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Forget Business Trips, Today It's All About "Bleisure"

Do you travel for business, or leisure? Today's business travelers are blending both into a trend called "bleisure," and there's a new report that tells us all about it!

Travel consulting firm FCM Travel Solutions updates us on the state of modern business travel, and let's just say it's not all about jetting to some far-flung destination, sitting in on a series of meetings, and then going home as soon as possible. No, today's business travelers are all business in the front and party in the back as they Airbnb their way through the world's big cities. They work a lot, then play a little and now we're supposed to call it "bleisure."

According to FCM's research, 30% of the business travelers it books are extending their business stay by at least one extra night.

The experts say companies can expect employees' "bleisure" demands to increase as younger generations enter the workforce, get promoted, and say, "Hey, if I'm going to be in Dublin, then I'm going to see some of Dublin while I'm there, damn it." Maybe it's a fair trade, given the long, hard slog work has become in our 24/7 economy?

One thing we do know: business travelers are spending more time on the road. In 2005, the average business traveler spent 12.5 days per year traveling. This year, the average business traveler is projected to spend nearly 20 days (19.5 days) traveling. Hey, Rome wasn't built in a day, and the average business traveler can't expect to see the entire city in one day, either. They want their Audrey Hepburn-inspired, Vespa-riding Roman Holiday, too!

On that note, where are today's business travelers going? According to FCM's research, the top-five business traveler destinations worldwide are London, Dubai, Singapore, Frankfort, and Sydney. The average cost per business trip has increased over the last decade, too. In 2005, the average cost per business trip was $785. In 2016, it's projected to average $855. That's a $62-to-$70 difference, and with a lot less leg room.

Women and men are nearing equal in terms of how much they travel, with men representing 52% of all business travel compared to 48% for women. Gen Xers are doing the bulk of current business travel (Gen Xers account for 52% of current business travelers), followed by the Baby Boomers (26%), and the Millennials (15%).

Meanwhile, the "Silent" generation (e.g., employees aged 65 and over who really deserve a much better generational designation than "silent") account for 6% of current world business travelers. The "retired grandpa" sitting in the next seat whom you assume must be going to visit the grand kids may, in fact, be jetting off to seal a $100 million-dollar deal with a high-profile client.

Today's business travelers are still hoping for a number of trendy travel app features, too. The top-five desired "wish list" app features requested by today's business travelers include (1) the ability to make changes; (2) leisure add-ons; (3) weather; (4) travel alerts; and (5) ground transport recommendations. We have a bleisure fever, and the only cure is more travel apps.

While business travelers wait for their "leisure add-ons," they can take heart that they're increasingly working off the same travel itinerary. That is, when they're done working, they're going to take an extra day or two to see the sights! For today's business travelers, it's all in a week's day's work.


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