Meetings typically call for long days and attendees need energy and stamina to get through the all-day sessions, networking events, evening functions and all that’s in between. Why not help them out a bit? Incorporating wellness initiatives into your meetings will not only energize your attendees, but can also impact your bottom line, the local community and the environment. In this feature, we will take a holistic approach to your meetings and how to include wellness.
Let’s start with food. There are obvious reasons healthy food options are first of mind when speaking of wellness. But requesting fresh, local food from the hotel not only benefits your attendees’ health, but can also lower your carbon footprint and raise your ROI. Typically, local ingredients can be purchased at a lower cost since transportation costs aren’t as high and attendees are likely to be impressed with local cuisine. You get the added benefit of supporting local businesses. To further this idea, try to use more vegetables and less meat in your menus. This is a cost-savings to you, healthier for your attendees and friendlier for the environment.
Always keep dietary restrictions and preferences in mind and offer a variety of options.
We’ve covered diet, but what are some other ways to support the physical health of your attendees? How about selecting locations that are walkable? If we’re being honest, attendees are sitting most of the day during a typical meeting so a little physical activity can go a long way. Getting their legs pumping will give them a burst of energy, save you money on transportation and help the environment and local community by reducing air pollutants. Want to up the ante on physical fitness? Incorporate a morning team fun-run, yoga session or Zumba® class. Play to people’s competitive spirit by giving FitBits® a try with prizes for those with the most steps each day. Or, choose excursions that get people moving like walking or bike tours. Be sure to have options available for those with ADA requirements.
You can’t talk about wellness without covering the mind. With a few days of information overload, attendees are likely to get stressed and need some respite. Give them a relaxation zone for breaks between meetings. This could be as simple as a quiet room with soft lighting and comfortable seating or as extravagant as a full-on meditation session. Whatever you choose, giving your attendees’ minds time to recoup between sessions will mean they’ll give your content more attention and are more likely to retain what they are hearing. If it’s an option, choose a room with natural light and/or fresh air. These rooms require less energy, a win for the environment, and natural light and fresh air have been found to improve our mood, a win for your attendees.
Diet, physical health and the mind have all been addressed, but there is one component to wellness missing–the heart. And when I say heart, I mean that warm, fuzzy feeling we get when we help others. Giving back is an obvious choice for wellness: it impacts your attendees in a positive way, improves the local community and/or environment, and affects your ROI. Attendees who give back feel a sense of cohesion and teamwork that will strengthen the goals of your event. Check out this list from Meetings and Conventions for unique Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities and ask your DMC and hotel for more ideas local to the area.
With all of these components, keep the demographics of your meeting attendees in mind and find the best fit and balance. Wellness, after all, is all about balance.