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, with almost a third 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 of female business travellers, with almost a third enjoying the luxury of staying in a hotel. Having access to a pool or gym is greatly valued by more than one fifth of women and getting away from the family was deemed the best thing about business travel for more than one in ten.
The needs of business travellers are evolving as they want to enjoy their time away in addition to getting the job done.
Ian Taylor, Commercial Director at Marketing Birmingham, the city’s strategic marketing partnership which operates Visit Birmingham, said: “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 look for good restaurants and bars nearby and almost a fifth prioritise being close to good shops.
More than a quarter of female business travellers say poor accommodation is the worst part of travelling with work.
Michael Mason, Chairman of the Midlands Association of Restaurants, Caterers, Hotels & Entertainment (MARCHE), said: “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.”
Two thirds of younger business travellers (those 24 years old and under) most look forward to the opportunity to explore new places 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 added: “With almost half 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.”
Top 10 benefits of a ‘business break’
1. Seeing a new town or city
2. Meeting face-to-face with contacts
3. Staying in a hotel
4. Being able to concentrate fully on work
5. Eating out at restaurants
6. Getting away from colleagues in the office
7. Working while travelling on trains or planes
8. Getting away from the family
9. Getting access to a pool or gym
10. Getting a good night’s sleep away from partner and children
For more information on Visit Birmingham please visit www.visitbirmingham.com.