New working arrangements and work-life balance increasing length of domestic business trips

20 November, 2023

New research from Corporate Traveller, the SME division of Flight Centre Travel Group, has found that Australian business travellers are increasing the length of domestic trips.

New data reveals growth in bleisure travel, driven by hybrid and flexible working arrangements and the need for work-life balance. Conversely, short trips saw negative growth this year.

Corporate Traveller analysed the percentage increase in its same-day and one-to-six-day flight bookings from 1-May-2023 to 31-Oct- 2023 compared year-on-year to gauge any length-of-stay trends. It found short-stay trips dropped by an average of 3.9% this year, while longer trips increased by an average of 4.6%.

Specifically, there was negative growth in same-day, two-day and three-day trips this year, at -2.3%, -1%, and -8.4% respectively.

From there, the trend in negative growth saw a marked turnaround, with a consistent increase in bookings for trips longer than three days.

Corporate Traveller saw a 3.8% growth in four-day trips, a 4.2% growth in five-day trips, and a 5.8% growth in six-day trips.

Length of Stay for business traveller domestic trips

Length of stay

% increase from 1 May–31 October 2023 YoY

Same-day return

-2.3

2 days

-1

3 days

-8.4

4 days 

3.8

5 days 

4.2

6 days 

5.8

Shift to longer business trips influenced, in part, by changing work patterns

The company’s Australia-based Global Managing Director, Tom Walley, points to changing attitudes and working arrangements driving the growth in longer trips.

“The shift to longer business trips is influenced, in part, by changing work patterns. Many executives in hybrid and flexible working arrangements can base themselves anywhere on their remote working days and remain productive,” he explains.

This flexibility, he adds “is encouraging business travellers to take extended stays, which then gives them freedom outside of working hours to add on leisure activities in a new destination”.

Increase in bleisure travel as short breaks merge with work trips

Such flexible working arrangements have also created greater awareness of the need for work-life balance.

“At Corporate Traveller, we have observed an increase in bleisure travel, whereby travellers weave short breaks into work trips. Our data shows increases in trips of four days or more, which suggests many travellers are opting for a ‘long weekend’ or ‘week away’ approach to their trips,” says Mr Walley.

Aside from extra accommodation, extending a corporate trip generally has no impact on the cost of flights as they are already booked.

“In fact, there can be perks to extending a trip, such as discounted rates or cheaper return flight dates,” notes Mr Walley.

Some organisations, he notes, are also realising that enabling staff to combine business with leisure “has a positive impact on staff morale which, in return, positively impacts business success.”

Travel industry must better understand shifting preferences of business travellers

Understanding the shifting preferences of business travellers “is essential,” says Mr Walley, for the travel industry to adapt and cater to the evolving needs of travellers across different trip lengths.

“The growth in bleisure travel this year reflects a changing mindset among travellers that will continue shaping the industry and its offerings to meet that growth in demand,” he adds.