This is part one of a three-part series exploring bleisure travel insights and their implications for Columbus travelers.

Bleisure (a blend of business and leisure) travel has been on the rise in recent years, with 37 percent of North American business travelers saying they had extended a work trip for leisure in the previous year, according to a 2017 study by the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).  Meetings are big in Columbus, so as this number continues to grow, it’s important to understand who these travelers are and their habits and preferences for these trips.

Associations Now points out that many associations are helping attendees embrace bleisure by offering certain experiences as part of the conference agenda. For planners interested in that, Experience Columbus is here to make it easy, whether it’s creating specific experiences for groups, or just offering suggestions to be included on the conference website.

Columbus is a leader in experiential tours, as one of the first destinations in the country to put together itineraries that allow visitors an opportunity to get hands-on with the city. In fact, during the 2018 NCAA Women’s Final Four, held recently in Columbus, our team designed several Tourney Journeys that allowed attendees to experience Columbus’ diverse array of welcoming neighborhoods firsthand. We’ll explore suggestions for those interested in extending their trip in a future post, but for any planners choosing to go the route of curated experiences, you can view a sampling of itineraries we’ve put together here.

For planners not interested in being responsible for their attendees’ leisure experiences but know it’s something in which their attendees are interested, there’s no need to worry. We’ve done our research and know that those attendees will be happy in Columbus.

That same GBTA study tells us that 48 percent of millennial respondents had extended a work trip into a leisure trip in the same period. This is good news, since Mother Jones says Columbus is the “next hot millennial enclave.” But does our city have what it takes when looking at the specifics required for these types of trips? The short answer is: yes.

Over the next few posts, we’ll make that abundantly clear with research-based insights and suggestions. Be sure to check back in two weeks for our next post on lodging for bleisure travel.