Wellness has been a buzzword in the travel world for years now. But it’s taken the hospitality industry a while to realize that wellness is not just about providing access to fitness centers, organic food items, and spa treatments.
In a world in which work has become more fast-paced and smartphones are glued to hands, people are looking for ways to feel healthy and happy while remaining productive in their careers. The pursuit of wellness is a part of their everyday lives, and with the rise of such in-home exercise options as Peloton bikes and Mirror gyms, it’s becoming easier than ever to make fitness personal. And once consumers make fitness and wellness part of their routine, they don’t want to give it up when they travel.
Hospitality brands are increasingly realizing they have to provide experiences to help people feel wholesome while on the road.
“Our hectic schedules and 24/7 mobile-focused lives are driving the need for self care and escapism,” said Bill Caswell, principal and hospitality practice leader at North Highland, a consultancy. “The hospitality sector is fulfilling these wishes through things like bath butlers, private yoga coaches, quiet zones, health-focused snacks, and unique in-room amenities.”
Meeting and event planners are at the forefront of this movement as they acknowledge that productivity requires both a sound mind and a sound body. As attendees demand more ways to take ownership of their own time and maintain their wellness routines, venues are upping their game. At The Venetian Resort Las Vegas, for example, meeting planners have asked for “everything from a yoga class to a meditation room to bike races, runs, and even coordinating hikes off the Las Vegas Strip,” said Senior Vice President of Sales Chandra Allison. Planners are also requesting more varied and healthful food options, flexible scheduling, and creative alternatives to cocktail receptions, Allison said, signalling a major shift in the way events come together.
Creative planners and venues alike, then, are working together to chart a new future for the meetings and events sector. In this report, we’ll report on some of the ways planners are negotiating these seismic changes while staying on budget, what venues are doing to keep today’s wellness-minded attendees happy, and suggest a few visions for the future of meetings more broadly, based on numerous interviews with travel insiders.