Providing a wellness component at meetings and events has become not only increasingly popular but these days, it’s expected. New wellness options are being incorporated into both conferences and hotel properties to help attendees be healthy, happy and productive.
New Wellness Trends
In 2023, new wellness trends like forest bathing and sound healing are becoming part of today’s meeting agendas.
What exactly is forest bathing? The term emerged in Japan in the 1980s as a physiological and psychological exercise called shinrin-yoku (“forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”). Forest bathing connects one to nature through the senses of sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch. Attendees who want to experience the ecotherapy of forest bathing will want to come to the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region of Oregon. The region boasts 2.5 million acres of forest land making up 86% of Lane County's total land surface. There are literally hundreds of miles of trails to explore and many can be found within minutes of the Eugene-Springfield metro area. We can help arrange transportation for groups to popular hiking trails that showcase some of the incredible and unique natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Sound healing is the use of specific instruments, music, tones, and other sonic vibrations to balance and heal the body, mind and spirit. It involves using specialized sound frequencies to create a therapeutic atmosphere to promote deep rest, nervous system rebalancing and emotional release. There are multiple practitioners that provide sound healing in the region. Offering a breakout session where attendees can sit quietly in a room and listen to the gentle tones of singing bowls might be the perfect thing to relax attendees and reset their focus.
Standard Event Wellness Trends
Many other wellness trends of the past have simply become standard components at events.
Providing exercise options to start the day can be a good way to get attendees up and at ‘em. Since Eugene is known as the “Running Capital of the World” and is nicknamed TrackTown USA, we often help planners set up early morning group runs, sometimes with local celebrity Olympic runners. Morning yoga and light exercise classes are also becoming more popular. Eugene Yoga often offers on-site drop-in sessions during conferences held in the Eugene-Springfield metro area.
Wellness Break Areas
Almost everyone wears a fitness tracker of some kind and is likely being reminded when they have been sitting for too long. Beyond standing and stretching, consider using a breakout room that provides a quiet place to relax during the event. Keep the lighting low, play soft music, provide comfortable seating and make it a phone-free zone with charging stations. Have massage therapists available, if possible.
Healthy Menu Options
It seems like a no-brainer, but these days planning food options can be challenging. Vegan, vegetarian, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, low sodium… there are many restrictions to consider and all are important. In fact, a recent Harris Poll reports 60 percent of Americans say they monitor or restrict the consumption of at least one nutritional component in their diet and 87 percent of respondents say they are trying to eat healthy. Planners must provide healthy food options at every meal. Consider offering fruit-infused water stations and fresh juice during breaks and mocktails at evening functions to give options beyond sodas and alcohol. It’s also increasingly important to provide protein, whole foods and fruit during breaks instead of carbs and sweets—plus, this will help keep attendees alert and avoid an afternoon crash.
Host Hotel Amenities
When choosing host hotels, consider the wellness amenities offered. Does it have a weight room, gym or swimming pool? Does the restaurant offer healthy food options, source from local farms or have a smoothie bar? Are there special wellness offerings? For example, the EVEN Hotel in Eugene offers a gym, lap pool and hot tub, in-room exercise mats and equipment, and even offers a running package that includes a bag full of running goodies. There are numerous free run groups of all levels that meet regularly right near the hotel as there are world-class running paths nearby. The on-site restaurant, Cork & Kale, offers a wide variety of healthy food options that come freshly prepared and are completely customizable to fit dietary needs.
More Than a Trend
Incorporating wellness into events is much more than a passing trend. Wellness is part of a growing culture movement and meeting planners will need to continue to provide offerings that align with attendee’s personal habits and active lifestyles.