Reflections on hypermobility: A study of business travelers during the COVID-19 pandemic

Orit Unger, Natan Uriely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The temporary cessation of air travel imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic provided business travelers with an opportunity to mentally “zoom out” and reflect on their suspended hypermobile lifestyle. The present study used these circumstances to reexamine three key issues in the literature pre-pandemic: (a) the costs and benefits of a hypermobile lifestyle; (b) the justification of business trips given the option of online meetings; and (c) the role of tourism in shaping the business trip experience. An interpretive analysis of in-depth interviews with grounded business travelers conducted at the height of the pandemic revealed that the lack of frequent travel improved work-life balance but evoked a longing for tourism-related experiences, such as change, novelty, and pleasure. Grounded business travelers also proclaimed that the lack of physical proximity to colleagues caused by the suspension of travel was followed by difficulties in generating new business relationships and nurturing creativity at work. The study presented the costs and benefits of immobility as a reverse image of hypermobility, reinforcing the notion of hypermobility as a stressful but exciting lifestyle. It showed that physical proximity with colleagues cannot be fully replaced by online meetings, supporting the opinion that stresses the need for business trips. By suggesting that tourism-related experiences serve as anchor points for the reconstruction of memories and longing in the minds of grounded business travelers, the study confirmed that tourism-related experiences are important components of business trips.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalTourism and Hospitality Research
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2023

Keywords

  • Bleisure
  • Business travelers
  • COVID-19
  • hypermobility
  • online meetings

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

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