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Bleisure travel on the increase in EMEA

Content provided by SAP Concur

Owing to a rising trend towards ‘bleisure’ (business combined with leisure), how we choose to travel for business is changing. New SAP Concur Travel and Expense data gathered between Jan – Dec 2017 found that bleisure trips jumped 46% across EMEA. For EMEA travellers, the top five destinations for bleisure travellers were Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Dubai and Frankfurt.

For our purposes, we have defined bleisure as a business trip that includes a Saturday night stay. Globally, from 2016-2017, the number of bleisure trips increased year-on-year by 20 per cent. This trend isn’t only being driven by large enterprises; combining business with leisure is also popular with SMBs. Since launching in September, Concur Hipmunkshows world-wide that nearly one in five (16%) SMB business travellers included a Saturday night stay. 

Across EMEA, 27% of travellers included a Saturday night stay in their most recent trip, compared with 44% in APAC and 19% in the US. And it’s a trend that all generations are participating in. Whilst on average, millennials make up the largest share of bleisure travellers, globally accounting for 38% of bleisure trips, Generation X and Baby Boomers at 31% each are not far behind. As of yet, Generation Z is not showing any significant preference when it comes to business travel. Emma Maslen, MD of UK Enterprise, SAP Concur, commented: “Bleisure is a rising trend across the globe. Increasingly as employees seek to achieve a better work life balance; they don’t want to only see the airport of a city. Instead they want to embed themselves more in the culture and experiences that their destination has to offer. This trend coincides with upward growth trajectory of the platform economy, the most notable brands including Airbnb, enabling travellers to find cost-effective, flexible accommodation that empowers them to maximise the best of both worlds. Indeed, 70 per cent of Airbnb bookings we’ve seen from our data included a Saturday night – now compare that with just 10 per cent for hotel bookings. Companies need to have the correct policies in place to help effectively manage the rise of bleisure.”

In EMEA, bleisure trips made in 2017 were on an increasing trend compared to 2016 for all months, with March hitting the highest peak at 81 per cent, followed by February and May at 49 per cent and 48 per cent respectively. The top three sectors across EMEA where bleisure is more prevalent are manufacturing, technology and pharma with a steady year-on-year increase.

Maslen continued: “Accommodating bleisure in travel policies can offer a way of demonstrating to employees that a company values their travelers’ well-being and work-life balance. In turn, employees feel more job satisfaction, leading to higher productivity and talent retention.”