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When you are planning an event you worry about all of the little details and how they impact your attendees. But, have you taken the time to consider health benefits you are providing to your guests?
More now than ever before, a large portion of our population takes pride in their health and wellbeing. By doing your best to provide a healthy experience at your event you are showing your guests how much you care about them and their interests.
1. New Menu Options
Many times we choose event menus based on the theme for the event, the client preferences or perhaps based on budget alone. However, you should do your best to explore healthier and fresher options. Your guests will appreciate the quality selection of food you provide.
A diet choice and event trend that is becoming more popular, is providing vegetarian and vegan dishes on your menu. Many people have transitioned to this style of eating, yet they struggle to find menu items that suit their dietary choices. By offering a vegan or vegetarian option you are being all inclusive of your audience and perhaps encouraging guests who may be traditional meat eaters, to explore a new menu choice.
Giving your guests a choice on their selection is a great way to ensure you offer healthy options while also catering to guests who may not be as select in their dietary needs. Depending on the type of event you are hosting, you could also provide smaller meals throughout the day rather than a large all encompassing meal. This will help your guests to feel refueled and replenished, without leaving them feeling lethargic.
For health and wellness purposes consider if alcohol should be served. Some guests view alcohol as very unhealthy and they may choose to abstain from indulging for a variety of reasons. While many events may favor the service of alcohol due to the function or the choice of the client, giving some thought to when and how alcohol is served is something to consider as the event planner.
2. Integrate Fitness
Fitness takes many forms and with the use of wearable technology our activity level has become more ingrained into our daily lives than ever before. Thinking of fun and fresh ways to mix fitness into your event will show your guests that you care about their health and want them to enjoy more than just the meeting they came to attend.
One way to get your guests up and moving around is by having an active session! Perhaps this is an icebreaker or team building activity where the attendees are up and moving around the room or venue. Scavenger hunts can be a very fun way to get everyone involved if you have a manageable size group of attendees. If you have a larger sized group you could hold optional fitness experiences throughout the event for your guests to choose from.
Many larger conferences and events hold a fitness breakout or an entire workout outing within the larger scope of the event. Some examples of this would be hosting a 5k fun run on the morning before your event, holding a sunrise yoga session in a nice outdoor space near your venue, or hosting a dance session in the evening. All of these are great ways to mix fitness into the scope of your event and encourage your guests to try something new with their colleagues or fellow event goers.
3. Test Out Gamification
Gamification is an ever growing topic within our industry. Finding new and creative ways to get your guests involved with the experience of your event is always a challenge for event managers. Gamification gives us new and endless possibilities to build upon the experience we can provide.
One way to integrate gamification, while also targeting health and wellness, is to encourage activity to earn points or gain recognition on a leaderboard. Many attendees have their own wearable pedometer that can connect to your event app or a digital leaderboard. Allow your guests to track steps and challenge other guests to get moving!
You could give away a branded pedometer to your guests as a welcome gift, so everyone can track their steps during the event. Award prizes to the top steppers and host challenges throughout the day to encourage engagement.
4. Encourage Interaction
Gamification is one way to get your guests involved, but other health and fitness ideas can add to the overall experience. Encourage your guests to interact both face to face and also online. Interaction tends to lead your guests towards more movement which is great for their overall experience.
During the sessions at your event, something as simple as seated exercise will help your guests to increase their focus level and help them to stretch out between speakers or presentations. Have your guests stand up at their seats and do a few quick stretches and limited motion exercises. These simple activities can be a fun-filled experience that will spark conversation and renew the energy in the room.
If your group needs a bit more movement than just a basic exercise try using unique layouts or spaces to encourage movement. While you don’t want the layout to seem inconvenient or disjointed, giving your guests room to walk around and breathe is much better than making them feel congested and cramped.
For example, you could host your mix and mingle or networking hour in a larger space with limited seating. This will get your group up and moving around, rather than everyone sitting down at tables. Outdoor spaces often set up well for these type of events and provide some fresh air for your guests.
In addition, encourage your guests to post about their healthy habits during your event! In pairing with gamification, you could award points for healthy photos posted online with your event hashtag or have your guests “check-into healthy activities or healthy booths at your expo.
Everyone who goes to an event is busy and trying to soak in as much of the experience as possible, but that doesn't mean that their health and fitness routine should have to suffer while they are attending. Do your best as the planner to make the health of your guests a top priority, by providing healthy options and experiences. In the long run your guests will recognize this effort, enjoy their experience more and become return attendees!