Hotels offer services to Bleisure travelers who bring family, will pay more for five-star service

NASHVILLE, Tennessee – The mix of leisure and business travel is nothing new, but as leisure travel continues to strengthen and group and business travel continue to recover, the concept traveler bleisure continues to evolve.

During the “‘Bleisure’ Reimagined: How Work-From-Anywhere Has Blurred the Line Between Business and Leisure” session at the 14th Annual Hotel Data Conference, hoteliers shared their insights into traveler bleisure and how their properties capture this segment of demand.

Recalling a conversation with a friend who is the hotel’s general manager, Anna Marie Presutti, vice president of the Nikko Hotel San Francisco, said the hotel owner asked her friend why they didn’t have not enough hot breakfasts to go because the corporate travelers would want them.

The friend’s response was, “When I see one, I’ll let you know.”

Business travel has yet to return to San Francisco, and group companies have provided occupation, she said. It is in this segment that leisure has blended as opposed to traditional business travellers.

Bleisure represents about 70% of Wyndham Hotels & Resorts’ business, making it an important segment for the company, said Carol Lynch, senior vice president of global sales at Wyndham. They are not just individuals but these bleisure travelers bring their families with them, coming for conferences for a few days but booking two double rooms.

There is a need to identify the needs of these travelers and see what has changed depending on whether they are coming as individuals or staying for the weekend with their families, she said. Wyndham hotels have made sure to provide appropriate high-speed internet access given the number of devices each guest brings with them and to ensure there is space for people to work.

Working for a Mississippi-based company, Micajah Sturdivant, president of MMI Hotel Group, said he knows it’s rare for hotels in his state to perform better than the rest of the United States. The South has weathered the pandemic better than most of the rest of the country. for several macro reasons, and his company’s portfolio of small hotels in these drive-through markets gives people different options for their stay.

MMI Hotel Group closed only one of its hotels, and it was closed for 45 days, he said. The hotel announced on a Wednesday that it would reopen the following Friday, and when it did, it opened at 87% occupancy.

One thing his company has discovered is that shoulder dates have changed dramatically and the days of discounted Sundays and Thursdays are over, Sturdivant said.

“Here’s where we’re going to get a little bit,” he said. “That’s where we’re really going to make the money.”

Day of the week booking trends are also changing. Customers want to stay longer, and capitalizing on rates with those customers will be a big chunk for hoteliers that will have lasting benefits for the industry, he said.

The Nikko hotel team has decided not to reduce services, not to close any of its restaurants and to continue cleaning every day, Presutti said. The hotel management was also unafraid to increase the rates where appropriate and also charged for early check-ins and late check-outs.

Anna Marie Presutti (left), Nikko Hotel San Francisco, speaks alongside Carol Lynch, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, about travel bleisure at the 14th Annual Hotel Data Conference. (Bryan writes)

“As long as you’re providing the service and providing that great experience for a guest, you can charge,” she said. “It’s when you’ve increased your rates because the market supports it, but you don’t offer the services… [where] some of our competitors have had trouble.

Hotel Nikko has done everything it can to a five-star standard, and guests are willing to pay for it, she said. Guests who come to the hotel are driven by the experience, especially if they are leisure travelers.

“We’re not afraid to charge, but we’re also committed to providing the services and experience people expect,” she said.

Communicating expectations is important, Lynch said. Pre-arrival communication lets guests know more information about their hotel so they have a better idea of ​​what to expect.

Wyndham’s hotels are primarily upscale and budget oriented, and those hotel guests are used to eating breakfast, Lynch said. It’s a no-brainer for most Wyndham brands, but it was a challenge during the pandemic, especially during its peak.

“Now that expectation is back, and they want breakfast, and they don’t just want take-out breakfast — they really want breakfast,” she said. “We were able to communicate per brand how the brand standard has changed and been updated. It helps the front desk person who has to deal with all these questions. »

Customer expectations are changing and increasing, Sturdivant said. What hoteliers can share before and during their stays can generate more revenue for hotels through different services and amenities, such as spa treatments or time on the golf course.

“We’ve had great success with the bleisure traveler who has the ability to say, ‘You know what, I’m going to go get a facial because I just got a message from the hotel’ when it’s on. place,” he said.

There are a lot of impromptu opportunities, and this has been helpful on the labor side as it keeps more staff, like beauticians and massage therapists, working at the hotel instead of working elsewhere, did he declare.

During a personal trip the previous week to Biloxi, Mississippi, Sturdivant said he received a message about a boat trip to observe a commercial shrimp fishing operation. The message came out two days before the trip and it was packed the same day.

It was interesting to see how many people engaged in this activity when they had no idea it was going to happen just days before, he said.

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