Tapping the Bleisure Travel Trend in Meetings and Events
Blending the terms “business” and “leisure,” bleisure means exactly what it sounds like: a combination of business and leisure travel in one trip. While it’s not a new term, it has been gaining more popularity within the meetings industry in recent years.
Bleisure travel is most often associated with the addition of a day or two of vacation time during a business trip. However, with the growing desire of experiential events, meeting planners are looking to develop a program that combines business and leisure activities along with components that highlight a destination as well.
A study conducted by Expedia Group Media Solutions revealed that the number of U.S. Business trips featuring leisure elements rose almost 20 percent over the past few years. The top factor meeting planners look for when hoping to create a bleisure agenda is the destination. Siting reasons such as, convenience, easy to navigate, and a must visit, or bucket-list destination. It’s no surprise that location plays a big role in bleisure travel. The more opportunities there are for groups to experience the local vibe of an area, the easier it will be for meeting planners to create a fluid agenda with both business and leisure.
The goal is to create experiences that enhance productivity and creativity during the program but also tap into the history, fun and social aspects that travel presents.
Every destination has offerings that are unique to the area. Incorporating these experiences enable planners to add bleisure to their programs and give attendees the chance to enjoy the appeal of an area.
A bleisure checklist for meeting planners
Both Expedia Group Media Solutions and meeting planners have identified the following items as must haves when booking a bleisure destination:
- Navigation – Is the destination easy to get to? Newport Beach, CA easily checks this box as it’s served my three major airports with several direct flights daily.
- Beaches – Are there accessible, clean swimming beaches nearby? With 10 miles of beaches stretching along the Pacific coastline, Newport Beach answers the call for clean beaches.
- Attractions – Are there nearby attractions, such as Disneyland, which just happens to be 20 minutes from Newport Beach hotels.
- Local Events – Are there seasonal or ongoing local events attendees would enjoy? For example, groups heading to Newport Beach can enjoy whale-watching December through May, the Newport Beach Film Festival in April and the summer concert series July through September.
- Weather– Does the destination have mild temperatures year-round; are some months better than others to travel to the destination? Luckily for groups considering a west coast meeting, Newport Beach, CA’s mild year-round climate, makes this casually chic destination delightful any time of the year.
- Food and restaurants – Are there a variety of restaurant options and are there choices within walking distance to the hotel? Newport Beach is a foodie’s paradise with a wide variety of offerings from farm-fresh to locally sourced, taverns to trattorias, many within walking distance to group hotels.
- Natural sightseeing – Are there any natural sites worth viewing such as beaches, trails, waterways? Did we already mention whale watching? Additionally, there is an abundance of hiking and biking trails, ocean bluffs, an ecological reserve and numerous beaches to explore.
- Historical sightseeing – Does the area have a rich history guest can explore? Over the years Newport Beach became a haven for Hollywood’s A-list hoping to escape the limelight. The Balboa Pavilion, which ushered in the Big Band era with prominent bands such as Count Basie, Benny Goodman and the Dorsey Brothers is a local landmark as is John Wayne’s once private yacht, “Wild Goose”. Add to that the fact that Newport Beach has served as the backdrop for numerous television and films over the years and you have plenty of historical sites worth visiting.
Integrating business with leisure
While business is still the primary focus of meetings and events, integrating business with pleasure is a sure way to create an experiential program and increase overall guest enjoyment.
When you’re ready to begin planning your next bleisure program, contact the staff at Visit Newport Beach, the destination marketing organization for Newport Beach, CA. Visit Newport Beach opens the doors to this coastal paradise with destination expertise, customized site visits, strong partnerships and resources that ease the planning process.