Integrating a wellness area into conferences and trade shows is a current and novel concept for the meetings and exhibition industry. Wellness studios or wellness zones offer a place for attendees to learn about personal, conference, workplace and travel wellness, pick up wellness information, and experience fitness breaks. A wellness studio also offers a mental and physical respite from the noise and crowds of the trade show environment. The zone is restorative – it offers a place for attendees to re-energize and rejuvenate.
Health and wellness zones have been featured recently as part of open area learning labs with a wide variety of offerings from a tabletop display of wellness resources and TV monitor showing fitness break videos on a continuous loop, to a stage with a seating area featuring wellness talks and live “on-the-go” fitness breaks, to massage and beauty stations, headshot lounges, and fashion shows.
The open space concept and ambient noise pose a challenge to hear the speaker and attendee questions. Here are things to consider for setting up a comprehensive wellness zone:
- Location: to draw traffic, integrate into the open exhibit hall or registration area, or create a separate “zone.” Suggested ways to deal with a noisy environment are provided
- Seating: regardless if you are using chairs, cube stools or couches, ensure that the seats are not packed too tightly together, enabling participants to exercise at their seats.
- Tables: roundtables for group learning activities
- Sound: sound from big speakers on stands travels far, potentially disturbing surrounding groups; alternatively, using several smaller floor speakers keep the sound more confined to the wellness zon This combats the noise and creates an intimate atmosphere. If the presenter moves around lot, position the speakers away from where the presenter walks.
- Headsets: wireless headphone technology creates intimate events with the speaker being heard through noise-cancelling Headsets are ideal for serene mind-body breaks such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness.
- Microphone: microphone for the speaker and for attendees to ask questions
- Paneling: dividers provide a noise barrier
- Flooring: carpet with double padding or other textures (grass, sand, turf) for décor, foot comfort, and noise reduction.
- Décor: bamboo, drapery, flameless candles, aromatherapy, waterfalls and lighting create ambience and zen-like environment
- Leader-driven and/or self-conducted activity: include a combination of interactive live mind-body fitness/wellness talks and videos shown on a continuous loop for participants to follow along on their own time
- Healthy snacks: superfood snack and beverage bar
- Beauty bar: indulge attendees with a make-up, hair, nail bar
- Men’s area that includes esthetic and practical services for men (men’s spa that includes manicures, shave stations, sports stretching stations)
- Quiet zone: mindfulness, meditation, massage (head, body and foot)
- Wellness tip board where attendees post personal and conference wellness tips to share with others
- Wellness challenges involving wearable devices (g., pedometers and physical activity trackers such as fitbit) and wellness activities that integrate with the conference app and resultant awards and recognitions.
There are pros and cons to every wellness theatre set-up. Event producers and decorators who are solution oriented will work within a budget to create the right look and feel for your event’s wellness place and space.
Kim Bercovitz, Ph.D., president and chief exercise officer of Exercise Bytes Inc.