Live inspired, keep it moving
Louise Bang, VP Global Sales at Marriott shares with us a column that highlights the role that health care has taken on executives and how hotels have had to adapt to their demands
By Louise Bang
How many times a day do you get up from your desk and walk around? How many days have you missed lunch or had to work right through lunch, juggling a sandwich in one hand and writing an email with the other? How many times have you experienced death by PowerPoint at a conference or company meeting where you sat in an auditorium from 8am to 8pm watching a presentation? The average professional sits at a desk for more than 8 hours a day 5 days a week. Wellness specialists recommend professionals walk 10,000 steps a day and it is not uncommon for some of us to take no more than 3,000 steps on a good day.
Fortunately, there has been a global mindset shift in the last couple of years that has also bled into the business world: wellness. The world has become more health conscious. New food trends and diets that promote a healthier lifestyle are all the craze; and there are plenty of mindfulness apps in the market dedicated to helping people calm their thoughts in a world where we are always connected. A whole new style of clothing, “Athleisure”, has become mainstream, where joggers and sneakers are part of our everyday wardrobe. Standing desks and walking desks allow professionals to stay healthy while working. And lastly, we have seen a significant spike in Bleisure.
Bleisure is a term first used over a decade ago, that blends business and leisure and emphasizes the importance of making time for ourselves despite our busy schedules – enriching body and soul. In the travel industry bleisure is becoming the focus of “business” trips. As more and more professionals are becoming more mindful of their health choices, more hotels are consciously integrating wellbeing offerings that play into guest’s growing commitment to their wellbeing.
Various hotel brands have now embraced wellness and integrated it into their missions. Hotels have begun designing rooms to maximize the space for guests to have the ability to workout in their rooms and adding technology such as smart mirrors that can play and lead guests through a workout. This is all done to optimize guests’ space and time to be easier for them to be able to prioritize their health within the privacy of their own room outside of the limelight of the general public. Hotels have also begun catering their menus to offer specific diet friendly options that coincide with healthier dietary trends and offering wellness experiences to all guests, such as a guided hike, yoga and cooking classes.
Conferences and meetings at hotels are actively trying to blend bliesure and wellness into their agendas to help motivate guests and attendees. Whether it’s serving healthier options or orchestrating a wellness activity to get outside of the monotony of the traditional conference model, the idea of actively caring for one’s health has become a core standard. Adding elements of wellness creates attendees that are more motivated, more rested, more prepared and more energized to focus on the meeting and drive results.
Some of the ways these elements are being intertwined into the agendas are through simple modifications. Today’s conference menus are carefully curated to allow attendees to maintain a healthy lifestyle while traveling, incorporating super foods, cold-pressed juices, and power salads into snack breaks and meal times. Offering morning yoga or meditation sessions before conference presentations creates mindfulness and allows attendees to focus their thoughts on the day ahead. In order to keep the audience energized throughout the day, presentations should be concise – no longer than 20 minutes – and use few (if any) PowerPoint slides. Scheduling windows of free time or adding two-minute power moves between presentations allows attendees to get up, move around and refresh before being bombarded by more information.
Wellness activities can also help coworkers connect in a way they may not be able to in a traditional conference setting. Destination specific workouts, such as surfing, sightseeing runs, and rock-climbing, can highlight a unique location while building camaraderie. Cooking classes featuring healthy or local cuisine such as superfoods and poke, facilitate teambuilding and impart healthy recipes and cultivate culinary skills attendees can take home with them. By implementing wellness activities as ice breakers groups can become a stronger team and perform better than they would without such activities.
Wellness activities and health consciousness can also be used as a form of motivation for a team in conferences and meetings, to get the team connected and help with the flow of ideas, and they can also be used as company incentives. As organizations struggle to retain talent with 79% of professionals leaving their jobs because they feel unappreciated, incentives such as wellness retreats in luxury hotels can be a great way to encourage and retain talent. By offering these kinds of experiences as rewards or incentives, organizations can show their employees they appreciate their hard work and they value what the employees themselves value; their health and wellbeing.
For some, wellness used to go out the door as soon as their professional career began. People would sit hours on end and didn’t find time to prioritize their health. Now with the global health conscious shift, health and wellbeing is a priority that has trickled into the Meetings and Events industry making it a top priority for hotels. Get your running shoes on, take out your yoga mat, meditate, do cardio, walk outside, do pilates, join a guided class with coworkers or enjoy a green smoothie, make yourself a priority and hit refresh.