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Lesley's Column

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12th December 2016

The impact of mixing business with leisure

The average travel manager and TMCs may be horrified to know that one of the travel trends that has been increasing in popularity over the past few years is the merging of business and leisure travel.

As younger professionals begin travelling for work, they’re increasingly adding a couple of days of leisure travel, but for years business and leisure travel were two very different animals.
Traditionally, people either travelled for work purposes or they took a holiday on their own time, for their own enjoyment.
With the cost of flights and holidays rising it makes sense, from a business traveller’s point of view, to turn a work trip into a leisure break where possible.
However, this creates a headache for travel managers and for the TMCs that oversee the business travel programmes.
It can cause serious problems in terms of compliance with policy and booking processes and can likely increase the cost of service for these trips, as they usually have to be managed via an offline agent rather than an online tool.
The challenge is to understand this growing trend and to take steps to accommodate traveller needs for leisure time in a way that does not impact negatively on business travel budgets and result in out-of-policy travel arrangements.
For employers and for TMCs addressing this challenge is complicated. Although in theory most employers do not have an issue with travellers adding a few days onto a business trip, the impact to data, compliance, risk management and cost is a big issue.
Unless the lines between business and leisure activities are monitored and managed effectively, businesses could find themselves paying extra for staff jaunts, not just financially but also in terms of lost productivity.
Data is important, but the ability to measure the real impact that mixing business and leisure trips is having on the business is key.