Innovative Wellness Strategies Spark Today's Most Successful Events
In recent years, the lines between work life and home life—even vacation life—have been blurred beyond recognition. The shift has brought both benefits and drawbacks. Remote working has made it even more difficult to de-stress, decompress, and disconnect. To counteract that reality, we’ve seen a rising focus on wellness. Large events and business gatherings create unique opportunities to show your team or your event’s attendees that you care about them as people. Hotels, resorts, and conference centers nationwide have begun placing extra emphasis on wellness programming and thoughtfully designed spaces to create an optimal experience for all guests and attendees.
How to Find the Sweet Spot Where Business Meets Wellness
You often hear the terms health and wellness lumped together. But wellness is an extension of health. It’s an all-encompassing feeling of satisfaction and contentment that unites physical and mental well-being. It’s a lifelong pursuit, and we are all still learning new ways to enhance the overall wellness of ourselves and our teams. For many, maintaining wellness starts with maintaining positive, productive routines. When planning an event, it’s important to collaborate with the host to identify ways you can make it easy for guests to stick to their normal routines. Yet it’s just as vital to introduce new opportunities to embrace and experience wellness in the context of your event, alongside other guests. Hotels and resorts that have already put an emphasis on wellness can offer a roadmap of ideas to consider implementing. Others can inspire you to identify the unique characteristics of your host facility and the surrounding area, and tap into them to create experiences guests can’t get anywhere else
Simple Concepts for a Strong Wellness Foundation
No matter where your event is held, organizers can work with the venue to incorporate activities, environments and special touches with wellness in mind. Below are a handful of ideas to get started.
Access to Healthy Foods and Drinks: Traveling can make it difficult to stick to a nutritious diet, so consider how you can make it easier. Make healthy snacks available during meeting sessions and inside the guests rooms. Organic, vegan, and farm-to-table menu choices are always well received.
Morning Runs and Walks: Scheduling times for guests to enjoy a run or walk—either solo or with a larger group—gets each morning off to a positive start. Guests feel they’ve begun their day by doing something productive and are often more motivated to participate in the events that follow.
Yoga Sessions: Consider incorporating group yoga sessions into your event schedule or building in meditation breaks to allow guests to center themselves periodically throughout the day. The Renaissance Vinoy in St. Petersburg offers pre- and post-meeting yoga on its waterfront esplanade. Visitors to the JW Marriott in Nashville get added joy, laughter, and cuddles from goat or puppy yoga sessions.
Meditation Workshops: The prevalence of technology and digital distractions has led to an increased focus on mindfulness and meditation. Nashville’s JW Marriott also offers a workshop that teaches guests to develop a daily meditation practice focused on reducing excess mental and emotional stress.
Fitness and Spa: Hotels and resorts with spa services often make group fitness and spa programs available. Planners and organizers can make gift certificates or discounts available to guests as incentives for participating.
Thoughtful Spaces: Creating a peaceful welcoming environment is essential. Many hotels draw on natural elements to design eco-conscious public spaces. Inside the rooms, they strive to create a serene haven, with a focus on better soundproofing, quieter air conditioning units, and comfortable beds, couches, and desk chairs.
Memorable Moments: From silent discos to “cuddle time” with rescue dogs, event organizers should strive to introduce those moments that guests will go home to tell their friends and family about.
Fresh Air Adventures: Giving guests an opportunity to get outdoors and explore—on their own or as a group—helps them feel connected to their destination and to each other. It’s also a chance to refresh and recharge the mind.
Neuro-Inclusivity: Keep in mind the experience for neuro-divergent guests, including those with autism, ADHD, or synesthesia, for example. Consider providing spaces with reduced or no noise, as well as limiting bright, jarring lighting, and overwhelming fragrances.
Create an Experience They Can’t Get Anywhere Else
You usually don’t have to look far to find opportunities to take advantage of the local area and its most attractive aspects to develop special experiences for your guests. Whether within the host facility itself or venturing a short drive away, you can bring your guests together for memorable outings that resonate long after the event ends. Energizing and unconventional excursions help forward-thinking organizations develop fresh perspectives and greater team unity by connecting attendees to new cultural and environmental viewpoints. For attendees, these excursions are an opportunity to refresh the mind, even while challenging themselves with new experiences. Here are a couple of examples of how Marriott hotels develop unique wellness programs.
Wailea Beach Resort’s Hawaiian Outrigger Experience: Guests learn how voyagers sailed the Polynesian Triangle (New Zealand to Rapa Nui to Hawaii) using celestial navigation and wayfinding. They learn traditional Hawaiian chants as they paddle an outrigger canoe while soaking up breathtaking views of the water and the surrounding mountains. It creates a memorable team-building exercise that culminates in feelings of both serenity and accomplishment.
The Westin Bayshore’s Nature Excursion s: The Westin invites groups to journey through the iconic forest trails of Vancouver’s Stanley Park for walking meetings or private group activities, such as a wellness eco-tour, a cultural art class on the beach, or a culinary experience in the wild. Surrounded by tall evergreens and sparkling waters, guests can connect with nature, with themselves, and with each other.
Wellness at the Heart of Every Event
The bottom line is that today’s event attendees expect more than classes and keynote speeches. They come to learn, engage, and network, but also to unwind and socialize. Those increasingly blurred lines between work lives and personal lives present smart organizations with new opportunities. Marriott helps you stay on top of the shift in your attendees’ lives so you can deliver more of what’s important to them. We can help you deliver optimal event experiences that reap rewards long after the guests have returned home.