2017 Winning Case Studies on Bleisure Tourism

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2017 Case Study Winner (Brazil)

São Paulo is the biggest city in South America. The area’s entertainment, cultural and culinary attractions are magnets for tourists. Its economy draws business visitors, who also stay on to enjoy those attractions. The students focused on how visitors get around the city to reach them. They interviewed employees of eight hotels that cater to business visitors and also interviewed visitors enjoying a bleisure break. Bleisure visitors told the students they relied on apps for automobile transportation but did not like the heavy traffic. The visitors offered positive opinions about the city’s subway system: it is clean, safe, although crowded at times. The students concluded that more bleisure visitors would use the subway, if it were easier for them to use. Visitors then could reach more of the things that make São Paulo so attractive. The students recommend making the signage easier to use. As one visitor told them, “There is no shortage of information, but the signs are confusing, lacking colors that could attract attention,” he said. The students also designed a sample website guide to the subway system that could be used by visitors called “Vá de Metrô” or “Go by Metro.”

2017 Case Study Winner (China)

Xi’an in China’s Shannxi Province has attracted the operations of more than 2,560 companies from more than 58 foreign countries, including 19 of the world’s 500 largest companies. Employees of those companies visiting Xi’an are not only visiting one of the most important centers of business in northwestern China but also an important and powerful center of Chinese history and civilization going back more than 3,000 years. Most popular bleisure activities are visiting the area’s seven sites listed on the World Heritage List; and exploring local cuisine, arts, and culture. These are important strengths in attracting business travelers to stay longer. However, the students also conclude that local travel-related businesses need to educate themselves on how to improve their products to meet “the requirements, preferences and expectations of business travelers.”

2017 Case Study Winner (France)

Rennes is the capital of Brittany in France’s Celtic West, an important university town known for culture and food, and for its telecommunications and high tech businesses. It is the country’s fourth most popular tourist destination. The students report they had no idea what “bleisure” was so they started to educate themselves by interviewing businesses whose employees go on business trips, groups involved in tourism promotion, and to organizations that serve bleisure visitors. The result is a guide to the whole bleisure concept, starting with employers, who see bleisure as a benefit for employees but they also worry. For example, what about the employees who do not travel and therefore do not have the opportunity to take a mini-vacation in interesting places? And what about employees who travel on company business, then stay for a private vacation and get injured or even killed? It has happened. In those cases, what is the responsibility of the employer?

2017 Case Study Winner (Hong Kong SAR, China)

The students have created a comprehensive 60-page guide to Hong Kong Bleisure Tourism that includes: an overview; summaries of industry literature; an analysis of the Hong Kong market and trends; a Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats analysis; a description of the methodology used by the students, and a usable 13-page guide and itinerary, complete with a suggested timetable. Bleisure is big in HK and getting bigger. In 2017 the number of visitors from Europe, Africa and the Middle East attending events such as meetings, conferences and trade exhibitions grew by more than a third. Half the world lives within a 5-hour plane ride from HK. Both government and the private sector support efforts to increase bleisure visits. There is work to be done, because competition for the bleisure traveler is “fierce worldwide,” report the students.

You can download the Teachers Notes here.

2017 Case Study Winner (Hungary)

Sarvar is home to the two students and also home to a modern Spa and Wellness Center which taps into a natural water supply that has a high concentration of hydrogen carbonate, which offers various benefits. The complex has pools designed to offer the benefits of the local water. Other pools include one with a slide, one for diving, a pool with waves, and pools for children. The complex offers a medical care section, a wellness and fitness section, and relaxation rooms. It is now counted as one of the region’s 18 most successful spa towns. Who goes there? Mostly they are middle-aged and older guests, meaning that the Center also needs to attract more younger guests. The students researched competing spas and the services they offer. They determined that young male and female business travelers could be attracted to adding some bleisure time to their trips if the Center expanded the professional wellness, fitness and beauty massage services offered. The students then took their research a step further and created marketing materials that the Sarvar complex could use.

Teaching notes are available here.

2017 Case Study Winner (India)

Why does this Case Study have an image of a lion on its cover? Because the state of Gujurat, where the city of Vadodora is located, is home of the world’s last Asian lions. The students believe that the city, formerly known as Baroda, has great potential as a bleisure destination. They note that the area’s plastics, petrochemical, medical and engineering companies have many business visitors. They point to the many cultural attractions of the city, which benefitted from the encouragement of the Gaekwad royal family of Vadadora, one of the most important princely families of India. Family members still live in its Laxmi Vilas Palace, which is open to the public. The palace is set in 600 acres and has its own golf course. The students believe that making the golf course available to bleisure visitors would add to the city’s attraction as a destination. Many of the other city and area attractions recommended by the students include: Sayaji Baug, a public garden that is also home to the Baroda Museum and Art Gallery and the Sukhadev Rajyaguru/Saradar Patel Planetarium; the E.M.E.Temple/School’; the Inorbit Mall, and the KhandeRao Market.

2017 Case Study Winner (Ireland)

The two students, assisted by 11 other fellow students, start off by offering readers a 25-page illustrated guide to the things makes their hometown, Tralee, and surrounding County Kerry, so attractive to visitors. They are enough to motivate one million people a year to visit, or about seven times the total population of the county. The students present the results of a survey they created for a very specific group: 13 Tralee hotel managers. The survey had two main purposes. The first was to establish a profile of the business travelers visiting the area and what they did for fun once they arrived. The second was to establish what the hotels were doing to cater to bleisure travelers, and to attract more of them. Some of the managers were not familiar with the jargon term “bleisure” but nevertheless they already take steps to attract bleisure travelers by offering them discounted rates, while others shape their marketing programs to attract that market. Based on their survey, the students offer marketing recommendations to help the hotels attract more bleisure visitors, which the hotels want to do. The students note that they have no experience in the hotel industry so their ideas might not fit the overall needs of a particular hotel, and they also analyze how their survey could be improved.

2017 Case Study Winner (Jamaica)

Kingston, the island’s capital, is also the island’s principal business and cultural center. The students focus on three locations to demonstrate what Kingston offers the business traveler who decides to stay on for a few extra days. The first is the Jamaica Conference Center, which offers attendees easy access to the Kingston Craft Market and the National Gallery. A short taxi ride away is the Bob Marley Museum, dedicated to the Jamaican reggae singer, and also the Rockfort Mineral Baths. The second location is also a short taxi ride away: Devon House, built in the grand style in 1881. It combines the island’s first Gastronomy Center and a museum dedicated to the house’s heritage. Devon also offers a variety of event spaces for meetings, corporate events and small gatherings. Its 11 acres of gardens offer food options ranging from ice cream to chocolates. On Kingston’s doorstep is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Blue and John Crow Mountains, and the Holywell National Recreational Park (pronounced “Hollywell”), a 330-acre park with amenities for visitors. The Jamaica Conservation and Development Trust offers trail tours starting from Holywell that include birdwatching tours and hikes of varying length to coffee farms and local communities. The students used questionnaires and interviews to arrive at their assessments and recommendations.

Access the Lesson Plan here.

2017 Case Study Winner (Kenya)

The students report that Kenya is poised to capitalize on the number of business travelers who wish to extend their trips so they can enjoy the places they visit. The focus of their research is on two kinds of business traveler identified by the travel management firm Amadeus in a 2014 report: “The Reward Traveler” and “The Gadget Nomad.” The Reward Traveler places a high priority on accumulating loyalty points to earn rewards. The Gadget Nomad relies heavily on technology tools such as smart phones and tablets. In Kitale, their hometown, the students visited the offices of Telkom Kenya, a major national telecommunications provider; ATS Travel, a specialist in air travel tickets; Fly 540, an airline that serves Kenya and East Africa and the Hotel Aturkan-Kitale. “Our study established that … the availability and accessibility of fast and continuous internet/WIFI connections determines choices made on where to stay, work and have fun while on a business trip.” Interviews conducted by the students also showed that “ all agreed on security, cleanliness of food, water, rooms, environment and efficiency” were both required and expected.

2017 Case Study Winner (Russia)

The students investigated what Moscow has to offer bleisure travelers. The city, the biggest destination in Russia for tourists, hosts about 5,000 events in a typical year. Visitors have 400 museums to choose from, as well as 170 theaters, stadiums, and other venues. The students decided that these travelers are a good market for a company that serves them well. In 2016 17.5 million people visited Russia, of which 28 percent come for business reasons. However, the concept of bleisure is not well known in Russia, according to the students’ research, and has great potential. Visitors interviewed by the students liked the idea of extending visits to include leisure activities. The students propose creating the “Moscow Bleisure Agency” or MBA that would navigate visitors through the overwhelming number of choices that Moscow offers visitors. Clients would have highly personalized, individual programs, including pet care, created for them based on what clients tell MBA. The students would create an app to support client activities with a virtual assistant called “Anna.” The students are realistic about the amount of financial backing MBA would need, but believe that the bleisure market is an important one.

2017 Case Study Winner (South Africa)

Kirkwood, the students’ hometown, is one of a string of six small towns and villages located in the scenic Sundays River Valley of South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. The town itself is on the river, and is surrounded on three sides by citrus fields. The Valley produces 20 million cartons of fruit each year. Not surprisingly, citrus is the reason most business travelers come to the area. There is already a well-developed tourist industry. People on vacation come to enjoy an extensive menu of things to do, much of it outdoors. An important area asset is Addo Elephant National Park. The park is big enough to include conservation of land animals such as elephant, buffalo, lion, rhino, leopard and also ocean dwellers such as the great white shark and southern right whale. The Sundays River itself is an attraction for visitors who want to take boats out on the water or explore by canoe. Accommodation is also well-developed, ranging from camping sites to boutique hotels and guest houses with spas and restaurants, and conference facilities. The students investigate the ways the area can convert business visitors into bleisure visitors, and make recommendations.

2017 Case Study Winner (Tanzania)

If you are on a business trip to Dar es Salaam, want to see the county’s famous wildlife and do not have much time to spare, where do you go? One solution, report the students, is to drive 283 kilometers (176 miles) to Mikumi National Park and spend a day or two there, as many visitors have found. Mikumi is one of the largest of the country’s 16 national parks. Its 3,230 sq.km. (1,247 sq. miles) are home to “ elephants, giraffes, hippos, elands, great kudu, sable and more than 400 bird species,” report the students. There are one and two-day safari trip available. Accommodations include tented safari camps. Bleisure is alive and well at Mikumi; about 40 percent of visitors are business people and 25 percent are educators or academics, report the students. The park also attracts conferences: they account for another 25 percent of visitors. Managing a big park like Mikumi in a sustainable way involves many interested groups, including tour guides, tourists, park management and the surrounding communities. “The people living around the park participate in conserving the animals and the environment as part of Community Based Conservation,” report the students.