Corporate delegates are demanding wellness facilities

Annie Hayes Reporter, C&IT
Corporate delegates are demanding wellness facilities

A new survey has revealed that 77% of event planners are prioritising wellness facilities in response to delegate wishes.

Research by Hand Picked Hotels polled 500 event planners and also found that events are now increasingly being planned last minute. Just under half, 43% say they are booking offsites between one and four weeks out from the meeting or event date, with just 2% booking six months in advance. 

The top five planners’ priorities according to the research are:

  1. Nutritious food and beverage offerings (48%) – in number one position is f&b, booking event caterers that not only deliver delicious food, but healthy menus too is key with delegates expressing their wish for it to be healthy. Half of event bookers are insisting a nutritious energising menu is served, with sugars and additives avoided. Clearly the sugar rush and subsequent slump is not optimum productivity for the workforce.

  2. A wellness walk (34%) – walking is one of the easiest ways to improve wellbeing. It’s also free and accessible and a good way of building in a business break for delegates. Just under 40% of bookers are enquiring about outdoor spaces, and subsequently bookers are ensuring delegates include an outdoor walk and explore, within their working away day. Evidence that those responsible for booking external meetings, view time for fresh air and walking as a must for delegates when working away.

  3. A wellness experience (25%) – a quarter of respondents cite breathing and relaxation techniques as important to delegates. Many venues can offer on-site massages as well as mindfulness and yoga classes for attendees. There is a growing interest in mindful meetings concepts – for example, Hand Picked allows delegates to enjoy a 15 minute powerful boosting session with breathing and relaxation techniques delivered by a mindful expert. 

  4. Access to spas and health club facilities (24%) – keeping fit with regular exercise is desired by many delegates and for those that travel a lot, maintaining a routine is welcome if they can fit in some exercise while attending an event. With 70% of requests to the hotel group asking to include wellbeing activities, outdoor pursuits at the hotel, wellbeing exercises, and to use the spa facilities; it is apparent bookers understand delegates bodies and minds must be fully nourished while working away from home.

  5. Outdoors activity (19%) – being outside is beneficial for mind and body and in fifth place is the desire to do some events outdoors. For planners, this can be challenging because inclement weather may make planning difficult but where a wet weather plan is possible and in the summer months more certainty can be reached, outdoor activities are welcomed. Post the pandemic there has been an unprecedented surge in corporate bookings, with 60% of enquiries requesting to incorporate mindfulness and wellbeing elements in away day bookings. This research also supports the industry trend of more off-site meetings being organised now, compared to five years ago.

Being free from distractions is the biggest reason for delegates to attend events (47%). Showing once again that wellbeing is a key priority and by removing everyday stress, workloads and to-do-lists with an off-site event, levels of wellbeing can be attained.  

Increased productivity comes at the bottom, at just over a quarter (29%), demonstrating that events are a welcome break once again for many delegates that are burdened with workloads.