„According to the SAP Concur study, over 90 per cent would like to go on a business trip again soon. The topic of flexibility and bleisure will experience a push. Nine out of ten business travellers worldwide plan to take a bleisure trip in the coming months.” Sylvie Konzack
Business travellers are Corona weary and want to travel for business again. 96 per cent of 3,850 business travellers surveyed in 25 global markets are willing to travel for business in the next twelve months. Almost two-thirds (65 per cent) are even very willing to do so. These are the findings of a study commissioned by SAP Concur and conducted in April and May 2021. Almost all (92 per cent) cite personal reasons for wanting to travel, citing face-to-face contact with clients and colleagues (54 per cent), discovering new places (52 per cent) and taking time out from the daily grind (41 per cent) as motives.
At the same time, four out of five business travellers fear that their private and professional lives will suffer if they stop increasing the frequency of their travel in 2021. This is because they are concerned about maintaining business relationships (45 per cent), fear financial losses (38 per cent) or are worried that their career could stall (33 per cent).
Nine out of ten want Bleisure
Unused holiday days and a heavy workload increase the desire for bleisure travel: No less than 89 per cent of the survey participants stated that they would like to add a private holiday to their business trips in the next twelve months. These plans are linked to a new expectation of the employer: More than two-thirds (68 per cent) want to go on business trips again on their own terms.
Safety issues play a key role in this, with 31 per cent saying they would travel on a restricted basis if the company did not introduce policies or measures to protect the health and safety of its employees, or even one in five would consider another job. But even more important to most is being able to freely and flexibly choose the means of transport, accommodation or travel dates.
Which business travel trends at the Re-Start?
Lufthansa City Center predicts, among other things, that medium-sized, smaller companies will be the first to restart their business trips because they are more flexible and have to follow less strict travel guidelines.
When booking travel, price alone will no longer be decisive, but employee safety, which is why employers will invest more in the area of travel risk management. In addition, the franchise company in the travel agency market suspects that companies and business travelers will focus more consistently than ever on sustainable travel, also in the wake of increased virtual or hybrid events. And another forecast from Lufthansa City Center: The boundaries between business and leisure travel will blur more than ever in the future because work models have also become more flexible. Bleisure and remote work will experience increased demand.
Marriott intensifies Bleisure and Workation offers
This fits in with the current activities of many providers. Marriott International, the largest hotel chain, announced in April 2021 that it will focus more on the work and leisure travel segments in the future. The chain wants to grow further with the holiday homes and apartments, which Marriott gathers under “Homes & Villas” with several private providers. There are currently more than 28,000 offers, and from late summer 2021, hand-picked holiday villas and apartments will also be offered in Austria and Germany. In addition, Marriott currently has around 900 Residence Inns with serviced apartments and thus their own kitchenette, 20 more have already been signed in the EMEA region by 2023 (see photo above: Residence Inn by Marriott Al Jaddaf newly opened in early 2021).
Another part of the Marriott strategy is also to develop hotels even more into a destination. At the St. Regis Rome, there are, among other things, the individual city tours and cooperations with gastronomy under the motto “Slow Travel” (we reported). In general, the Luxury Road Trips programme is to be further expanded and special offers for families and art lovers are to be created in combination with the Marriott Bonvoy reward programme. And planned new openings will do the rest: The Ritz-Carlton Zermatt, for example, will be the first ski resort of a global brand in the resort in 2026. The opportunities for bleisure and remote work are growing immensely.
Sylvie Konzack …
is somewhat surprised at how much bleisure is currently being named a big trend in travel studies and business travel forecasts. But together with the trend towards workation and remote work, Corona believes it fits in perfectly with the new need to combine work and leisure. New Work and New Travel.
Photos: © iStock.com_jhorrocks, © iStock.com_Yuri_Arcurs, Residence Inn by Marriott Al Jaddaf