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April 1, 2022

Travel is one of the best teachers: It exposes us to new ideas, cultures, foods, and people, providing a better (and broader) understanding of the world. We’ve recently shared some of the purposeful trends—such as sustainability and ecotourism—that are transforming travel, and “Play + Learn vacations” are yet another. Ideal for all ages, this blend of education and exploration satisfies a thirst for knowledge with programming that lets people dive deeper into their interests or pursue new passions.

Back to the Real World

The COVID-19 pandemic altered the learning landscape with the proliferation of remote classes and what seemed like an unending stream of Zoom calls—and after spending so much of the last two years staring at screens, parents and kids are ready to get back to real life. You can tap into this desire by providing hands-on opportunities for guests to learn from local experts and unique experiences that make the most of your destination. During the pandemic, many resorts shifted quickly to create and promote virtual offerings, such as virtual wellness retreats. Don’t lose that innovative mindset just because things are moving back to “normal”—instead, direct it toward in-person Play + Learn programming.

Destination-Based Learning

Think about the enriching educational opportunities your destination presents for both kids and adults. For example, Southall Farm & Inn takes advantage of its 325 acres of farmland in Franklin, Tennessee, with programming that helps guests experience what goes into creating a healthy and sustainable farm. Guests can forage for wild edibles, explore beekeeping, and even help with the harvesting.

If your resort is located in an area with very little light pollution, it could be the perfect place to introduce an educational series on stargazing with an expert astronomer. Destinations like Nashville and Hollywood lend themselves to artistic pursuits, such as a workshop with a local songwriter or an improv class.

Staff-Inspired Learning

While your location is a great place to start when it comes to thinking up new educational opportunities, consider your people, too. What skills and expertise do they bring to the table? An award-winning pastry chef can share his or her knowledge on making mouth-watering desserts. At Carmel Valley Ranch, a master cheesemaker teaches her art—a learning experience few cheese lovers, also known as turophiles, can resist.

Skill Learning

You can also partner with local experts for learning experiences in areas such as sports, where guests often want to improve their skills or try something new like surfing or snowboarding. Consider partnering with a well-known tennis or golf pro to lead a weeklong clinic, which will create promotional opportunities on social media as well.

In 2022, we expect educational travel to continue to grow in new and exciting ways. Travelers want to get out from behind their screens and learn a new skill, or something they can take home with them. Now is the time to create that programming, position it, and market it well!

At Brown Marketing & Communications, we’ll work with you to create and introduce Play + Learn programming that’s perfect for you. Contact us today at 949.310.8662 or