Picture this: One of the world’s most prominent doctors tells roughly 2,000 planners, hoteliers and vendors the key to a bright future for events is creating healthy meetings that are conducive to creativity. About 400 thought leaders, ranging from architects to economists, converge on the Four Seasons in Marrakech, Morocco, for an event that eschews coffee breaks for meditation sessions. More than 14,000 attendees decked out in gym clothes sweat through four days of a conference that doubles as one long, intensive workout.
Regardless of country or venue, wellness touches all aspects of our lives—the food and beverage we consume, the rooms we sit and sleep in or the devices we carry with us on daily commutes, business trips and vacations. No wonder wellness has become an estimated $3.4 trillion industry. It figures to grow as governments, business owners and working professionals further incorporate mental and physical fitness into their personal and work lives.
“It’s a global conversation now,” says Susie Ellis, chairman and CEO of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, the meeting in Marrakech with all the zen.
Wellness is unquestionably the talk of the meetings and events industry, with a focus on sharpening attendees’ minds so they will be more productive during and after conferences. From early morning group runs and yoga classes to electrolyte-enhanced water and energy snacks to meeting room designs, planners—partnering with convention centers and hotels—continue to experiment with ways to ensure attendees get the most out of events.
“The ROI is not just financial,” says Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International. “It’s literally what is going to be the human capital that comes back [to work from the meeting]. Are they more innovative, more inspired and are they engaged? You cannot do that without creating the right environments.”