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Bleisure – a Trend Gaining in Popularity

Bleisure – a Trend Gaining in Popularity

November 9, 2018

If you have to travel for a meeting or business event, why not discover the destination you are visiting at the same time? A growing number of travellers are choosing to do this, either by pushing their return date back or planning more free time during their stay. This is what is popularly called Bleisure, a contraction of the terms business and leisure. Combining business and leisure during travel has become so important a phenomenon over the past several years that actors in the tourism sector have had to adapt and use their creativity to follow the trend. 

If the bleisure trend is not new, it is gaining in popularity. Based on a study by The Global Business Travel Association, almost 40% of North American business travellers prolonged their stay for leisure activities last year1. Also based on this study, the results show that technology is seen by business travellers as a tool that allows them to work remotely, which simplifies travel outside of the office.

Estrimont Suites & Spa is the place to practice bleisure

"Today, with new technologies, we can have meetings via Skype and there have never been as many employees working remotely. This new reality is of course affecting companies, but the need to have meetings and to get together has not declined. Bleisure meets this need for contact between people who share common interests and knowledge," noted Yannick Beaupertuis, co-owner of Estrimont and responsible for Real Estate and Hospitality Services Development with Owl's Head.

With this in mind, if the bleisure trend is more important than ever today, it will continue to predominate over the coming years, considering that all the tools necessary to accomplish tasks outside of the office are now at hand thanks to new technologies. 

Targeting and Retaining Bleisure Clients

In order to target this clientele that is fervent about combining business and leisure, and above all to position ones' self with this popular trend, hotels and destinations have no choice but to use various strategies. Whether offering packages that combine business and leisure, preferential rates for convention participants who would like to prolong their stay or by adapting a strong market position, hotels and destinations have to renew and focus on originality when it comes to developing their position and to stand out for bleisure clients. 

Saguenay, A City, A Fjord 

The Saguenay region is an excellent example of a destination that has adapted its strong marketing position and strategy to clarify its position as a destination that happily combines business and leisure. "For us, our positioning is targeted and very clear – we are One City, One Fjord. So we sell both the city of Saguenay and the fjord, and for us this is important," stated Ingrid Langevin, Business Tourism Coordinator with Promotion Saguenay. "People who come for conventions live an experience in nature because that is what we sell them. So we offer programs of activities that will represent our destination and we promote our attractions."

Certain hotel establishments have created packages combining business and leisure activities. The Baluchon Eco Resort, for example, promotes its exceptional site, waterfalls and the river, and its amenities such as a pool, spa and jacuzzi, and invites business travellers to take full advantage of services offered on site. "Business people who come to the Baluchon will choose the location for the activities offered on site," noted Émilie Gélinas, Marketing Manager at the Baluchon. "So we are 100% a bleisure establishment because almost all business travellers that come here will prolong their stay – there are so many activities offered on the site that it is very interesting for them to stay after an event. We also work in partnership with artisans in the region to offer activities associated with the destination. 

Furthermore, the Baluchon Eco Resort was one of the first hotel establishments in Quebec to offer customised packages for business clients. "People appreciate the all-inclusive formula, which we have offered for about twenty years. For business tourism, our packages can be customised, but often include the meeting room, dinner, access to the spa and installations, a cocktail with appetizers and open bar, a team building event on the site, an outdoor passport, etc.," continued Mrs. Gélinas. 

The Baluchon Éco-Villégiature spa invites relaxation after a meeting

The Charlevoix Tourism Office chose to take the lead in attracting conventions to the region by organising familiarisation tours to have actors in the industry discover the region, but also by offering incentive programs. "We started to organise familiarisation tours to support our partners that wanted to develop the corporate market," explained Félicia Corbeil-L'abbé, Market Projects Officer with Tourisme Charlevoix. "Associative and corporate markets and planners are all targeted by these initiatives. Additionally, we are currently running a pilot project, which is a financial assistance policy for holding business events. This initiative will allow us to financially support members in our region who host conventions." 

Hard to resist the desire to extend your business stay while in Charlevoix © La Base, CATHB 



Working in Concert with Organisers

If it is interesting to discover the region where their event is taking both for the destination and the participants, you can't forget that the priority remains the event. "As a destination, you have to be careful, because convention organisers want to keep people on site and in the convention as much as possible. It is an important clientele for destinations and you have to work in concert with them," explained Ingrid Langevin. "Leisure tourism takes place in the summer, and without business tourism, many hotels would close their doors during the low season. So you have to find a balance between the business and leisure sides and offer activities outside of the convention but while respecting the organisers. Sometimes this means bringing the region to the convention by organising a food fair on site for example. And, once the convention is over, if people choose to remain, as a destination you can propose things for them, but it is a personal choice."

Mr. Beaupertuis continued with this important idea: "Without a doubt, the organisation of a bleisure event must take place in collaboration with the organisers. On the other hand, the popularity of an event will depend a lot on the location, and especially an interesting schedule of events that will motivate registrations. People are increasingly busy, and you have to convince them to travel. The convention has to serve the company, but it also has to be interesting for participants to attend. You don't get people to come to the Eastern Townships to close them up in a meeting room from 8-5, as there are other locations that are better suited for those types of events. It suffices that you choose the location based on your objectives." 

So, if the need to "disconnect to better reconnect" has never been so big and that people in companies, more than ever, have to meet, bleisure seems like a perfect solution to meet this need. Even more so if the location is inspiring and inviting! 

The Words that Matter

If you would like to learn more about business tourism, consult the Vocabulary developed by the Quebec Association of Convention Professionals (QACP), which standardises the terms used, communicates them to is network of qualified organisations and professionals, and contributes to standardising the basic terminology in this business sector. The vocabulary is available at www.congres.com and helps differentiate business from leisure tourism.

***

This text is the second in a series prepared by the QACP, the sectorial tourism association that participates in the growth of business tourism in Quebec by promoting alliances between actors in the field, developing strategic knowledge and creating business opportunities for the industry.

***

Information
Ginette Bardou
General Manager
QACP
Telephone : 1 888 969-1307
info@congres.com

[1] Source: https://www.gbta.org/news-and-advocacy/newsroom/mixing-work-play-new-study-profiles-the-bleisure-traveler


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