Expedia tracks bleisure travelers and finds activities drive decisions

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Expedia Media Solutions, the advertising arm of the technology giant, released a new study on Wednesday that has two distinctive aspects. It focuses on bleisure traveler — a topic that hasn’t been much researched.

It also includes an unusually thorough panel study. It enlisted 128 volunteers who allowed researchers to track all of their online activity across PC, tablet, and mobile during their planning of bleisure trips. A passive bit of software tracked each app and site the volunteers used over a period of time to see which factors influenced a business traveler’s decision to extend a trip for leisure.

A highlight of the study is that activities, attractions, and events have especially strong weight in the minds of travelers when trying to decide if they want to convert a business trip into a bleisure one.

Among the 128 people tracked, event information websites and apps received the most visits prior to booking — even more visits than online travel agencies (OTAs) did, on average.

bleisure event

But OTAs are second-most popular, typically. Of the sample, 52 visited at least one OTA and 26 of those visited more than one OTA.

To get a broader perspective, Luth Research (the consultancy that Expedia Media Solutions hired to conduct the research) surveyed 4,880 travelers who were traveling for business in the next three months of the period being studied.

Event, attraction, and activity information was a vital research source for those trip-planners, in general. The most popular category of interest was “festivals and cultural events” — a topic of interest for 86% of those surveyed. Sporting events were of interest to 76% of those surveyed. Music concerts, 64%.

Becky Wu, senior executive vice president, Lute Research, said travel marketers for destinations with natural bleisure appeal (given a mix of business and leisure assets) should draw the conclusion that they need to play up events in their marketing campaigns.

bleisure cities

You can download the Profile of the American Bleisure Traveler research report from Expedia Media Solutions, here (bit.ly/bleisure-traveler).

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