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The rise of business and leisure trips

As global travel becomes increasingly accessible and emerging markets open their doors, more and more business travellers are starting to make the most of these new countries and cities by adding leisure days onto their business trips. Not only has this created a new type of business traveller, but also a rather ugly term: 'Bleisure'. Once you get over how awful it sounds, it simply means a combination of business and leisure trips.

Here we take a look at rise of bleisure and why there's never been a better time to explore the world as a business traveller.

The bleisure generation

Statistically, people are working longer hours* and spending more time away from family and friends – six out of 10 travellers are away from home on business 10 or more days a year!†

As business opportunities take employees further afield, it makes sense to allow them valuable time off to relieve travel exhaustion and reward them for their hard work – sometimes in exotic locations! But it’s not just adding days after work trips that count as bleisure. Some companies are opting to add leisure days for employees prior to their meetings, allowing them to be rested, shake off jetlag and be as focussed as possible.

Today, business travel is about making the most of your time away incorporating sightseeing, dining and cultural activities in one trip. But it's also becoming more apparent that there's no real distinction between business and leisure, especially with the likes of the 'Bleisure generation' turning evenings out into networking opportunities, Linking In and sharing business cards.

Why companies need to consider bleisure

Bleisure is one of those areas that employers need to decide whether or not becomes company policy. Currently many employees have no idea whether their company's policy includes booking leisure time or if there is even a policy in place – only 14% of respondents said 'Yes' when asked whether their company had a policy on bleisure travel§.

Although there is a lack of certainty, it's not putting professionals off with more than half of travellers taking time off and including their family or loved one**. Plus, bleisure trips can make a lot of financial sense. Employees save on the cost of an air ticket and can usually use their loyalty points towards extending their stay and inviting family and friends to join them. From an employer point of view, the general consensus is that if it doesn't cost the company anything then it's ok.

The benefits of bleisure

As the bleisure concept grows and is embraced by companies, it's hard to ignore the obvious benefits to employee morale and motivation. Bleisure time is a great way to explore new cities and get a better understanding of local culture – the three most popular leisure activities include sightseeing, dining and arts/culture††.

As a corporate travel company, we've seen the rise in leisure extensions and expect to see this trend grow. Charlie Clark, Managing Director of The Internet Traveller says: "The benefits from a leisure-added trip far outweigh the negatives. The chance for a bit of adventure is a great motivator for employees. Who could resist a business trip to New York, Las Vegas, or Miami, with the incentive of an extra day or two to explore the city?

"Plus, extending the duration of the trip may actually make it cheaper for the company, as many airlines offer reduced rates for a weeklong trip. On top of that, when employees know that they’ll have that extra time for themselves, they may be better able to concentrate on their jobs and leave the fun stuff for their free days. And if it becomes necessary, your employees can use that extra time to finish up outstanding business or even meet with more clients."

Global bleisure trends

Here are some of the top locations for business and leisure travel:

1. India – as one of the top 10 largest business markets§§ it's unsurprising that the business traffic to India is on the rise. In addition the culture, beautiful environment, sights and sounds that can be experienced here make it a natural bleisure destination.

2. China – despite an economic slow-down China is still predicted to pull away as an economic global leader ***. Culturally diverse, China makes for an exciting opportunity for a short adventure away from home after a week of work.

3. Mexico – on the brink of rapid expansion†††, Mexico offers new business opportunities, as well as stunning leisure activities. From hot air balloon rides around the Teotihuacan to the beaches of Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Cancun, there's lots to see and do.

To find out more about CTM and how we can help you with your corporate travel, policies and duty of care, please email or call 0870 470 8702.

Sources: *Global Blue, March 2016; †The Bleisure Report 2014; §Buying Business Travel, August 2015; **Skift, October 2014; †† Buying Business Travel, August 2015; §§India Tourism Review, December 2014; ***GBTA, July 2015; †††Market Realist, July 2014 

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