Offering a holistic wellness culture for business events has become a ‘must have’ for every meeting as new research reveals health and wellness as a priority for delegates.
Meeting planners surveyed reported high rates of personal enthusiasm for health and wellness in their meetings . Perhaps even more importantly, planners reported that their clients and companies would agree ‘wellness is a critical focus’.
The research highlights a shift in personal values to incorporating mindfulness into every aspect of peoples’ lives with self-care front of mind.
Melbourne Convention Bureau’s General Manager Business Development and Bids Beverley Williamson says it has become clear that this is no different for the meetings and events industry.
“Delegates expectations now demand that event planners keep up with a trend that is not going away, in order to stay competitive in the ever-changing world of events”.
The question is, how can events incorporate wellness in a way that will positively impact delegates’ experiences and leave a real mark in their conference or incentive trip journey.
“it’s not as simple as adding one element in the wellness space,” says Ms Williamson.
“There must be a holistic approach to the entire program in order to align the event with delegates’ personal lives.
“The event strategy would have to include wellness as an objective and identifying trends that relate to the industry and audience would facilitate how to better incorporate wellness into your event.
“The ‘nice to have’ mindfulness elements should become standard practices for all meetings”, adds Ms Williamson.
With that in mind, the Melbourne Convention Bureau has compiled five ways to getting on the wellness wagon and boost your delegate experience.
1. Incorporate a theme that aligns to personal lives
Create a theme that will resonate with the audience not only at a business level but also at a personal level. Delegates will value the opportunity for learnings that can be applied to all aspects of their lives. A
healthy balance between the two will result in motivated staff, generating more creativity and productivity, resulting in better outcomes.
This can be translated into including topics and sessions into the conference program that will align to the overarching theme of the meeting while giving the audience valuable content that can be applied to their everyday lives.
2. Improve delegates’ experience by keeping meals and breaks healthy
An important element to ensure wellness is at the core of your event relies on meals and breaks. Offering delegates healthy menus will positively impact on their experience of the conference as it will allow for better concentration and more brainpower.
3. Incorporate an offline space for delegates to switch off and re-energise
Conferences are usually packed with appointments, sessions and workshops; offering delegates a dedicated space that can provide some time to re-energise and regroup will make their experience a better one. Event planners are in the position to give attendees the chance to unwind.
This space can include other wellness activities like; informative sessions, express meditation sessions and interactive workshops. These sessions can assist delegates to improve their state-of-mind, helping them feel better throughout the event.
4. Scheduled breaks for making connections
Creating break-out areas and scheduling in pauses for connecting with peers is a tactic that will benefit attendees not only at a business level as it will allow for more opportunities for networking, but also at a personal level as it will provide them with times to socialise and attend to other work responsibilities.
5. Sponsors, venues and service providers must align with wellness approach
If wellness is a priority for the event, selecting stakeholders that will be aligned with this approach will facilitate the implementation of a wellness culture at all levels and in all aspects of the meeting.
Budget is generally one of the reasons why event planners don’t include a wellness culture as a priority. Partnering up with sponsors that have it as part of their core values will translate into opportunities to incorporate wellness elements into the event strategy.
It is essential to communicate with potential sponsors the direction of the event and organisations will be drawn to an approach that have shared values and vision. If sponsors can offer activities in the wellness culture it helps event planners keep their budgets in place.
Ms Williamson adds “to be able to incorporate a wellness culture into an event, a holistic approach needs to be considered and having wellness as part of the core strategy will be essential if this is an objective event planners want to achieve”.