Building Spa Elements Into Your Meeting

By Kelsey Ogletree, April 18, 2019

On a recent incentive for 90 employees of an automotive company at Four Seasons Resort Bora Bora, One10 Senior Event Manager Celia Kallas was right on the money incorporating spa into the program. “Out of the variety of activities offered for the group, 70 percent selected spa,” she says, which included a choice of massages, facials or mani-pedis.

Adding a spa element to incentive itineraries isn’t a new concept, yet it’s one that’s growing in popularity. When spa facilities, like those of the Four Seasons, provide additional amenities like saunas, steam rooms and water therapy, it gives attendees something extra to enjoy without affecting their individual cost or the client’s budget, Kallas notes.

You don’t have to plan a fancy incentive in an exotic locale to incorporate spa elements into your itinerary, however. This year, many planners are looking for new ways to integrate spa and wellness into meetings and events. After all, “you can only sit and listen for so long,” says Maggy Dunphy, corporate director of spa and wellness for Hyatt Hotels Corp. Here, she shares her tips for organizing spa (or spalike) activities.

Build in “pause sessions.”

Incorporate little breaks within a meeting where you encourage people to stop, breathe and move their bodies. La Cantera Resort & Spa in San Antonio offers a menu of mini breaks for meetings that can be led by a professional from the on-site Loma de Vida Spa & Wellness. “When you start to see people losing their focus, a five-minute stop helps refocus the mind through breathing,” says Dunphy.

Encourage use of spa facilities.

Even if you’re not scheduling treatments for attendees, many spas will allow planners to rent out the amenities for a group, including access to steam rooms, Jacuzzis and pools. Encourage them to take advantage of these during downtime by sending notifications through your conference app. Be sure to send a reminder to pack swimsuits and/or workout gear before the event too.

Don’t overschedule.

Consider starting your event later in the morning to give people an opportunity to get a good night’s sleep and work out or relax at the spa before the activities begin. This is especially important if an event requires late hours of networking (or if your group is a party crowd).

Let the spa manage logistics.

If you are scheduling treatments for attendees, leave it to the pros. “So many planners think they know the spa business better than we do,” Dunphy quips. Her recommendation is to let the spa or resort manage the process. La Cantera can create a personalized spa menu of options, add your company logo and remove pricing.

Keep it simple.

Limit attendee choices to a few treatments: a massage or a facial, for example, says Dunphy. Then you can add the option for customization in the room, such as aromatherapy or hot stones, but still keep things simple from an organization perspective.

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