Half of all convention attendees are likely to combine a meeting with a vacation, according to “Decision to Attend,” a recent study co-sponsored by PCMA. So it’s important for destination management organizations to showcase the versatility of their cities, and for event organizers to choose a destination where their delegates will want to spend some down time. In addition, if attendees have a positive experience in a meeting destination, eight out of 10 will return for that organization’s next conference.
The rising bleisure trend prompted Visit Indy to develop the “Stay One More Day” page on its website, a simple guide for conference-goers who are looking for new and fun ways to extend their stay in Indianapolis. Here they’ll find resources on what to see and do, where to eat, as well as where to stay should they want to move to a different hotel. According to Profile of the American Bleisure Traveler, a recent study by Expedia, while most people will opt to stay in the same hotel, 34 percent will want to relocate.
Expedia also found that 43 percent of business trips are bleisure, and they last two or more days longer than regular business trips. “It definitely makes me work better,” Stuart Bruce, a public relations adviser, told CNN, when explaining why he likes to take an extra day or two of “bleisure” travel when working. “I’m more relaxed, but I also get a better understanding of the city and culture that I’m working in.”
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Professionals today value work-life balance — 37 percent of those Expedia surveyed said they make equal time for leisure and business every year. They also found that attendees taking business trips that last three or more days are 30 percent more likely to tack on a few days for leisure.
On Visit Indy’s “Stay One More Day” page, attendees can find local activities, like exploring Indianapolis on bikes via the Indiana Pacers Bikeshare program, and capturing the perfect photos at the most Instagrammable spots throughout the city. Or they can hike through Eagle Creek Park or check out the city views at Monument Circle.
Indy was also named America’s Most Underrated Food City by Condé Nast Traveler. Young chefs are developing innovative menus at such standout spots as Bluebeard, Black Market, and Milktooth, which was named one of CNT’s best restaurants in the world. “This breakfast-, brunch-, and lunch-only restaurant in an airy converted garage wouldn’t touch eggs Benedict with a 50-foot pole,” CNT’s Ashlea Halpern wrote. “And that’s what makes it so genius. Chef Jonathan Brooks does wild things with Dutch baby pancakes; he puts egg salad and fried Lebanon bologna on toast. Because why not?”
Visitors can kayak along the canals at White River State Park — 250 acres of scenic landscape in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Or they can check out any of the events happening throughout the city, including football games, plays, and music festivals. Visit Indy’s events calendar is a good guide to what’s happening.
If attendees are traveling with their families, they’ll find Indianapolis is home to the world’s largest Children’s Museum. Upon entering, kids are awed by the life-sized dinosaurs bursting through the museum’s walls. With a half-million square feet of exhibition space, the museum offers five floors of permanent and temporary exhibits, including a planetarium and a virtual-reality tour through modern Egypt.