In this context of change, a new trend has emerged, known asbleisure hotels , which basically affects urban hotels. The stability that urban hotels used to enjoy is now a thing of the past. We are no longer strictly differentiating between a business customer and an urban tourist. In addition to the fact that urban getaways have increased dramatically (tourists are no longer just looking for sun and beach vacations), there is also this fusion between these two types of travelers. Now the separation is not so clear.
The business traveler no longer wants to just stay at the hotel and attend meetings. Now he wants to take advantage of his little free time to practice sports, visit the city or enjoy the typical local gastronomy. And even more and more of these clients are extending their stay for a few days in order to make the most of the leisure activities in the city they have visited. Just from this new habit has appeared the variant of bleisure hotel, which is nothing more than a hotel where business and leisure come together.
Urban hotels, adapting to new trends
According to data published in Hosteltur, 67% of business travelers take time off during their business trips, and 58% extend their stay to add leisure days to their trip. And how have hotels dealt with these changes? Creating programs specially designed for this new demand.
Some hotels, such as the exclusive InterContinental Madrid, have even created apps through which their guests can discover the secrets of the city.
The case of the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques hotel
It seems that Barcelona and Madrid are our two major cities that will be able to take advantage of this new travel trend. We chose the Gran Melià Palacio de los Duques hotel in Madrid to see how they work with this type of bleisure travelers and learn about their success story.
Needless to say, this hotel has been able to maximize its resources to meet this new demand. Beyond the Gran Melià Palacio de los Duques hotel, the hotel chain already has many other urban hotels already adapted to the new trend. According to their blog, 75% of their urban hotels in Asia-Pacific are already belisure, and in the Americas this percentage is 45%.
In this same blog article, there is a quote from María Zarraluqui, Vice President Development at Melià Hotels International, in which she explains how adapting to this new tourist has helped them to increase the average length of stay and also the average rate. In addition, the gap between midweek and weekend occupancy has narrowed as a result of these changes:
“Our experience is tremendously satisfactory, and the data show an extension of the average length of stay in bleisure hotels, a and average tariffs, with a reduction in the number of customers, and a gap existing between Monday through Friday and weekend occupancy.”
Specifically, at the Gran Melià Palacio de los Duques, the chain has opted to promote the cultural tourism. Therefore, it offers exclusive visits for these guests such as, for example, a guided tour of the backstage of the Royal Theater or a private visit to the Prado Museum or the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum before its opening to the public.
There are more actions offered by this hotel, but with these examples it is clear how special these travelers must feel. Who wouldn’t want to be treated like that?
What is the bleisure tourist looking for?
According to a study conducted by the Premium Market and Prestige Products Observatory of IE, shopping is one of the preferred activities for this type of tourist, who tends to do it in the city rather than at the airport.
On the other hand, gastronomy is a factor to be promoted even within the hotels for this type of tourists. Once again, the InterContinental Madrid hotel stands out in this regard, offering its guests exclusive experiences for their palate as well. For example, it offers a special brunch for this type of tourist on Sundays. It also creates menus designed exclusively for them, among other actions.
The Only You Atocha hotel focuses its added value on sports. That’s why it offers personal trainers to guests staying at its hotel on business.
As we have seen, some hotels even treat their business guests exclusively. In this way, they offer them a plus, a valuable contribution to make them want to extend their stay. They know they will not be just another tourist, as they are bleisure travelers.