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‘Bleisure’ boom: Australian business travel almost doubles global average

Based on Corporate Traveller's analysis of flight booking data from October 2023 to March 2024

In defiance of global trends, Australian business travel has surged, nearly doubling the international average with an unprecedented six-night stay.

This revelation comes from Flight Centre’s Corporate Traveller, its latest data exposes a significant shift towards integrating flexible work with travel, propelling Australia’s business travel spending forecast to new heights.

Corporate Traveller’s analysis of flight booking data from October 2023 to March 2024 uncovered a remarkable increase in the average bleisure stay length, rising by five percent. 

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Australian business travellers officially spend almost double the global average of nights away on work trips as the new data reveals bleisure travel has reached a new peak of six nights on average. This contrasts sharply with global counterparts, with an average business trip spanning only 3.5 nights.[1]

The Global Business Travel Association further supports this notion, reporting that over six out of 10 travellers now blend business with leisure, compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Additionally, a staggering 79 percent opt to stay at the same accommodation for both work and leisure, showcasing a growing preference for seamless travel experiences.

Australia’s Total Business Travel Spending (BTS) forecast for 2023 reflects this trend, soaring to $23,519 million USD, up from $18,538 million USD in 2022. This not only underscores Australia’s significance in the global business travel industry but also signifies a robust recovery and growth trajectory in business travel spending.

Global Managing Director of Corporate Traveller Tom Walley
Global Managing Director of Corporate Traveller Tom Walley Image: Supplied

Tom Walley, the Australia-based Global Managing Director for FCTG’s Corporate Traveller, says the figures reveal more than just a homegrown love of travel, but the growing flexible working trend that accommodates bleisure feasibility.
“Prior to the pandemic, mixing business with pleasure while away for work was a real luxury and not necessarily the done thing, but that has all changed in the last couple of years. Corporates have now realised that extending trips for themselves or having their family come along to join them after a trip has ended is a great way to build upon health and wellness in the workplace,” Mr Walley said.
“Given we’ve witnessed an increase of five percent in the average business trip length in Australia, it’s clear a rise in bleisure travel is behind it, and our ability to work remotely and capitalise on extending trips – especially for meetings, events, and conferences – play a big role in this.”  

Corporate Traveller’s insights reveal that education professionals are at the forefront of this trend domestically, with sectors like utilities, construction, and transportation also showing a strong inclination towards bleisure. Conversely, industries such as real estate, retail, and finance are less likely to blend work trips with leisure time.

Mr Walley also suggests that cost of living pressures could also be behind Australian business travellers embracing bleisure trips as it offers a cost-effective way to enjoy a destination while saving on expenses. Organisations are also benefiting from this trend as it is leads to higher employee productivity, satisfaction, and retention – without additional costs to the company[2].

He added: “This data also delivers a valuable insight into Australian business travel trends, providing organisations an opportunity to cater to the evolving needs of their employee’s business travel requirements. The bleisure travel trend isn’t going anywhere, and given the growth we’ve recorded, it’s clear we need to ensure we’re continuing to meet that demand.”

Photo by Max Harlynking on Unsplash

With the bleisure travel trend showing no signs of abating, Corporate Traveller emphasises the importance of catering to evolving employee travel needs. Through their comprehensive online Business Support Hub and travel event series, Unpacked, Corporate Traveller equips businesses with the insights and resources needed to adapt to this evolving landscape.

[1] GBTA Beyond Rebound: Charting the next course for global business travel. March 2024

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