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Business + Leisure = Engaged Attendees

A few weeks ago, we published an article on connecting with meeting participants of any generation. It’s no secret that the attendee landscape is rapidly shifting, leaning towards a more experiential, personalized approach to destination programs. For many attendees, what they learn in the host city is just as important as what they learn from the agenda. Called “bleisure”, mixing business and leisure during a business event is becoming the more popular approach to meeting travel. Finding a balance of interest and information, while encouraging independent exploration, is on the horizon. And PRA is excited for this new trend.

Our tagline is Experience Anywhere and we take that personally. Our offices don’t want to just get you a shuttle and call it a day – we want to immerse you in the personalities of our destinations. We want you to step out onto the Strip and feel the electricity of Las Vegas. We want your heart pounding when you hear the announcer say, “And they’re off!” during the Derby. We want you to celebrate with us at our Second Line parade (and if we don’t have a reason for one, we’ll find any excuse to celebrate!). At our heart, we’ve always wanted our attendees to know our cities as more than an airport and a meeting room. We want to invite you into our backyards and show you around for a bit.

That’s why the bleisure trend excites our planners at PRA. We’ve been doing it for years, now there’s a name for it! Here are a few ways that a planner can invite their attendees to take advantage of the bleisure trend – on their time, with your help:

Make it a part of the conversation. Open up the dialogue for the attendees first. Oftentimes, employees feel that they are somehow taking advantage of a company by tacking on a few extra days to extend their work trip. Employers should be aware of this and open up the conversation first. Casually mentioning, “If you are staying an extra day or two…” will lessen the burden some employees may feel.

Another way to introduce attendees extending their stay is to work with your PRA contacts to see what they suggest in the destination. Put together a guide for your attendees, offering them local experiences they can’t just Google. Trust us, our destination experts love to show off their cities any chance they get!

Plan a night that’s not business, not networking, not mandatory – just plain fun. Give the attendees the option to explore the city on foot, by shuttle, or even by helicopter (we’ve done it all!). Even if attendees aren’t extending their stay, they can get out and see what it’s really like outside of the four walls of the meeting rooms.

Partner with the hotel to work with the concierge to give suggestions that are specific for your attendees. Work with the hotel sales managers to get extended discounts outside of the meeting dates.

Take meaningful breaks. Staying at a beachfront resort? Have your coffee break by the cabanas. Those 45 minutes will feel all the more precious with fresh air and sunshine than with air conditioning and a projector screen.

Bleisure is just another way to make sure our attendees are experiencing a personal and professional connection during their program.  And with an ever-increasing workforce dedicated to the experiential as well as the professional, weaving in a bit of fun can only increase overall guest enjoyment. We’ve been doing it for 40 years – Experience Anywhere with PRA and have some fun at your next meeting. Reach out to get started.

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