DURHAM, North Carolina — January 29, 2019 — Wellness will be an essential component for planners to incorporate into their 2019 meetings and events, focusing on the complete physical, mental and social well-being of their attendees. The top meeting trend prediction comes as the theme of wellness grows rapidly on a global scale, with associated expenditures at $4.2 trillion, growing nearly twice as fast as global economic growth, as reported by The Global Wellness Institute.
Diane Tighe, who plans up to 75 events per month with her team at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club on the campus of Duke University in Durham, NC, shares recommendations for physical, mental and social wellness for planners to incorporate in 2019 for an event to remember. With nearly 20 years of experience at the property, Diane is a Certified Professional Catering Executive (CPCE) and an active member of NACE since 2001. She handles meetings for organizations such as Fortune 500 companies, non-profits like the Duke Children’s Gala and global academic powerhouse Duke University.
1. Movement – As devices like the Apple Watch continue to encourage standing and movement, attendees are more likely to be aware of sitting too long. Mayo Clinic counsels that sitting for long periods of time links to a number of health concerns, such as obesity, increased blood pressure, high blood sugar and more. Events can implement chances for attendees to stand during a discussion and kick off the day with golf or organized morning run.
2. Nutrition – Make sure to also offer nutritious meals for the health-conscious and options for those with dietary restrictions, such as gluten-free or vegetarian, so everyone is nourished and satisfied throughout the day. Culinary team are becoming increasingly creative and flexible, so a good food service should know how to cater to everyone’s needs.
3. Mental Breaks – With so much information conveyed at meetings, it’s easy for attendees to leave feeling drained. To prevent this from happening, integrate more breaks into the schedule as a way to regroup and refocus, which is ultimately more likely to capture better engagement and participation. After sessions are complete for the day, planners can also slot in opportunities to meditate, whether through gentle yoga or breathing exercises. A study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison even shows that mediation might reduce the chance of getting a cold or the flu!
4. Camaraderie – Having a sense of connection encourages communication, trust and new ideas, not to mention inherently makes an event more fun. Provide forums for your guests to get to know each other better through mixers and group activities, so your meeting can function as both a professional development tool and a networking opportunity.
“There are so many emerging trends in the industry, whether it be activities or session styles, that ultimately align with wellness and making sure the attendees have a well-rounded experience,” said Tighe, director of catering & conference services at Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club. “At Washington Duke Inn, we come with a plethora of fresh ideas to support meeting planners achieve organizational goals while thinking outside the box.”