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The return of business travel and the rise of flexcation

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After the pandemic brought business travel to a complete halt, the future of business travel has become uncertain. Some have claimed that business travel was dead and that the availability of remote work meant business travel would never return to pre-pandemic levels.

However, as vaccinations became more widespread and travel restrictions eased, business travel began to reappear in 2022 as many companies sought to re-establish human connections, reconnect teams and attend conferences. Today, as we enter 2023, the business travel industry faces new challenges with a looming recession. While the impact is not yet visible, one thing is clear: consumers want to return to business travel.

Business travel begins its big comeback in 2022

According to the US Travel Association Q3 Business Travel Tracker, which surveyed business travelers and corporate executives in September 2022, business travel has nearly caught up to pre-pandemic levels. Most respondents plan to travel for business in the next 6 months, taking an average of 1.8 trips per month, compared to 1.9 before the pandemic.

First-party data from Expedia Group also showed an increase in business travel in the third quarter of 2022, as there was a 10% increase in demand from travelers with a professional profile. This return of business travel has been particularly impactful for large cities. London was one of the top 10 most booked cities for business travelers from APAC (Asia-Pacific), EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) and NORAM (North America), while New York was on the APAC and NORAM traveler list, and Paris was a top destination for travelers from APAC and EMEA.

Business travel planning in 2023

This increased demand for business travel continues to grow. According to our 2023 Traveler Value Index, about one-third (32%) of consumers plan to take a business trip in the next 12 months, including more than 3 in 5 (62%) of remote workers. This is a significant increase from April 2022, when only 16% of consumers said they would be traveling for business in the next 12 months. Not only are consumers considering traveling again for work, but 85% of business travelers said they were excited to travel for work.

50% of Brazilians plan to travel for business in the next 12 months

Consumers from Latin America (LATAM) are the most likely to travel for work, with 50% of Brazilian consumers and 47% of Mexican consumers saying they will be traveling for business in the coming year. On the other hand, Japanese consumers are the most reluctant to travel for business, but this could change as border restrictions continue to ease.

Looking by generation, Millennials and Gen Z are the most likely to travel for work, with 45% of Millennials and 40% of Gen Z planning business trips in the next year.

The return of business travel and the rise of flexcation - Source: Expedia Group Media Solutions
The return of business travel and the rise of flexcation – Source: Expedia Group Media Solutions

As business travel begins to pick up, the reasons for travel are varied. Top reasons for traveling include working with customers (37%), attending industry events (32%), on-site visits (28%) and internal team meetings (26%) .

This return presents a positive commercial impact, with business travelers being at the top of the list of priority targets for travel professionals. According to data from the Traveler Value Index 2023, 51% of travel professionals ranked business travelers in their top three priority targets, the highest percentage of any traveler segment. This high priority is likely due to business travelers filling vacancies for travel suppliers as they travel during the week, while leisure travelers fill weekends.

Alternative business trips

While traditional business travel has always represented a strong opportunity for travel providers, alternative business travel presents a new layer of growth in 2023. Leisure travel, the extension of work travel for leisure , and flexcations, combining remote work and leisure travel, can both add new layers. demand as many companies continue to offer flexible or remote working options.

Bleisure travel returns and grows

Bleisure travel has been a strong opportunity for travel providers for years. Our 2018 Bleisure Travel Report found that 60% of business travelers are extending their work trips for personal trips. Our 2023 Traveler Value Index showed that the likelihood of traveling to bleisure jumped, with 76% of business travelers planning to take a trip to bleisure in the next 12 months. With flexible working becoming normalized, travelers have the flexibility to take more leisure trips and extend them over longer periods as there is less pressure to return to the office.

An example of a destination that has taken advantage of the bleisure opportunity is Visit Chandler, which has worked with us to entice business travelers to Pheonix to extend their stay with a few fun days in nearby Chandler, Arizona. . Using a promotional blog post, business travelers are encouraged to work on their golf swing, experience the desert, check out the exciting restaurants, and even bring the family to enjoy the year round. “pool season.”

The return of business travel and the rise of flexcation - Source: Expedia Group Media Solutions
The return of business travel and the rise of flexcation – Source: Expedia Group Media Solutions

The Flexcation Opportunity

According to a McKinsey & Company report, 35% of American workers can work remotely full-time, which means a large percentage of workers have the flexibility to work from different destinations throughout the week.

Data from the Traveler Value Index shows that 28% of consumers plan to take advantage of flexible working options by taking a flexcation in the next 12 months. For Millennials and Gen Z, flexcations are even more popular. Data shows that 43% of millennials and 38% of Gen Zers are planning a flexcation trip next year. This new layer of demand presents a great opportunity for travel providers to fill their midweek breaks with travelers looking to have time off while working from a new location.

Target the business traveler

In order to effectively target business, bleisure and flexcation travelers, sophisticated targeting via customer segmentation is essential. Plus, we offer multiple advertising solutions to ensure your brand can reach travelers at the right time.

To track the latest traveler trends and behaviors and prepare for an effective 2023, be sure to download the 2023 Traveler Value Index.

Download the report.

About Expedia Group Media Solutions

Expedia Group Media Solutions is a global travel advertising platform that connects marketers to hundreds of millions of travelers across Expedia Group brands. With our exclusive access to over 70 petabytes of Expedia Group traveler search and booking data, we provide advertisers with actionable insights, sophisticated targeting and comprehensive results reporting. Our suite of solutions includes Display, Sponsored Ads, Audience Extension, Cooperative Campaigns, and Custom Creative Campaigns, all designed to meet the goals of our advertising partners and add value to travel buyers on our brand sites around the world. With a consultative approach and over 20 years of travel and media experience, we help our advertising partners inspire, engage and convert travelers for meaningful results. For more information, visit www.advertising.expedia.com.

© 2022 Expedia, Inc., an Expedia Group Company. All rights reserved. Trademarks and logos are the property of their respective owners. CST: 2029030-50

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