How New Generations Are Inspiring Event Wellness Trends

By: David Abers

Ever leave a weeklong seminar or conference wondering if your caloric intake rivaled your educational content consumption?

Or head home from an incentive reward trip feeling like the hard-earned celebration caused you to abandon your fitness regimen?

If you answered “yes” to either of the above, you’re not alone.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Especially now, knowing that companies are looking differently at incentives and events, specifically as they relate to wellness.

The driving force? Millennials and Generation Z.

These new generations are entering the workforce in a big way. And they expect things to be different than in years past—the endless breakfast buffets, suit-and-tie dinner and cocktail hour that incentive trips used to be about just aren’t cutting it anymore.

Millennials and Generation Z bring an interest in health and wellness to the workforce. They’re exercising more, eating better and pursue the healthiest foods. They choose experiences over material things. And that’s why it’s more important than ever to infuse health-conscious, experience-focused wellness trends into your event or incentive travel trip.

The Impact of New Generations on Event Wellness Trends

The millennial generation—defined by Pew Research as people as born between 1981 and 1997—is set to make up half the workforce by 2020. And Generation Z, who were born after 1997, is hot on their heels.

The shift in focus toward wellness trends at events inspired by attendees in these generations requires meeting and event planners to strike a balance that appeals to all demographics—and the shift is already in full swing.

Wellness Trends in Event and Incentive Travel Accommodations

Hoteliers are pulling out all the stops when it comes to wellness offerings. Their progressive efforts are allowing event marketers to offer heightened wellness-inspired experiences to event attendees.

  • As part of its recent $40 million renovation, Monarch Beach Resort in Orange County, CA, partnered with Tucson-based wellness resort Miraval to redefine and rebrand its spa. Classes such as cardio drumming and aerial yoga, plus more tranquil mainstays like meditation and spa treatments, now make up the location’s fitness offering.
  • The Stay Well guestroom at MGM Grand Las Vegas was designed by holistic physician Dr. Deepak Chopra and features vitamin C-infused showers, dawn-simulating alarm clocks, melatonin-producing lighting and in-room fitness equipment. 
  • The luxury Zoëtry Wellness & Spa Resorts features an entire hotel collection focused on wellness—including health, fitness and nutrition—while still offering an all-inclusive experience.

Destination-Specific Event Wellness Experiences

There’s no question—event attendees are seeking action. On-site wellness experiences like these allow them to get in on the action and experience the authenticity of your event’s destination.

  • Trekking through Panama’s Darién Gap, canoeing its waters and interacting with the locals offers a once-in-a-lifetime, physically rewarding expedition.
  • Snow skiing at Ski Dubai—a 22,500 square-meter indoor ski resort inside the Mall of the Emirates—gives attendees active adventure and the ability to shop ‘til they drop in one of the world’s largest and most famous malls.
  • Bike tours exploring London’s monuments offer an active yet at-their-leisure adventure through a historic lens.
  • Exercise attendees’ brains and bodies. Bring a yoga instructor to teach them the basics of yoga, followed by a class on skin care or choosing a healthy diet, then end with a cooking class where they can put what they learned into practice.
  • Give attendees a first-hand look at the beauty in nature in some of the world’s most beautiful settings: kayaking in California, salmon fishing in Alaska and snowshoeing in Vail are just the tip of the iceberg.

Culinary Wellness Trends at Events

Clean-eating, organic, locally-sourced food is huge when it comes to on-site food and beverage—both from a wellness perspective and from an experience perspective. (After all, who wants to eat at a chain restaurant on a once-in-a-lifetime trip?) These local features are defining event menus, no matter the destination.

  • Vegetables are the main attraction due to their natural health benefits and versatility. The most popular of all? Cauliflower—it’s the new kale.
  • Ancient grains like spelt, millet, quinoa and chia—known for their health and dietary benefits—are replacing on-site breakfast staples such as oatmeal and yogurt.
  • Fresh-from-the-sea features like oyster bars with a host of hot sauces and create-your-own tuna poke feature the savory flavors attendees crave.
  • Juice bars are all the rage, especially if there’s a pool or beach nearby. Instead of an ice cream stand, smart event planners are choosing to offer a “juice shack” with fresh-squeezed juices.
  • And craft cocktails and beer are taking the event world by storm, giving local breweries the opportunity to showcase their fresh take on their craft.

A Total Wellness-Inspired Event Experience

From agenda highlights, like an on-site fruit and vegetable market and farm-to-table cooking classes, to wellness-inspired amenities like lavender oil room spray and inspirational nightly pillow cards, you have the opportunity to put your own organization’s wellness spin on your event.

Building an immersive, powerful event that gets the results you need is rooted in truly knowing and engaging with your audience.

Whether that’s a traditional meeting or a progressive, adventurous event, an experience-defining event management partner can help you get the seamless strategy, flawless execution and bottom-line results you need.

David Abers
David Abers

As Events Account Manager, David manages strategic accounts to ensure service consistency, and oversees everything from large-scale meetings (e.g. trade shows) to incentive travel events. He partners with internal team members to ensure on-time, on-budget delivery with a focus on creative, always with a goal of staying one step ahead of the competition. In a former life, David owned a Caribbean eatery frequented by ITA Group-operated travel programs which is how he found his way into the meetings and events business. To this day, he enjoys cooking up a good gourmet meal. David is CMP certified.