ST. LOUIS – As millennials make up a growing share of the workforce, they’ve begun to capitalize on a new, unofficial work perk. “Bleisure” travel – the trend of blending business with leisure activities on business trips – is on the rise, providing a greater quality of life and work/life balance to those who take advantage of it.
According to the second annual State of Business Travel Survey by National Car Rental, 90 percent of millennials have engaged in bleisure travel in the past year compared with 81 percent of Generation Xers and 80 percent of baby boomers. While all three generations benefit from bleisure travel, recent industry reports say millennials have led the way in normalizing the trend. A major reason may be that they’ve identified a budget friendly opportunity: Nearly half (49 percent) of millennials say they’ve extended business travel into a leisure trip or scheduled a vacation around business travel to save on vacation costs.
“National’s new research shows that workers in general, and millennials in particular, are increasingly blending business travel with leisure activities, with nearly a third citing their desire to explore specific destinations as the number one reason to do so,” said Frank Thurman, vice president of marketing for National. “And business travelers of all ages clearly believe that bleisure travel helps them maintain a healthier work/life balance.”
Better Travel, Better Life
Across all three generations, those who engage in bleisure travel are significantly more likely to be satisfied with their quality of life (93 percent vs. 75 percent) as well as their work/life balance (87 percent vs. 64 percent) while on the road than non-bleisure travelers. In addition, the survey shows that bleisure travelers are more likely to prioritize self-care on the road than non-bleisure travelers, which includes following a healthy diet (42 percent vs. 29 percent) and exercising (57 percent vs. 31 percent).
Keeping It Secret
Despite these benefits, however, millennials are leading another trend: bleisure travel stigma. Nearly half (45 percent) of millennials feel they should avoid telling others about taking time for fun or personal activities while on a business trip compared with 40 percent of Gen Xers and 30 percent of baby boomers. However, this trend may change as today’s junior-level employees become tomorrow’s managers. According to the survey, 76 percent of bleisure-traveling bosses and supervisors report encouraging their teams to take time for themselves while on business trips, compared with only 51 percent of bosses and supervisors who don’t partake in bleisure travel.
Staying Connected, Making It Simple
Regardless of what bleisure activities they pursue, business travelers look to technology to keep them more connected than ever. For example, 93 percent of frequent travelers prefer travel brands with technology that simplifies travel. And business travelers use an average of 3.1 travel apps when they travel for business. Unsurprisingly, millennials (46 percent) are significantly more likely than Gen Xers (37 percent) and baby boomers (35 percent) to say they always choose travel brands based on the technology they offer.
The National Car Rental 2019 State of Business Travel Survey was conducted November 9-15, 2018, among 1,000 U.S. frequent business travelers using Lucid’s Federated Sample market research panel of U.S. consumers. At the time of the survey, participants had to have been 25 to 65 years of age, be currently employed or self-employed on a full-time (35+ hours a week) basis, and traveled in the past 12 months for business purposes with a minimum of eight total nights.