Monday 16 September 2019

Saturday night is all right as more travellers stay over

Seventy per cent of those in an Airbnb property stay on to see the sights compared to 10pc in hotels
Seventy per cent of those in an Airbnb property stay on to see the sights compared to 10pc in hotels

Mark Evans

The trend of combining leisure time with a business trip abroad has been on the rise for the last number of years, and the latest data shows that it's not slowing down.

So-called bleisure trips rose 46pc among European business travellers last year, according to travel and expense management giant SAP Concur.

It's defined as a trip that involves a Saturday night stay associated with a business trip in a foreign city, and is being driven, as with much of the changes in travel, by an ever-younger business traveller.

Globally, millennials now account for 38pc of bleisure trips, with Generation X and Baby Boomer workers lagging behind at 31pc each.

And the leisure perk varies from region to region - 44pc of travellers from the Asian-Pacific area enjoyed a Saturday night away, compared to just over a quarter (27pc) of Europeans and a mere 19pc of those industrious folk in the US. 

The millennial effect can be seen with how trips are being booked, with upward growth in the disruptive platform economy, notably Airbnb.

Seventy per cent of corporates staying in an Airbnb property hang on for a Saturday night sleepover to enjoy the sights, compared to just 10pc housed in hotels.

"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," said SAP Concur's MD of UK Enterprise, Emma Maslen.

The data reveals that employees in the manufacturing, technology and pharma sectors are increasingly likely to take more leisure time abroad, and it's also becoming popular even with more cash-conscious SMEs globally.

Where Europeans want to stay over is also revealed - Israel's tech capital of Tel Aviv is the top choice, followed by London, Paris, Dubai and Frankfurt.

Blame it on hotel prices perhaps, but Dublin doesn't make the list of must-stay foreign spots for European travellers.

While Maslen argues that "employees feel more job satisfaction, leading to higher productivity and talent retention", there is a note of caution.

Companies - and employees - need to know where the line is being drawn, and who pays for what, and whether leisure is even allowed under company travel policies and insurance.

It's an important subject, if the trend of leisure continues, in light of a recent study by travel management company CWT revealing that four in 10 executives admitted using a company credit card for personal spending while away.


On a related note, it's worthwhile for employers to take their staff's needs into account, especially if they're the kind of road warriors who spent considerable amounts of time abroad.

Latest data from the Airline Reporting Corporation and consultants tClara found that employers run the risk of losing staff due to burnout - a serious issue in a tight labour market.

The report warns that "those who spent at least 35 nights away from home and took at least four trips by airplane in the last 12 months say there is a 24pc chance that they will voluntarily leave their employer in the next two years".

The biggest demand from the well-travelled is business-class seating on flights longer than six hours and fewer inroads into their personal time for travel.

The report also noted that almost half of staff hoped to travel much less in the next two years.

So it's a message of quality over quantity, with other demands including better-located (and quality) hotels, appreciation of efforts by management and less emphasis on cost and skimping on expenditure.


Changes to Lufthansa's schedule at Dublin airport will be of benefit to Irish travellers.

From March 31, the German carrier is adding add a third daily service on its Dublin to Munich route, a rise from 13 to 19 flights per week

The airline said that "Dublin is a key destination within the Lufthansa network", and it has more than doubled services from Dublin to its hubs in Frankfurt and Munich in the last four years.

Aside from point-to-point flights, the new service, leaving Dublin at 6.15am, offers more long-haul connections from Lufthansa's second-biggest hub, notably to the Australasia region, Africa and South America.

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