Research by SAP Concur shows the trend of combining leisure elements with work trips – commonly known as bleisure – is on the rise across EMEA.

SAP Concur Travel and Expense data collected between January and December 2017 shows bleisure trips jumped 46 per cent on 2016, with the most popular destinations being Tel Aviv, London, Paris, Dubai and Frankfurt. Globally, such trips increased 20 per cent.

For the purposes of the research, SAP Concur defined bleisure as a trip including a Saturday night stay.

Furthermore, the data showed it is not just employees from large enterprises driving the bleisure trend; a growing number of SME staff are choosing to combine a leisure stay with a business trip, with data from Concur Hipmunk showing nearly one in five SME trips included a Saturday night stay.

Across EMEA, 27 per cent of travellers included a Saturday stay in their most recent trip. However, employees in APAC were the most likely to lean towards bleisure at 44 per cent – compared to just 19 per cent in the US.

While Millennials are driving the bleisure trend at 38 per cent globally, SAP Concur’s research found the practice is popular across all age groups. Generation X and Baby Boomers accounted for 31 per cent of bleisure trips each. However, the incoming Generation Z is not showing any significant preference when it comes to business travel.

Emma Maslen, MD of UK enterprise at 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 ten per cent for hotel bookings. Companies need to have the correct policies in place to help effectively manage the rise of bleisure.

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

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