September 22nd, 2016

Want happy attendees? Think “sweatworking” instead of networking! Incorporate health & wellness into your events

For many people, health and wellness is a daily pursuit of eating smarter and exercising more.  But, for most, gone are the days of short-lived fad diets and workouts that were once the popular way of shedding pounds; being healthy and fit is now a lifestyle. While this has been largely influenced by Millennials – as they are the largest group to embrace this new, active way of life –  this healthy lifestyle seems to be here to stay.

From athleisure wear to Matcha tea and natural medicine, healthy living has inspired trends in many different industries, and it’s now made its way into the event industry. Attendees now expect healthier options to be offered at all events so that they don’t have to forgo their healthy habits. In certain destinations it’s easier to incorporate these due to the climate, the activity options in the destination, and local food and natural resources, but there are still many health and fitness options that you can consider adding to your events in every destination. After all, endorphins from working out are supposed to make you happy, and what’s better than a happy attendee??

Here are some easy suggestions from GDP DMC Partners to incorporate the healthy living lifestyle into your programs:

1. Offer a 5K run or “fun run” throughout the city or hotel

Not only will it give your attendees a chance to see the sights up close, but it is also a great way for them to bond with a running buddy or within running groups for encouragement. To further the teambuilding, consider adding a theme to the run or assigning themes to groups of attendees to encourage everyone to dress up and show their team spirit. Jason Sick from Austin-based Red Velvet Events says they are frequently organizing 5K runs within their city. He says, “We have a great network of running instructors who assist us in not only guiding participants through the route successfully but also are able to point out areas of interest along the route.”

Or, instead of shutting down and navigating city streets, consider hosting the 5K right at the hotel!  This was recently organized at a property in the Bahamas. “We have worked in partnership with our hotels to provide a course throughout the property and worked with the client to make this a fun event for the guests.  Music, healthy snacks and medals are handed out at the winner’s circle,” says Marlene Jacoby from Equilibrium Events Bahamas.


2. When it comes to food, mix it up!

It’s very popular to showcase the local cuisine when you are in a location that’s well-known for a specific type of food or cuisine, but usually what makes that food so irresistible are ingredients that are not so nutritious. So, mix up the menu by offering the local cuisine along with healthy options. Katera Berent from Red Velvet Events in Austin, TX says that for their health-conscious clients, “We’ve mixed our Texas BBQ with healthy vegetarian options and vegan food. We have to work with multiple vendors to accommodate this, but it’s all about the options.”


3. Instead of a city tour on a bus, consider offering a walking, biking or running tour

In New Orleans, BBC Destination Management’s David Rome suggests, “Groups could enjoy a running tour through the French Quarter, stopping at Jackson Square for wall sits and the riverfront for sit-ups.” This type of exercise experience is something that is transferable to any city, and DMCs can assist in organizing this to ensure that the route includes all the major must-see attractions along the way.

In Bolivia, Pedro Rios from Condor Travel says, “For a unique experience, we have local shoe shiners lead groups with a translator through a walking city tour to show them a different perspective of the city and their own life experiences.”

Or, another play on this concept is to offer a food walking tour to introduce attendees to the destination while tasting some of the local cuisine along the way. Have your DMC make sure that their local tour operators are incorporating healthy food for each tasting.


4. Engage your competitive attendees through physical challenges

Have you seen American Ninja Warrior or Spartan: Ultimate Team Challenge on TV? A few of our DMCs have had requests from clients who want to set up a similar type of boot-camp teambuilding activity for their attendees, and in Southern California, Destination Concepts inc. has even set up Navy Seal Bootcamps for events. In destinations where there’s a river, lake, or ocean, you can bring the competition out onto the water through crew rowing competitions.


5. Bring fitness indoors in colder climates or winter seasons

Many destinations offer warm weather activities, but there are other activities – like skeet shooting, TopGolf, local dance classes, yoga, kick-boxing or other indoor fitness activities that can be offered year-round.

You can also incorporate FitBit competitions into your program especially if the property is on the larger side to allow for participants to do a good amount of walking during the program. Or, Spire is an overall health and wellness technology that measures more than physical activity - it also tracks sleep patterns, relaxation and water intake, and reports back to a smart device for tracking and reminders. You can use devices like these to create mini challenges for attendees throughout the program.

Finally, there are so many health and fitness options out there that are specific to a destination and its landscape or countryside. The opportunities are endless when you have so many different group destinations and natural wonders at your disposal, and here are just a few ideas that are unique to certain destinations around the world:

  • Bolivia - Mountain Bike adventure trips through the famous “Death Road” (near La Paz) and Uyuni Salt Flats.   Another option, Condor Travel can offer a CSR activity on Sun Island where attendees participate along with the locals in their daily activities such as collection grains, fishing and working in the greenhouse.
  • Brazil - Hike the Famous Sugar Loaf mountain or trek in Tijuca Tropical Rain Forest (Rio has the world´s largest urban tropical forest).  There are also waterfall explorations throughout Brazil!
  • Germany – Organize a morning group jog through the Tiergarten, passing the Brandenburg Gate
  • Colorado – In the winter months there’s skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing, cross country skiing, snowmobiling, ice climbing, and dog sledding. In the summer there’s biking, rock climbing, white water rafting, fly fishing stand-up paddle boarding and more! A year round destination!

These are just a sampling of ideas and options from some of our DMCs around the world. All GDP Partners have the right local connections to make these and other ideas turn into reality. Please contact your GDP Sales Advisor (or get in touch!) if you are interested in learning more about how our DMCs can help to incorporate health and wellness options into your upcoming events!