Just as with “staycations,” clubs may be in one of the best positions to try to capitalize on the trend for combining business and leisure, if it does indeed take hold.
A growing trend to watch, according to Stephanie Diamond, the Vice President of Human Capital Management for Global Rescue, a provider of medical, security, evacuation and travel risk-management services, is “bleisure.”
“Bleisure,” Diamond helpfully explains, is a “portmanteau”—the process of blending two words to create a new term, such as when smog was coined by combining smoke and fog, or motel by combining motor and hotel.
In this case, the combination (some might say butchering) is of “business” and “leisure.” And the term describes what Diamond thinks will become more commonplace and emerge as a “silver lining” as the pandemic eases.
“Bleisure travel—tacking leisure days onto a work-related trip—is not new,” Diamond says. But it is likely to become a more prevalent practice, she believes, as business travel returns.
And that will become the case, she adds, as it becomes more apparent that:
• Virtual meetings can’t replace the value of face-to-face meetings.
• Personal interaction will always be more effective at establishing and maintaining relationships, fostering trust and driving business growth.
So how does this relate and apply to the club business? Just as with “staycations” (another tortured term), clubs may be in one of the best positions to try to capitalize on the trend, if it does indeed take hold. Because clubs by their nature certainly offer the best environments for effective personal interaction in an enjoyable and memorable setting.
Think about it: A lot of your members are now at your club more because they’re working from home more and using the time they’re saving, by not commuting or traveling themselves, to be able to be at your property. But many of them still have to conduct business, and a lot are probably coming to realize themselves that Zooming and e-mailing can only go so far and may be jeopardizing important personal connections with their customers and associates.
Why not promote having the club serve as an ideal “bleisure” location? Offer packages where members can invite a client, or clients, to come for an extended combination of meetings and recreational/social activities.
If you have lodging facilities you’re trying to fill (and that are staying emptier these days because travel is down), this can really have great appeal. But even if you don’t, everything else on your property still beats what’s available in offices or hotels. And it could all be enough to help your members attract the attention of, and land attendance with, key contacts they might otherwise be losing touch with.
Diamond notes that the “bleisure” concept was “particular popular prior to the pandemic with the younger generation and those in the tech industry.” And now it is “increasingly becoming mainstream and spreading to creatives and consultants, and now more corporate types with families,” she adds. All of these are high-target demographics right now for just about every club I talk with.
So while the term is pretty forced, maybe it’s worth exploring how the concept could be put to good use in a club setting.
Let’s just hope it doesn’t also prompt the creation of a “bleisure” suit.
Joe Barks, Editor