City Profile: Phoenix-area hotel investors embrace bleisure

“Are you traveling for business or pleasure?” It’s a common question heard at hotels the world over, and the answer can oftentimes provide a glimpse into an area’s offerings. If you’re a hotel investor, however, the ideal answer to that question is “both.”

Cities that can capture the business and leisure travelers enjoy a perfect marriage of sorts, with diversified offerings and reasons for the traveler to elongate their stay. This dynamic duo has become so popular within the hospitality industry that it’s coined its own phrase: bleisure.

“There is now a heightened demand for in-person meetings, particularly in bleisure destinations, which combine elements of both leisure and business travel,” explains Carlos Rodriguez, Jr., president of Driftwood Capital. “Guests are increasingly seeking destinations that offer social opportunities beyond the conference setting.”


The pandemic has allowed Phoenix to emerge as one of the top bleisure destinations. Though 2020 was a bad year for most everyone, this metro remained relatively unscathed.

“The strength of the pre-pandemic first quarter of 2020 in Phoenix resulted in the lowest RevPAR decline among the top 25 markets for the year,” says Zabada Abouelhana, director and leader of the Arizona region for HVS. “Transient demand from areas with stricter COVID-19 restrictions bolstered occupancy in the second half of 2020 and in 2021.”

By 2022, Phoenix hotel occupancy had rebounded to 97 per cent of its pre-pandemic (2019) levels. ADR and RevPAR well surpassed these levels, Abouelhana adds. She believes this was driven by an improvement in pricing power, a shift in segmentation and the continued evolution of the destination.

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