Written by: Mar Reguant
Tourism is not only evolving rapidly, but it’s also being customized and adapted to so many styles of tourists that sometimes it is difficult to keep up. Currently we have trips adapted to all types of demographic profiles (with the changing new generations of Millennials or Generation Z), for all budgets and, of course, for any lifestyle.
In this context of changes, it is born a new trend, what we know as bleisure hotels, which mainly affects urban hotels. The stability that urban hotels used to live is already a thing of the past. We are no longer differentiating between a type of business client and an urban tourist. In fact, urban escapades have increased greatly (tourists no longer seeks only sun and beach holiday) and to this we must add the merger between these two types of travellers. Now the separation between both is not so clear.
The business traveller no longer wants to just stay in the hotel and attend meetings. Now he wants to take advantage of his little free time to practice sports, to visit the city or just to enjoy the typical gastronomy of the place. And even more and more these types of guests extend their stay a few days to be able to make the most of the leisure of the city visited. Right from this new habit has appeared the variant of hotel bleisure, which is nothing other than a hotel in which they join business and leisure.
According to data published in Hosteltur, 67% of business travellers take time off during their business trips, and 58% lengthen their stay to add leisure days to their time away. And the hotels, how have they faced these changes? Creating programs specially designed for this new demand.
It seems that Barcelona and Madrid, our two great cities, will be able to take advantage of this new travel trend. We then chose the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques hotel in Madrid to see how they work these types of bleisure travellers and know their case of success.
Needless to say, this hotel has been able to maximize its resources to meet this new demand. Beyond the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques hotel, the 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 related and in America this percentage is 45%.
In the blogpost we are talking about, María Zarraluqui, Vice President Development at Melià Hotels International, explaining how the adaptation to this new tourist has helped them to increase the length of the average stays and also the average rate. In addition, they have reduced the gap between midweek and weekend occupancy thanks to these changes. She said:
“Our experience is remarkably satisfactory, and the data show an extension of the duration of the average stays in the bleisure hotels, an increase of the occupation and the average tariff, also appreciating the reduction of the gap between the occupation from Monday to Friday and weekend.”
Specifically, in the Gran Meliá Palacio de los Duques, the chain has opted to promote cultural tourism. For this reason, it offers exclusive visits for these guests, such as a guided tour to the backstage of the Teatro Real or a private visit to the Prado Museum or the Thyssen Bornemisza Museum before its opening to the public.
This hotel offers more variety of activities, but with these examples it is already clear how special these travellers should feel during their stay. Who wouldn’t love a treatment like such?
According to a study carried out by the Observatory of the Premium Market and Prestige Products of IE, shopping is one of the favourite activities for this type of tourist, who tends to go to the city instead of the airport.
On the other hand, gastronomy is a factor to promote even within hotels for this type of tourists. Again the InterContinental Madrid stands out in this sense offering its clients exclusive experiences as well as regarding its palate. For example, it offers a special brunch for this type of guests on Sundays. It also creates menus designed exclusively for them, among other actions.
For its part, the hotel Only You Atocha focuses its added value on sport activities . Therefore, it offers personal trainers to those guests who stay at their hotel for business.
As we have seen, some hotels even treat their business guests exclusively. In this way, they show them an extra special offering, an added value that makes them want to extend their stay. They know they’re not any type of guest, but a bleisure traveller.