We’re now living in an era where the average person likes to eat smarter and exercise more. Surrounded by an array of apps, gadgets and experiences designed to continually help us improve our well-being, it has become an expectation that a healthy lifestyle can be implemented, maintained and measured at the click of a button. Delegates now expect improved options to be offered at events so that they don’t have to forego their healthy habits. So how can you answer their needs and incorporate wellness into your events programme? We’ve jotted down a few of our favourite options to help give you a happier and healthier attendee!
Choosing the right venue
Whilst you can incorporate wellness into your content programme at any site, having a venue whose destination or philosophy lends itself to a healthier lifestyle is already half the battle won. There are a variety of hotels whose facilities can help create these wellness opportunities. Soho Farmhouse gives out pedal bikes to its guests, or delegates can take part in a variety of active team building activities including tennis and football. Thyme Hotel offers cookery classes where delegates can forage for ingredients in their garden to turn into a healthy meal, then sit together to enjoy it. Ace Hotel and King’s Place London both offer smoothie bars and healthy cafés on-site, or the likes of Daylesford Organic have an array of options for an away-day group including yoga, Pilates and meditation classes, plus healthy themed cookery classes and spa treatments on site
And it’s not just the independent boutique hotels with these offerings; Hyatt Hotels has joined forces with Be Well to help travellers continue with their active routines. Currently rolling out in America, the collaboration focuses on the guest experience across all Hyatt brands globally, and includes healthy refreshments on arrival, increased fitness offerings, healthy menu options, and nutritious ‘to-go’ alternatives to maintain healthy habits on the road. Similarly, Marriott in some of their US properties are rolling out their ‘Stay Well’ improvements, including air purification and water-filtering systems; 24-hour-rhythm lighting and guided in-room meditations.
Why not add a wellness lounge at your event, a place that delegates can relax in in-between talks. Choose comfy seats, and include healthy drinks and snacks. Use the lounge also as a place of learning and host short healthy lifestyle seminars in there. At a recent event for a pharmaceutical company, we installed a BMI reader in a private area of the lounge where a nurse was on site to help explain each reading.
Include healthier menu choices
Creating a varied and nutritious menu at your events is one of the easiest ways to add a healthy stance to your events programme. Whilst it’s always a good idea to include food and beverages popular to the destination, incorporating a mix of wholesome alternatives is a simple way to stop that post-lunch slump and appease health-conscious delegates. Healthy doesn’t have to mean salads mind, many event caterers such as Canababes and Squid & Pear are creating innovative event menus designed around locally sourced, nutritious ingredients that are far from dull. A morning smoothie bar is a simple and effective way of kicking off a day’s event, and rather than sugary treats in the breaks, swap for fruit or low sugar snacks or protein balls. Including tent cards next to each dish with health and wellbeing facts allows delegates to make more educated choices when deciding what they would like to eat. 8 Northumberland Avenue adventurously offers flourless cakes and beetroot muffins for those wishing for their delegates to avoid that afternoon lack of energy.
Create an active agenda
Whatever your destination there are always a variety of ways to incorporate wellness into your agenda. For a more active group, many cities offer running tours; a chance to take in the city at a heightened pace! Seville, as an example, offers 60 minute 10km private group runs – a great way to squeeze in that tour of the city when you’re strapped for time. Guided bike tours are available in most urban destinations, and for those in London, a ‘Boris bike challenge’ is a simple way to keep delegates active whilst showing them some of their location.
Delegates don’t have to be continually seated either during the agenda. We’re seeing a movement towards ‘active meetings’ where the session takes place standing, and for those a little more adventurous you could even incorporate a walking meeting.
For events where time is limited, running route maps, either printed or on your event app is a good way to help attendees squeeze in that pre/post-event run. For events taking place at a venue with extensive grounds, consider creating a course throughout the property, and include music, post-run snacks, and medals to get everyone in the competitive spirit.
Many of the large-scale industry events are now leading the way too with wellness woven fully into their agendas. IMEX America holds a sunrise 5km run for those brave enough to run The Strip after a night in the casinos, whilst those at Cannes Lions Advertising Festival can enjoy early morning bike rides in the French Riviera, tai-chi and sunrise yoga to freshen them up before for the day ahead.
Does your venue have a gym? Gather information on class schedules and opening hours and include on your event app. A ‘pay-as-you-go’ spinning or kickboxing class close to the hotel? Include them too. Whatever the destination – hot, cold, beachy or mountainous – there are always a variety of activities that can be offered year-round to keep your delegates active, whether it’s mountain-biking, skiing, surfing, paddle boarding, rock-climbing, dance classes, yoga, boxing, or golf.
A great way to engage delegates is to incorporate a competitive element. A Bootcamp style challenge works well in most destinations, especially where there is plentiful outdoor space. Arming attendees with pedometers or Fitbit is a simple way to create mini challenges for the attendees throughout the programme. On a recent client event we used RFID badging for delegates to scan into healthy activities they had attended (yoga, dietitian workshops and runs). Each activity helped them climb higher on that leaderboard to win a prize. Encourage your guests to sync their Fitbits to keep the challenge going, or create a fit hashtag so guests can post their healthy choices with the top post winning a prize. For events where outdoor space is limited, use stationary pedal bikes and see which team racks up the most miles in an allotted time.
For more inspiration, check out 7 innovative ways to keep attendees active at your next incentive. There is an infinite number of ways that you can add a wellness element into your event, and the above is just a small snapshot. If you need more inspiration for your event then don’t hesitate to contact us on +44 (0) 207 424 3333