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Business trips provide a welcome opportunity for business travellers to enjoy some leisure time away from the pressures of the office and family life, according to a survey of more than 1,000 employees who travel as part of their job.
The research commissioned by Visit Birmingham, the city’s official leisure tourism programme, has shown that while workers relish the business benefits of working away from home, the personal advantages are rated as equally important. Female workers enjoy travelling for business more than men (79%), with almost a third (30%) saying their business travel has increased over the last two years.
Being able to see a new town or city was ranked as the top attraction by more than half (51%) of female business travellers, with almost a third (29%) enjoying the luxury of staying in a hotel. Having access to a pool or gym is greatly valued by more than one fifth (21%) of women and getting away from the family was deemed the best thing about business travel for more than one in ten (11%).
Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, the city’s strategic marketing partnership which operates Visit Birmingham, explained: “We undertook this research to gain further understanding of how business travellers are spending their time away from home. It is interesting to see many of them are embracing their business travels as an opportunity to experience a new place and enjoy some leisure time. This is something we have recognised in Birmingham and are focused on ensuring the region’s offer for today’s business travellers is as strong as possible, from a broad range of hotels through to easy access to shops, bars and restaurants and high quality spa facilities.”
Accessing leisure benefits is a concern for female business travellers when booking their accommodation. More than a third (35%) look for good restaurants and bars nearby and almost a fifth (19%) prioritise being close to good shops. More than a quarter of female business travellers (27%) say poor accommodation is the worst part of travelling with work.
Michael Mason, Chairman of the Midlands Association of Restaurants, Caterers, Hotels & Entertainment (MARCHE), commented: “The needs of business travellers are evolving as they want to enjoy their time away in addition to getting the job done. Hotels need to provide a suitable leisure offering as well as optimum working conditions, allowing business travellers to work effectively whilst also enjoying the break.”
Younger business travellers (those 24 years old and under) most look forward to the opportunity to explore new places (66%) and are generally focused on different priorities to older travellers, with good internet connectivity being a must along with a good location for exploring. Whereas for their older colleagues, it is all about a good night’s sleep.
Ian Taylor added: “With almost half (49%) of business travellers keen to explore and an increasing trend in this direction among younger workers, it’s clear business trips are not taken in isolation. The UK’s leisure and tourism sector should ensure it is fully geared up to make the most of the opportunity provided by those seeking a new breed of business break.”