New research commissioned by Booking.com for Business shows how people’s professions shape their outlooks towards business and leisure travel and the increasing intersection of the two. The independently conducted study surveyed more 17,000 working professionals who have traveled internationally in the last 12 months. The sample of professionals spanned 24 countries and more than 20 industries and the results identified common trends and variations by profession.
Almost a third (30 percent) of all working professionals accepted their job fully or in part because of the business travel opportunities it offered, highlighting the lure of business travel for employees. When looking into specific professions, this sentiment is echoed most by architects and designers (45 percent) and management consultants (38 percent).
In addition, more than a third (38 percent) of respondents say they would actively pursue a new job if it meant they could travel even more for business. This figure rises to 46 percent among 18-34 year olds, and similarly, architects and designers (48 percent) and management consultants (43 percent). The statistics suggest that employers looking to attract and retain the best talent should consider travel as an intrinsic part of the job package they offer.
“Having opportunities to travel for business is increasingly prized by working professionals, led by the millennial generation,” says Ripsy Bandourian, senior director of product development at Booking.com for Business. “More than ever, business travelers want to maximize their time spent in a business destination for both work and leisure.”
Combining business with leisure—or bleisure—differs across professions. A third of professionals (32 percent) feel their work and leisure time is very intertwined, in particular those in agriculture and farming (43 percent), architecture and design (43 percent), and management consultancy (42 percent). It’s no surprise then that, regardless of industry, professionals try to make the most of a destination when traveling for business. Two thirds (69 percent) extend a business trip by a few hours or days to enjoy the city, while three quarters (73 percent) make time for leisure activities within a trip. Overall, 45 percent of professionals value this ability to blend business travel with leisure over traditional workplace benefits.
What drives professionals to combine a business trip with leisure? The top two factors are based on the destination itself—62 percent want to explore a city they haven’t visited before, and 39 percent want to spend more time in a favorite location. For those who extend business trips for leisure time, the majority do so by 24 hours (41 percent), followed by two to three days (29 percent), and a few hours (24 percent).
In terms of how people spend this off-the-clock time, the results paint a picture of today’s modern traveling professional. While more conventional activities, such as exploring well-known attractions (57 percent), trying local cuisine or dining at top restaurants (42 percent, and shopping (40 percent), emerged as the top three activities overall, there are interesting variations across professions. Experiencing local art and culture is among the top three activities for those in architecture and design (45 percent), management consultancy (43 percent), and education (42 percent). Construction and engineering (26 percent), communications and media (26 percent), charity and NGO (25 percent), and legal (25 percent) professionals are more likely than others to spend time with colleagues or clients outside of work. Social and welfare (22 percent), Armed Forces (22 percent), and agriculture and farming (21 percent) professionals are more likely to sleep or rest during their leisure time.
Professional Preferences Mirror Leisure Travel Choices
When looking across all professions, 70 percent of employees say making time for leisure travel gives them greater job satisfaction. What’s more, for the majority (75 percent), leisure travel helps them to better manage work stress and pressure.
In looking at preferred holiday types, several trends emerged across professionals. In terms of the most preferred accommodation for a holiday stay, a place with “local charm” is among the top three choices for all professionals (23 percent), in addition to mid-market options (31 percent) and places with all-inclusive deals (23 percent).
The research revealed variations within select professions as well. When considering what drives holiday accommodation choice, location is key across all professions, with 43 percent wanting to be close to local attractions, followed by comfort (34 percent) and fast and complimentary WiFi (31 percent). Having a strong start to the day is also essential, with the top prioritized accommodation amenities across professions being a comfortable bed (62 percent) and a hearty breakfast (42 percent).