Meeting with wellness in mind
Creating a Culture of Wellness at Meetings Hosted in Kelowna
As organizations embrace the cultural shift of mindful, health-focused events it becomes more important than ever to choose destinations and experiences that align with your organizational values. Director of Business and Destination Development for Tourism Kelowna, Jennifer Horsnell notes, “Wellness is in the top 10 trends affecting the meetings and events industry in 2019, according to PCMA. Organizations are seeking destinations that inspire their delegates to be active during their conference, where they can connect with each other over community tables, and where they can enjoy work-life balance, even when they’re attending a conference.”
Inspired setting; abundant active experiences; fresh, healthy food; community-building culinary experiences; a centre of excellence in agriculture and digital tech. Kelowna checks all the boxes. Following are just a few ways conference organizers are creating experiences with wellness in mind when they meet in Kelowna.
With Fitbits on almost everyone’s arm, counting steps has become an easy way to improve one’s wellbeing. Meeting planners are taking note and choosing meeting sites that not only offer plenty of opportunities for fresh air breaks, but they’re choosing locations that are pedestrian friendly.
“We know that scheduling fresh air breaks, networking time with other attendees and time to check in with the office helps keep delegate’s stress levels in check,” says Horsnell. “We’ve seen creative conference organizers host walk and talk sessions where small groups break out of their meeting and take their conversations outside to the boardwalk, to the park, even to our downtown wildlife sanctuary,” says Horsnell, who also notes that by partnering with the Kelowna Yacht Club groups can arrange for kayaking coffee breaks, or stand up paddle board rentals for a group session before business gets underway.
Travel can be stressful for even the most seasoned road warriors, but, starting off each day of your conference with a private yoga or Pilates class, or mindful meditation session helps attendees get centred and ready for a day of learning and networking. Unique to Kelowna: the opportunity to take yoga sessions outside to one of several area lakefront wineries, cideries or even an urban lavender farm.
Hosting classes off-site is not only a healthy choice, according to Tommi Hanley, Regional Director of Cantrav Services, a destination management company with offices in Kelowna, but it gives visitors an opportunity to connect with locals and discover Kelowna’s hidden treasures. “I love early morning and early evening group yoga classes at Okanagan Lavender Farm,” says Hanley. “They buzz with the sound of bees pollinating hundreds of lavender and herb plants. And when we coordinate group yoga classes at Soma Craft Cidery and Farm, we often incorporate a tour and cider tasting afterward; it’s a great way to sample the flavours of Kelowna.”
Fresh, Local, Healthy
Attending a conference may nourish the mind, but it’s the hosted events that nourish the body, and the ways delegates can connect with each other that nourishes the soul. With Kelowna’s famous farm-to-fork culinary scene, a network of acclaimed chefs and a wide range of unique off-site venues it’s easy to create fresh, local, and healthy dining experiences during meetings hosted here.
Stay Fit, Have Fun, Build Team Spirit
Kelowna is a cyclist’s and a hiker’s dream – from urban trails to single track mountain biking, to the scenic Myra Canyon Trestles, guided bike and hiking tours offer history, inspired views and a great way to experience the city.
As Kelowna can attest, when you choose the right destination, there are a myriad of ways to keep your delegate’s wellness in mind when planning an event.