Wellness at Meetings Still Has a Long Way to Go

wellness at meetings, events
Start small with wellness at meetings before adding activities such as beach yoga.

A recent survey conducted by the Incentive Research Foundation and released at Prevue’s Meet Well Summit last week found that as much as meeting planners want to include wellness at meetings, the majority (64 percent) said their meetings are only “somewhat healthy.”

The IRF 2019 Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel study of 329 meeting planners, which is sponsored by Prevue, reveals the disconnect between companies’ stated goals of wellness at meetings as a critical focus and their actual implementation of healthy practices. Though budget is often cited as a roadblock, the irony is that most health and wellness practices have a low impact on budgets.

“In speaking with attendees at Meet Well, it was clear that they face all kinds of roadblocks from meeting owners, both real and imagined,” says Barbara Scofidio, co-creator of the Meet Well Summit with IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. “The first step for many is to include subtle shifts, such as infused waters, stretch breaks and vegan stations, before going full on with things like yoga on the beach. But in three years of holding a meeting where we’ve incorporated everything from Cleveland Clinic-approved F&B to aromatherapy to Savasana yoga, I can honestly say that attendees leave revitalized and inspired—as well as educated—and isn’t that what you want?”

Here are 4 findings from the report:

  • Only 24 percent of meeting planners rated their meetings “mostly” healthy—and 5 percent reported “very healthy”
  • Of 26 wellness practices presented in the survey, the only standard practices are smoke-free facilities and water/reduced-calorie drinks.
  • Emerging healthy practices include: serving fish, chicken, or lean meats; healthy snacks (nuts, fruit); gluten-free options; free access to a fitness facility; and encouraging movement throughout the program
  • Healthy F&B (33 percent) and group exercise (25 percent) were ranked by meeting planners as the most impactful wellness practices.

To view or download a copy, visit: http://theirf.org/research/the-irf-2019-wellness-in-meetings-and-incentive-travel-study/2624/

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.

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