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The Control Center

2020 State of Business Travel Survey Fact Sheet

National Car Rental recently released its third annual State of Business Travel Survey, which continues to examine the behaviors, emotions and perceptions of frequent business travelers.

With the workforce now encompassing four generations, baby boomers, Generation Xers, millennials and Gen Zers each have their own perceptions of work and personal time – both at the office and when they travel for business. This year’s survey results suggest more professionals are embracing work-life “blending,” essentially blurring the lines between work and personal time to benefit the dynamic schedule of the modern worker.

The trend is particularly prevalent among business travelers where the term has been coined “bleisure.” The survey found that 81% of travelers engage in some form of bleisure travel, including incorporating leisure activities into business travel (61%), extending business travel into leisure trips (41%) and booking a vacation around a business trip (33%). The positive result is that workers of all ages and titles who engage in bleisure travel report higher satisfaction with their quality of life while on the road (91% vs. 79%) than non-bleisure travelers.

Background

The National Car Rental State of Business Travel Survey was conducted November 18-26, 2019, among 995 U.S. frequent business travelers in 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, a minimum of eight total nights.

Survey Statistics

Professionals are Embracing Work-Life Blending

  • While 67% of respondents still try to draw a line between their work and personal lives, 65% believe it’s an unrealistic goal.
  • Instead, more than half of respondents (55%) admit to blending work life and personal life, rather than attempting to keep them separate. This includes, during an average week:  
    • Answering emails after working hours on 3.97 days
    • Arriving early or staying late on 3.72 days
    • Taking work calls after working hours on 3.00 days
    • Answering personal emails during work time on 2.94 days
    • Taking personal calls on work time on 2.85 days
    • Working on personal projects on work time on 1.63 days
  • In particular, senior leaders endorse the blending trend: More senior and executive leaders (65%) agree that they prefer to blend their personal and work lives, compared to non-managers (46%) and managers (52%).

Business Travelers Delight in Blending, Popularly Known as “Bleisure”

  • Most business travelers (81%) engage in some form of bleisure travel, including incorporating leisure activities into business travel (61%), extending business travel into leisure trips (41%) and booking a vacation around a business trip (33%).
  • Millennials (86%) are more likely to have done bleisure travel than Gen Xers (76%) and baby boomers (73%).

Bleisure has Positive Effects

  • Workers, overall, who engage in bleisure travel report higher satisfaction with their quality of life while on the road (91% vs. 79%) than non-bleisure travelers.
  • They’re also more likely than non-bleisure travelers to report additional benefits, including following a healthy diet (41% vs. 32%), exercising (53% vs. 41%) and coming back feeling invigorated (54% vs. 35%).
  • Millennials, in particular, seem to have more positive experiences during their business trips, such as feeling more focused (67%) and taking time for themselves (64%) than boomers (56% and 54%, respectively).
  • Also, over half of millennials (55%) indicate that they’re more likely to come back to work feeling invigorated after business trips than Gen Xers (48%) or boomers (42%).

The Trend Comes From the Top – And is Becoming More Accepted

  • Senior/executive leaders are leading the way: Almost twice as many senior and executive leaders have extended their business trip into leisure travel (50%) or booked a vacation around their business trip (40%), compared to non-managers (28% and 27%, respectively).
  • Fewer people felt the need to downplay their leisure activities to their boss (19% vs. 21%) or their coworkers (22% vs. 24%), compared with a year ago.

Business Travel Remains a Leading Work Perk Among Professionals

  • Nine in 10 business travelers (89%) are satisfied with their quality of life while traveling for work.
  • Nearly four-in-five bleisure travelers (79%) admit they’re more likely to volunteer to go on a business trip if they know they can extend their stay for leisure.
  • The majority of bleisure travelers believe business travel contributes to their career success (86% vs. 69% of non-bleisure travelers) and helps them build key relationships they otherwise couldn’t without business travel (81% vs. 73%).
  • They’re also more than twice as likely as non-bleisure travelers to say they’ve intentionally searched for jobs that required business travel (39% vs. 15%), and are more willing to give up work perks such as summer hours/flex hours and work from home days in order to be able to travel for business.

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Blending Affects Ground Transportation Options, Too

  • Business travelers rely on a mix of ground transportation options, depending on their needs. Rental cars are most often used for getting around the city (78%) and going to business meetings (72%), while ridesharing is used to get to restaurants and bars (68%).
  • Taxis and rideshares are used equally to get to and from the airport (70%).

Blending and Bleisure Enabled by Ever-Improving Technology

  • Work-life blending and bleisure are both highly enabled by technology, with 90% of frequent business travelers indicating they choose brands that offer them technology tools that improve the business travel experience.
  • Among bleisure travelers, 90% perceive connected cars as beneficial for business travel.

Males are More Likely to Seek Out Opportunities to Travel for Work

  • Men are more willing to give up certain perks in order to obtain business travel opportunities, such as:
    • Higher salary (21% vs 10% female)
    • Fewer days off (22% vs. 10% female)
    • No summer hours/flex hours (28% vs. 21% female)
    • Lower employer contribution to a retirement plan (14% vs. 8% female)
  • Interestingly, females (19%) are more likely than males (11%) to say affordability is the biggest factor that determines whether they would include leisure activities into their business trips.

Men are Also More Likely to Experience Benefits While on Business Trips

  • The majority (85%) of males say they’re satisfied with their work-life balance during business trips, compared to three-quarters (78%) of females.
  • Around six in 10 males (58%) bring their partner or spouse on their bleisure trips always, often or occasionally  ̶  whereas under half (48%) of females do so.
  • Moreover, males are also more likely to engage in beneficial behaviors when traveling for business, such as:
    • Taking time for themselves (68% vs. 58% female)
    • Getting exercise (57% vs. 45% female)
    • Following a healthy diet (44% vs. 35% female)