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The travel industry is undergoing a revolution – and one of the biggest trends to emerge in recent years is that of bleisure travel. Bleisure combines business trips with leisure activities, allowing travellers to make the most out of their time away from home. In addition, bleisure travel allows people to extend their business trips by adding on days or even weeks of vacation time.
According to research conducted by BCD Travel, nearly 70% of business travellers are interested in adding leisure activities onto their trips, while 40% have already done so. With more companies encouraging employees to take advantage of this trend, now is an ideal time for businesses across all sectors to develop strategies for catering to these bleisure customers.
What is Bleisure and Who is the Target Audience?
Bleisure travel refers to combining business trips with leisure activities. bleisure travellers are usually business professionals who have extended their stay on a work-related trip to explore the culture, cuisine, and sights of the destination they’re visiting. These travellers are typically young (aged 18-34), educated (graduates or post-grads), tech-savvy, well-travelled, and affluent. They often come from Western countries such as the United States, Australia, Canada, Germany, and the UK.
How to Adapt Your Offering for bleisure travelers?
The key to tapping into this market segment is to focus on offering experiences that appeal to business travellers. It is not the same as talking to a leisure traveller entirely or to a family booker, and therefore, you should focus on preparing an attractive offering for them.This could mean providing amenities such as:
- Airport transfers
- Flexible check-in/check-out times
- High-quality Wi-Fi (it is not enough with free wifi, it needs to be as stable as possible)
- Mobile apps that allow guests to book services or activities during their stay.
- On-site leisure facilities such as a fitness centre or pool.
- In-room workspaces
- Meeting rooms
- Mobile keys
Furthermore, providing discounts for longer stays can be an effective way of appealing to this market segment – research conducted by BCD Travel found that nearly 40% of business travellers are willing to extend their trips if there is an attractive offer available. Additionally, offering discounted tickets for local attractions can help bring in more bleisure customers who wish to make the most of their extended trip.
In terms of marketing efforts, hospitality brands should consider using social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter as well as email campaigns in order to reach out directly to potential bleisure travellers. As highlighted by a recent survey conducted by EyeforTravel, 79% of people in the 18-34 age bracket use online channels when making travel decisions – so effective digital strategies are essential when targeting this demographic.
Bleisure travellers require special strategies to reach out to them. As a hotelier, you must first understand what bleisure is and who the target audience is in order to create an effective marketing strategy.
Use your guest data as a starting point
Use your guest data to understand where are these travellers coming from. Look for the type of reservations and extended stays to understand if you are already receiving bleisure travellers. This could be a good starting point to prepare your offering since it is already happening. If you are not receiving any bleisure travellers at the moment, you will have to make certain assumptions that match the target but don’t worry, you can always iterate based on the results.
Create tailored experiences
Typically, bleisure travellers are looking for experiences that will make their travels memorable and enriching; not just a place to sleep or a quick meal in between meetings. To reach out to bleisure travellers, it is not enough with knowing that you offer the right facilities or amenities, you also need to communicate it and create an appealing offer. You must offer unique experiences tailored to their age group. Focus on developing activities that are interactive and educational, such as visits to cultural sites or engaging workshops hosted by local experts.
Leverage social media & technology
Utilise digital tools like social media platforms or influencers to create excitement around your offerings. Incorporating technology into your services can also help make it easier for travellers to book reservations online or find information about local attractions. Make sure that all of your marketing materials feature vibrant images that capture the energy of the destination you’re promoting.
Remember, in order for businesses to truly capitalise on this trend, they need to be able to curate experiences that blend work and play seamlessly together. Some businesses may even want to partner with other brands in the area in order to provide more diverse offerings for their customers.
Catering to the bleisure market can bring numerous benefits to hoteliers:
1. Higher income and occupancy rates:
Bleisure travellers tend to stay for a longer period of time which leads to increased revenue and occupancy rates for the hotel. Additionally, since many bleisure travellers are often high-earners, they typically spend more on luxury amenities such as spa treatments, fine dining experiences, and even upgraded rooms.
2. A more diverse portfolio:
By providing services that appeal to both business and leisure travellers allows hoteliers to diversify their portfolio and tap into multiple markets at once. This allows them to take advantage of different customer segments while also gaining a competitive edge over other hotels in their area.
3. Stronger word of mouth:
Your focus on providing memorable experiences for these customers could also help boost brand loyalty and word-of-mouth referrals from satisfied guests.
4. Increased guest loyalty:
Catering to the bleisure market helps hoteliers build customer loyalty by delivering experiences that are tailored specifically for their target audience. By understanding the unique needs of these customers – such as flexible check-in/check-out times or free Wi-Fi – hoteliers can create memorable experiences that will entice them to return in the future.
5. A more agile business:
You will have greater flexibility in terms of being able to accommodate last-minute bookings or changes due to business travel plans – meaning that your business can remain agile even during times of uncertainty and when demand is unpredictable.
The bleisure trend is a growing phenomenon that businesses in all sectors should capitalise on in order to remain competitive.
Strategies such as using social media platforms, offering discounts for longer stays, and curating experiences tailored to bleisure travellers can help hoteliers reach out directly to their target audience.
By catering to the needs of this market segment, hotels are able to tap into an influx of customers while simultaneously boosting brand loyalty and increasing revenue.
Overall, it’s clear that catering to the growing trend of bleisure travel provides numerous benefits for hoteliers looking to increase their customer base and cultivate loyalty among existing guests. With some creativity and savvy marketing strategies, you can create unique experiences that will make your hotel stand out from the competition and attract an influx of new visitors.
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