2018 (63 percent will travel the same amount; 27 percent will travel more).
  • Male millennials and Generation X females are significantly more likely to travel more in 2018 (41 percent and 36 percent)
  • Over half of business travelers stay more calm when they travel for business compared to their everyday lives, even though they also report exercising less, eating less healthy and experiencing fewer hours of sleep (51 percent report feeling more calm when traveling for business).
  • Business travelers say they work more hours (57 percent) and have more focus (48 percent) when they travel for business.
  • Business travelers tend to sleep less and work longer hours while on the road compared with when working at their regular workplace (during a day of business travel – 42 percent is work, 29 percent is sleep; during a regular work day when not traveling – 38 percent is work, 31 percent is sleep).
  • Forty-one percent are more efficient when away on business travel. Generation X is significantly more likely to agree they are more efficient on the road than millennials (44 percent vs. 37 percent).
  • Forty-percent are more productive on a business trip compared to a regular work day when not traveling.
  • Eighty-four percent of business travelers agreed that they know how to make the most out of life while traveling for business.

Baby Boomers Love Business Business Travel

  • Baby Boomers (93 percent) are significantly more likely than millennials (89 percent) and Generation X (86 percent) to be very or somewhat satisfied with the amount of business travel they do.
  • Baby Boomers are also significantly more satisfied (94 percent) with their quality of life while traveling for business compared to Generation X (90 percent).
  • Generation X men are most dissatisfied with their quality of life while on business travel (11 percent very or somewhat dissatisfied).

Secreting the Bleisure

  • Eighty percent of business travelers take time for fun/personal activities while on a business trip.
  • Thirty-eight percent of business travelers think telling your boss about fun times while traveling is a “no–go.”
  • Forty percent believe business travelers should avoid telling co-workers about taking time for a fun/personal activity while on a business trip.
  • Thirty-one percent of business travelers agree one should avoid telling a spouse or significant other about fun times while on a business trip.
  • Millennial women are most likely to disagree that they should avoid telling their bosses when they have fun while traveling (68 percent of millennial women) compared to all other business travelers.
  • One fourth (25 percent) of business travelers have avoided posting on social media about fun times had while on the road.

The Boss Factor

  • Eighty percent of frequent business travelers feel they deserve to have a break from work and make time for fun during most business trips.
  • A majority (82 percent) of business travelers expect support from their bosses to take time for fun while on a business trip.
  • Significantly more millennials (88 percent) than Generation X (82 percent) or Baby Boomers (78 percent) expect such support from their bosses.
  • A majority (82 percent) of business travelers believe they should have support from their co-workers to take time for fun on a business trip.
  • Three-fourths (79 percent) of business travelers say their bosses/supervisors support them in taking time for personal/fun activities while traveling for business.
  • However, more bosses/supervisors (92 percent of 750 bosses) say they support their employees in taking time for personal/fun activities while traveling for business.

Bleisure Guilt

  • Millennials are significantly more likely than Generation X and Baby Boomer business travelers to take time for fun on the road (55 percent do so often or always, 80 percent say at least sometimes).
  • Men, overall, are more likely than women to say you should avoid having fun on a business trip (37 percent v. 26 percent).
  • Millennial men are twice as likely as millennial women to agree they should avoid having fun while on a business trip (41 percent versus 20 percent).
  • A majority (86 percent) of business travelers say they know how to successfully manage their personal lives while on the road.

Masters of the Universe

  • Seventy-nine percent of business travelers use smartphones to help master the business travel game.
  • Business travelers report loyalty programs are among the top on the list of tools that help them master the game of business travel (66 percent report membership in airline loyalty programs; 64 percent report membership in hotel loyalty programs; 39 percent report membership in car rental loyalty programs).
  • In addition, smartphones and loyalty programs also keep business travelers more balanced and connected to their personal lives while on a business trip (80 percent smartphones; 57 percent airline loyalty programs; 56 percent hotel loyalty programs; 28 percent car rental loyalty programs).
  • A majority (83 percent) of business travelers consider themselves business travel “pros” and almost all (92 percent) know that the more they travel, the more they master the travel game.

The National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey was conducted from December 4-11, 2017, among 1,000 U.S. frequent business travelers. Participants had to have been 25 to 65 years of age, be currently employed or self-employed, and traveled in the past 12 months for business purposes with a minimum of eight total nights.

 

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