Skift Take

Travel companies will be faced with a slew of new opportunities to innovate and design products and services that make business travel more seamless, more productive and more inspiring.

Last month we launched our first ever magazine, “Megatrends Defining Travel in 2015“, where we identify the global trends in travel in 2015 and beyond, and focus on three emerging key themes: Mobile. Seamless. Experiential. Below is an extract from a trend by our magazine partner and sponsor Virgin Atlantic.

The line between business and leisure is well past blurred. The “Bleisure” trend has created a new breed of sky warriors whose expectations and behaviors have shifted towards a culture that combines productivity, opportunity, and new experiences. Business travel is quickly emerging as a lifestyle.

We’re entering the age of the new business traveler. Workers are realizing that travel yields a huge opportunity to positively impact their careers and their lives. Travel time between destinations, in the air, and at the hotel, is no longer lost business hours, but an opportunity to expand horizons. Tech advancements and time-saving amenities like e-boarding passes, in-flight WiFi, and mobile hotel check-in apps are enabling business travelers to be more efficient and use the time saved more effectively.

According to a survey by Virgin Atlantic, more than half of travelers enjoy arriving at the airport up to an hour early as more services are being created to help travelers make every moment count. Free WiFi and iPad docking stations make it easy for travelers to get work done pre-trip or research their destination. Airport lounges are providing quiet spaces and the tools to work, not to mention extras like complimentary salon services to help them look their best on the way to a big meeting and cocktail bars to toast achievements on the return journey.

Screen Shot 2015-01-18 at 11.19.19 AM

The new business traveler is used to always being on — and not just in the traditional connected sense. Even on the go, the new business traveler remains open to making new connections. They see travel as an opportunity to network, find inspiration, and close business deals on the fly — quite literally — one in five people have done business with someone they met on a plane ride. Travel brands are providing new ways for travelers to meet and interact in flight to create more of these opportunities. For Virgin Atlantic, that means built in ottomans that double as a seat for colleagues and new acquaintances to chat.

Onboard bars are doubling as meeting places and social areas. Hotels, on the other hand, are experimenting with new co-working lounge spaces and developing apps that let business travelers book meeting spaces on-demand and on the go.

They new business traveler isn’t all work and no play. They may be increasingly more productive, but they are also putting more time aside to immerse themselves in their travel destinations. They’re experience seekers who use business travel as an excuse to explore something new and expand their horizons.

Sixty five percent extend trips to check out a new country, and more than half of business travelers bring a family member or significant other with them.

According to the Bleisure Report, a report which examined the intersection of business and leisure, nearly half of business travelers add personal days to “every trip” or “most trips.” Eighty percent of business travelers are in favor of mixing more leisure into trips, while only 25% claim they don’t have enough time to.

The amount of travelers subscribing to the new business travel lifestyle will continue to grow. Six out of ten respondents are more likely to mix business and pleasure on trips than they were five years ago and 61% of business travelers claim they have the best job in the world, largely due to the travel culture integrated with the position. Travel companies will be faced with a slew of new opportunities to innovate and design products and services that make business travel more seamless, more productive and more inspiring.

Download (PDF, 1.05MB)

We want to thanks our magazine sponsors Virgin Atlantic, Amadeus and Egencia for making this possible.

Tags: business travel, megatrends 2015, virgin atlantic