De-de Mulligan is a digital marketer, blogger and President of Mulligan Management Group, a full-service, boutique marketing agency. A former meeting planner who received the MPI Ohio Chapter’s Planner of the Year award in 2006 and 2012, she brings a unique perspective to her blog posts, including for Rentacomputer.com. You can connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.
Does Your Meeting Have Bleisure Potential?
Bleisure is combining business travel with leisure activities. Given the 14 months we have been through, there is a pent-up demand for local and regional business travel. And the family has the same need. Bleisure could be your perfect solution!
According to the Global Business Travel Association, 67% of business travelers state it is essential to build extra free time into their trips.
Working on incorporating leisure time before or after your meeting will help staff relax, improve their morale and provide them with a better understanding of the region they just spent several hours driving to reach.
This post will address why millennials have encouraged such a change and what you can do to ensure that clear guidelines are established before your event begins.
What Millennials Want
According to GBTA, before COVID-19, 43% of Millennials routinely added leisure time into their business trips. There is no reason to believe that will change.
Since they represent the most significant segment of the U.S. demographic market and more Millennials are stepping into leadership roles every day, it only makes sense that hotels and destinations change their marketing focus to encompass the total experience.
Bleisure Guidelines for Employees and Attendees
Before you jump on this initiative, it is vital to think through the potential benefits and repercussions of encouraging bleisure for your next meeting. Here are the top six suggestions for your consideration:
1. Establish company guidelines.
Be clear that expenses incurred before or after the conference are the responsibility of the employee. The hotel rate for leisure days does not fall under the meeting group rate—express, in writing, expenses that are and are not reimbursable. Be sure to review these guidelines at least 30 days before your event starts to ensure no confusion.
2. Travel without technology.
Trying to take anything larger than a tablet on a long trip can be cumbersome, risky and stressful. Make your journey easier by contracting with a trusted computer rental firm to deliver the hardware you need right to your meeting. This also guarantees the equipment arrives in one piece and is ready to go.
3. Find accommodations that can meet both business and leisure needs.
Employees and their families don’t want to move mid-trip, they want to unpack for several days and enjoy their time. Offer hotel rooms that have full kitchens so they can eat in if desired.
4. Encourage attendees to purchase travel insurance.
If the meeting is canceled, attendees don’t necessarily want to feel obligated to go to the destination. Be sure to review the hotel’s force majeure and cancellation clauses and ask the hotel management to include your workforce as part of their umbrella coverage during the employees’ leisure stay.
5. Start your meetings on Monday or end them on Friday.
By doing this, you don’t have to encourage employees or attendees to take extra vacation time, especially if they are new to the company or have limited vacation days left.
6. For those coming early or staying after, provide a list of things to do and see.
Start with the hotel – share their amenities and the days, times and pricing for each offer. Also, find out what is within a 5- or 10-mile car ride of the hotel.
As we move past COVID-19, the pent-up demand to meet face-to-face will start to take off. However, family-friendly destinations will help as long as the venue follows the CDC’s safety and cleaning protocols and offers the activities your employees and their families desire.