“As a destination that relies strongly on tourism, we’re very excited to see a growing trend in bleisure travel. Puerto Rico is already a prime destination for hosting Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events, and we want to encourage travelers to not only bring their business to the island, but also take this as an opportunity to extend their trip and explore everything the island has to offer, including our recently revamped luxury portfolio,” says Brad Dean, CEO of Discover Puerto Rico.
“Ker & Downey has also seen a rise in bleisure travel…especially over the last two years,” says the company’s president and CEO David Marek. “Guests have requested to add leisure time to business travel in a number of destinations around the world—London, Paris, South Africa, Nairobi, Cairo, Buenos Aires, Rio, Sao Paolo, and Asia. The average extension for a Ker & Downey guest is six to 10 nights, and it is an even mix of solo travel and trips with a spouse/companion. Some companions have overlapped their trip with their partner, doing solo day tours while their partner conducts business meetings…then they get out of the city together.”
When booking clients on a business trip, Scott Faust, vacation & travel specialist at Destinations 24/7 Travel Services, says, “…it’s a question I ask—’Is anyone else is coming with you?’ Then a light bulb goes off and they ask, ‘How much extra is it for someone to come with me?’ From there, I try to extend their trip…Orlando, Vegas, and Cancun. Vegas is my biggest.”
Examples of some of the bleisure extensions Ker & Downey has arranged are day trips from London to Stonehenge and Bath, plus multi-night extensions to the Cotswolds or the Scottish Highlands. In South Africa, a safari extension from Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban; or in Buenos Aires, a trip south to explore the glaciers in Los Glaciares National Park, or an extension to Salta and Mendoza to experience the winelands.
InsideJapan Tours’ business development manager John McMillen notes that decompressing and connecting with the local culture are both important bleisure trends. The tour operator’s Kyoto City & Country Exclusive Private Journey takes guests to Kyoto with a guide as they explore the city and rural areas. In the city, guests will stay at a luxury hotel, and while in the small village of Miyama, they’ll stay in a traditional inn with four guestrooms tucked away amid the cedar forest with no TV or WiFi, which will help them decompress after a work trip. On this itinerary, guests will meditate under the tutelage of a head priest, visit Ohara and Miyama, take in a private geisha show, and meet locals.
Many of Puerto Rico’s luxury resorts, as Dean notes, have been revamped after Hurricane Maria, offering business travelers extended stays—at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, or the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, where they can unwind at either Spa Botanico or Remede Spa, respectively. Other options for relaxing after work meetings are a sunset sail around San Juan Bay while taking in views of Old San Juan; enjoying cuisine in Old San Juan while learning about the city’s history and culture; or a guided tour of Ron del Barrilito as they learn about and taste the local rum.
For clients staying at a Four Seasons property, they can enjoy the brand’s new Take Your Time global initiative offering guests curated Daily Discoveries, property experiences that encourage travelers to immerse themselves in a destination. They range from 1-day, 1-hour, or 1-minute excursions ranging from safaris on land and sea to tasting local foods. For example, on the Take Your Time in 1 Minute: Moments of Pure Joy option guests can interact with a rescue bird and resident aviarist at the Four Seasons Lanai in Hawaii, or in Thailand make an offering to temple monks in exchange for heartfelt blessings in an ancient Buddhist ritual at the Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai.
At several Corinthia Hotels, guests can opt for short excursions to fill their in-between and post-business meeting gaps—many of the options offered are a short walk from the hotels. In Malta, at the Corinthia Palace and St. George’s Bay properties, for example, guests can opt for a short cruise around the Grand Harbour, or a visit to the ancient Mnajdra and Hagar Qim temples. At the Corinthia Hotel Budapest, guests can choose to go on a sightseeing boat trip from the Danube River, or unwind with a soak in an outdoor thermal bath.
Corinthia Hotels: corinthia.com
Discover Puerto Rico: discoverpuertorico.com
Four Seasons: fourseasons.com
InsideJapan Tours: insidejapantours.com
Ker & Downey: kerdowney.com