According to a recent report from consultants EHL Insights, ‘The 10 trends that are shaping the hospitality industry in 2022’, one of the top trends for this year is Bleisure travellers (‘business + leisure’). A survey of 88 convention bureaus in 27 European countries by Dr Rob Davidson of MICE Knowledge and Prof. Oliver Kesar of the University of Zagreb scrutinized in how far European convention bureaus are familiar with the concept and how they promote their destinations accordingly.
The survey showed that nearly all of them are familiar with the concept of Bleisure and see its advantages for their destinations. But almost half of the convention bureaus said that they do not know enough about how to persuade business visitors to spend extra days in their cities.
Only 17 of the convention bureaus participating in the survey had done any research on the impacts of Bleisure tourism in their destinations, meaning that most of them have never attempted to measure the economic benefits from conference participants who spend extra days in their destinations. And while 21 of the convention bureaus had run special marketing campaigns to encourage business visitors to prolong their stays, the vast majority had never promoted their destinations in this way.
However, the report ‘European Convention Bureaus’ Strategies to Promote Bleisure’ gives details of many positive actions that are being taken by convention bureaus in all parts of Europe to increase the numbers of conference participants who spend extra time and extra money in their cities. The report gives some outstanding examples of good practice in measuring, promoting, and encouraging Bleisure, from bureaus representing: Belfast, Copenhagen, Florence, Glasgow, Ireland, Ljubljana, and Wrocław.
Rachael McGuickin, Director of Business Development, Sustainability and Transformation, at Visit Belfast, said: “It is clear to us that we need to work harder to get more benefits from the visitors we have. One way to do that is to increase the length of stay and the spending of incoming business visitors. It also makes financial sense for conference participants to turn their business trip into a holiday, saving expenditure on additional flights. And by making their journey by air serve two different purposes, business and leisure, they may reduce the number of flights they take over the year, therefore reducing their footprint on the natural environment”.
The 23-page report, ‘European Convention Bureaus’ Strategies to Promote Bleisure’ is available free to download.