TREND: The “Well” Meeting: Accelerated by the Pandemic, But a Permanent Shift 

Incorporating more “wellness” in meetings and events was a trend going into the pandemic, but it often got stuck at a few token gestures: mini mindfulness breaks or announcements about the spa’s hours. 
Then the pandemic hit, and while most conferences have been canceled, those that did happen (such as the Global Wellness Summit last fall at The Breakers Palm Beach) had to reinvent the health, safety and wellness of attendees in radical ways: from deploying Far-UVC lighting indoors to mitigate any virus spread to nixing the banquet chairs and turning the ballroom into a boutique fitness facility (with people naturally distanced on exercise bikes). 

Incorporating more wellness in meetings, experts predict, will far outlive the pandemic: Health and wellbeing will become the core—the very purpose—of events, not just in form but in content. It’s analogous to the wellness travel movement that has powerfully changed the tourism industry these last years. If, for more than a century, travel was all about excess (binge eating/drinking and late nights), people increasingly sought travel that actually restored them. The traditional meetings concept certainly needs a major wellness re-think: from the debilitating buffets to time spent in windowless, bunker-like ballrooms that have no sense of place. 
The future is creatively reimagining every moment of an event to make it healthier: from a big focus on mental wellness programming to making nature experiences key (such as group “walkshops” on the beach or in the mountains) to delivering super-authentic cultural, culinary and associated travel experiences that capture the essence of the place to connecting people in a much deeper way than the mayhem of tradeshow booths. Meetings will have to transform people to justify the trip. 
It’s a big opportunity for properties whose DNA is wellness and nature—for healthy food specialists—and for all kinds of wellness experts and practitioners.
This is inspired by the “Resetting Events with Wellness” trend in the
2021 Global Wellness Trends Report.

Summit Trends in the News

Wellness Trends for Meetings and Events in 2021Northstar Meetings Group
An insightful overview of the ways that wellness will move front-and-center at the events of the future. The future: everything from more serene, restful spaces and mindful experiences to nature-immersive conferences to group workouts and runs. 
Why Focusing on Wellness Contributes to Successful MeetingsAssociations Now
Meeting attendees now expect to meet, break and network in ways that support their health and wellbeing. Companies are taking a Healthy Meetings Pledge and using Healthy Meetings Toolkits. 
How Meeting Wellness Has ChangedNorthstar Meetings Group podcast 
GWS’s Nancy Davis discusses the ways that the pandemic has shaken up how we think about attendee wellness and how, as vaccinations become widespread and in-person gatherings start to return, that it looks like the “well meeting” may be one lasting effect of this disruptive year. 
Why Meetings Are Moving Outside (Hint: It’s Not Just COVID Safety)Associations Now
Meetings held during COVID-19 moved out into nature, but the outdoor venues and experiences will outlive the pandemic, as space, authenticity and evidence-based wellness (nature has a huge impact on health and creativity) become an event must. 
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