With more than 30 percent of planners placing an emphasis on wellness and expecting it as a basic part of their meeting options, differentiation in the wellness market is a common goal among hotels and destinations these days. We spoke with Jacqueline Matos, director of meeting & convention services for the Greater Miami CVB to learn about the many ways groups can get it in gear in Miami.
Prevue: Do you have any new wellness initiatives for 2015?
Matos: Miami’s beautiful beaches and year-round tropical weather is the perfect setting for groups to enjoy many of the city’s wellness programs. Hotel and spa offerings include interactive programs such as fitness and healthy cooking classes, sunrise yoga, boot camp, core fusion stretching, and programs can be tailored to inspire attendees to lead a healthier lifestyle. Several spas offer results-oriented programs for lifestyle-change that are medically supervised and include health exams, educational lectures and workshops. Spas are also introducing participants to specialized services such as acupuncture or technology tension relief where groups disengage from mobile devices through massage to relieve tension. Groups can also dance their stress away and have a good laugh before their next meeting or participate in a 5k fun run on the beach. And planners who book their meetings in Miami during July or August can invite their attendees to indulge in over 35 premiere spas participating in Miami Spa Month. The annual event is part of Miami’s year-long Temptations program and a popular summer promotion that showcases some of the area’s world-renowned luxury spas.
In what ways can planners inject wellness into their programs?
Miami is a health-conscious city and an active town full of joggers along the beach, yoga devotees and water sports enthusiasts. Groups meeting in April can enjoy another Miami Temptation, Miami Sports Month, featuring discounts to the great recreational activities in the destination, including golf, tennis, bicycling, running, water sports and more. Miami also offers yoga throughout the community in local studios, resort spas, beaches and parks. Miami enjoys an abundance of healthy, organic, and natural restaurants to choose from with vegetarian and vegan options for healthy eating.
Have the expectations of incentive groups changed over the past year?
Incentive groups are looking for more challenging and experiential activities. Miami offers team building that not only builds a stronger team but also promotes a healthy and active lifestyle. Tours of the city’s history, arts and architecture are available on foot (walking), biking, boat, coach and segways. Groups can create their own street art project in Wynwood Arts District or explore the charming Miami Heritage neighborhoods. Progressive culinary tours are very popular with groups or they can challenge teammates to a cook-off at a private session with one of the area’s celebrity chefs. Water sports are a fun way for groups to enjoy Miami’s natural resources. For the more active participants, extreme water sports offer new learning experiences such as water jet packs, wakesurfing, kitesailing or teams can race while learning to sail. Groups can also hike through the Everglades on a backwater tour or go on a geocaching expedition.