Health and wellness is a big business. In fact, the value of the health and wellness market hit an incredible $168 billion in 2017, according to Statista.
It’s likely not a surprise, then, that wellness has emerged as a meeting trend to watch throughout 2018. The fact is, more people are focusing on their health and wellness. And seeing that same emphasis reflected in an attendee experience is a powerful way to make a lasting impression, not to mention an effective way to break a longstanding habit among traveling attendees.
“ ‘Wellness is huge and it is growing as a factor in meeting planning, partly driven by a broader consumer movement or mindset,’ said Yma Sherry, vice president, North America, American Express Meetings and Events, in the 2018 American Express Global Meetings and Events Forecast. “You’ll see this more in hotels around food and beverage offerings. They may provide more organic, free-range, healthy options. In the past, meetings were where everyone broke their diet…now they’re not.’”
Not only does an emphasis on health and wellness improve the attendee experience—it can also boost the outcome of your event, too. No matter your industry or business, we’re betting you want attendees to stay informed and engaged long after your event ends. And if they’re feeling their best during your meeting or event, chances are good they’re more alert and involved as the event unfolds, which helps increase both their takeaways and motivation.
As you consider your upcoming meetings and events, why not experiment with an enhanced focus on health and wellness? Here are a few ideas to get you started.
3 Ways to Add Wellness to Your Meeting or Event
- Focus on the food. This is one of the easiest—and most impactful—ways to show attendees that you’re invested in their wellness. As Yma Sherry mentioned earlier, look for organic, free-range and healthy food options as you prepare menus and select snacks. Try to do what you can to accommodate dietary preferences including vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free.
If a full menu swap isn’t feasible, try adding a few options instead. What about almond milk at the coffee bar, fresh fruit at the snack table and lean protein and veggies for lunch or dinner? Fruit- and herb-infused water is also a thoughtful touch. They’re becoming a popular addition to hotel lobbies, for example, and it’s relatively easy to set up a few dispensers throughout your venue.
- Add an activity. With so much focus on the attendee experience, it’s easy to stand out from the crowd by adding an active element to your conference or meeting programming.
Why not kick things off in the morning with a yoga session? Or during the day, combine both activity and sightseeing with a guided walking tour. In the evening, what about a socially focused activity? A few examples include Topgolf, an escape room, group volunteering or a healthy cooking demonstration.
You might also want to add a few shorter activity-focused breaks during the day, especially if attendees are sitting through several presentations or discussions. Giving attendees opportunities to move and re-focus with things like stretch breaks or short, guided meditations can help boost their energy levels and improve information retention.
- Switch your swag. Kevin Cobb, our director of marketing, noticed a definite increase in high-tech promotional gifts at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, and that includes fitness trackers.
As you plan your event swag and gifts, why not include health-focused items? If your budget doesn’t allow for fitness trackers for every attendee, consider purchasing a few and offering them as giveaway prizes. Reusable water bottles with your company or event logo are always a great idea (especially if you set up infused water stations).
Another idea? Tie one of your swag items into your agenda. If you host a morning yoga event, for example, give attendees mats or towels. If you plan a walking tour, how about giving attendees a comfy pair of socks and an energy bar? Or why not offer a gift that’s also an experience, like a short custom spa service or chair massage?
No matter how you opt to emphasize wellness in your next event, don’t forget to gather feedback from your attendees. What did they think of the health-focused changes? And do they have suggestions for the next event? That gesture will go a long way in helping attendees feel like they have a voice in your event, and they’ll be more invested in seeing how your emphasis on health and wellness continues to evolve. Plus, they’ll know you’re committed to providing them a positive, wellness-focused environment in which to learn and connect. And that’s how you transform attendees into brand advocates.