What’s the difference between a business traveler and a leisure traveler? As the once-strict lines between work and play continue to blur, the answer to that question is becoming more complicated, making room for the rise of the “bleisure” traveler. The newly opened Delta Hotels Dallas Allen & Watters Creek Convention Center—the brand’s first new build in North America and the first convention center and four-star hotel in Allen, Texas—is positioning itself to fulfill the needs of today’s business travelers through flexible meeting options, a focus on local F&B, and tailored amenities.
The Delta Hotels brand, which Marriott International acquired in 2015, identifies the type of business traveler who frequents its properties as purpose- and focus-driven road warriors looking for a streamlined experience. Jennifer McLennan, Delta Hotels’ global brand leader, explains that this guest seeks quality over quantity; rather than having a full suite of products and services at their fingertips, they prefer a tailored menu with experiences catered to their needs and amenities that reflect the hotel’s locale.
To meet guests’ demands while providing a model that makes sense for owners, the brand dials up key areas that its profile of business travelers really care about (e.g., the bed, the shower, and the work space). “It’s really meant for guests to achieve their purpose while they stay with us and keep their momentum with no additional clutter,” McLennan explains.
Just as Delta Hotels’ design aims to provide a seamless experience, the brand ensures that its service is also in tune with business travelers’ need to keep moving. “Associates know when to engage with guests and when to let them do their own thing, and we’ve found that customers really respond well to that,” McLennan says. “Our brand promise is to make sure that travel is simplified and not to get in guests’ way, but really help them get on their way.”
To keep guests going, Delta Hotels Dallas Allen offers premium dial-ups like a grab-and-go marketplace and a 24-hour pantry for Platinum Marriott Bonvoy members. The property’s management company, Benchmark Hotels & Resorts, partnered with Texas native and celebrity Chef Stephan Pyles to create the F&B program, including the locally inspired bar and restaurant Stampede 66.
Managing director Stacy Thaler Martin explains that the hotel’s unique F&B offerings and its location across from Watters Creek—a mixed-use development with retail, offices, and green spaces—lends itself well to bleisure travelers.
“We have an opportunity to take you out of that traditional meeting setup and do something different—making a memory, making a moment.”
Nicole Considine, Director of Sales & Marketing, Delta Hotels Dallas Allen
“Internally, we have this great bar that gives travelers a place to go and gather if there are no planned functions or events, or, if you’re a single person and you want a friendly place to go because you don’t want to sit in your room,” Martin says. “If you want to get out of the building, you can shop, drink, eat, and get a massage right across the street at Watters Creek.”
The property’s meeting spaces, too, are designed to create a flexible environment for work and play for bleisure travelers. The 90,000 square feet of meeting space includes a 12,000 square foot ballroom and 40,000 square feet of uninterrupted convention space. Nicole Considine, the property’s director of sales and marketing, says that today’s corporate clients are looking for more creative environments. “The experience-driven meeting is what it’s all about now,” Considine explains. “Yes, the traditional classroom and all of those things are what people want, on some level. But we can assist them on being creative in how to use the space.”
For instance, an outdoor pool and patio space can be used for gatherings, and smaller breakout rooms offer an environment with natural light, including a glass-walled room with soft bean-bag seating and a boardroom-style table that can be converted for a game of ping-pong. “We have an opportunity to take you out of that traditional meeting setup and do something different—making a memory, making a moment,” Considine says. “You’re here for a purpose and you want to accomplish something, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be institutional.”
Ultimately, Considine says, guests want the same thing, whether they are bleisure travelers visiting for work or pleasure. “Know when to get out of the way and when they need assistance,” Considine adds. “You have to be able to pick up on body language. If someone’s looking down at their phone, they don’t really want to look up and say, ‘Good morning.’ You can tell when a person is lost. You can tell when a person is not interested. In hospitality, we need to be instinctive to those subtle cues and be able to read them.”