Bleisure! The idea of mixing business with pleasure or should I say...LEISURE is the trend of today and the future for the event and meeting world! Meeting and event planners need to be aware of this continued trend as it is gaining more and more traction and popularity in the live event world. So, WHAT IS BLEISURE? In short, it is the idea that we must select "attractive, note-worthy" destinations for events/meetings. Eventgoers are looking for the latest and greatest, most cutting-edge experiences no matter where they go! They are coming early and staying late for the meetings and events they are attending. Pre and post experiences for meetings/events is what they are looking for in their next business trip. Gone are the days of get in and get out of town as fast as possible as most of us do throughout the year.
In a society that is eaten up with instant gratification, the importance of "see what I am doing and where I am doing it" continues to be King! People want to be seen. People want to be seen in unique environments. People want to post pictures and videos so they can gain the most LIKES/LOVES and social media comments possible! And destination is not enough on its own...experiences are where it is at! These attendees want something different....no tours, no boat rides...stretch your mind based on your venue and get creative. Canned experiences that "everyone" can enjoy won't do the trick.
Millennial and Gen X generations want more, and it is up to us to provide it to them. Brand managers, marketing gurus and event professionals are working tirelessly to create the personalized and over-sensitized experiences that will be tweeted, posted and videoed instantly. Do not underestimate the importance that these two generations have in the future of events. They are tech savvy, highly sensitized, personal branding geniuses that are well educated in areas of their choosing and they will one day be running our world, and that day is almost here! These are the people you want at your events as they will hit up every social media outlet possible in an effort to share with the world WHAT THEY ARE DOING AND WHERE THEY ARE DOING IT! They have taken networking to a level that other generations marvel at...maybe not understand or appreciate, but marvel at! So how does this relate to our industry and the events/meetings that we are planning? Well...here are a few ways that this continuing trend will help you to plan your next event!
Selecting a Destination - Don't take this selection lightly. You need to find your PURPOSE! There is a reason/purpose for your meeting/event. There is a purpose for why you want the attendees to come to your event. Whether education, incentive, networking, product launches, etc....your event has a PURPOSE and once you figure that out, you can then begin figuring out which destination works best with your purpose. You will have to do your research, reach out to Event Planners, DMCs, CVBs and those that know their areas. Find out the trending locations for events and meetings and find out WHY they are trending. What is best for your event may not be what was best for your friends’ event last month, even if the location "looked cool" or was brand new. These things are only important if they match the purpose of your program.
Pre and Post Experiences - The attendees are wanting this "bleisure" type experience where they can mix their leisure and business time together for some live action fun! They crave something to kick off their meeting or event experience in a way that is unique and new to them. Offer these off-property experiences at a discounted group rate which will then attract your attendees and raise your registration numbers! These generations are as much about impulse purchases as they are about doing something outrageous and "post-worthy". Post event experiences are also very popular. After a long week of meetings, education, etc give them something to look forward to whether related to your industry or something out of the ordinary. Heighten their experience with something unexpected so it leaves them posting and tweeting non-stop about their experience at your event/meeting!
Personalize the Experience - If you haven't already been a part of this trend, start today! Personalization is key to the bleisure trend. Attendees want not only personalized giveaways, but also personalized experiences. Throughout your event/meeting find ways to personalize the experience with smaller groups, unique touch points, interactive and up-close experiences and exhibits. A good trick that our team uses is to work with the 5 senses. You want your attendees to feel it, smell it, see it, taste it and hear it. when you use all of the 5 senses, it sends a more powerful message and a more memorable one! When you are creating the after-hour experiences and evening events, it is best to find locations and experiences that allow those personalized messages to be enhanced and continued throughout the course of the program.
Our CREATE team works hard to be sure that guests have uniquely designed experiences that take the goal or PURPOSE of the event into consideration throughout our planning and design process. This process has led us to incredible and topical guest speakers, well known opening acts for general sessions, specific color palettes and textures for lighting, scent machines infusing the air, and other immersive components. Live action entertainment, high energy sound and thought-provoking decor create these interactive experiences that get the attendees talking, sharing and looking forward to coming to next years' event!
Written by Nicole Hernandez, Owner