Clever Carly’s Next Hot Topic: Preparing Your Event For Wellness 2.0

How wellness is expanding in the digital age

Happy March, Meeting Planners! Thanks for stopping by!  

For today’s topic, I’m thinking of a modern trend that has proved itself to be more than just a fad—one that, year after year, holds its own, even after other hyped-up trends fade away. One that might be more righteous and morally sound than the rest. Can you guess which one I’m thinking of?

Yep, bingo: It’s wellness. And honestly, thank heavens—it’s nice to see the good guys actually win. But as the wellness trend has grown up, its scope has gotten bigger, too. Now, planners are forecasting the trend’s outgrowths and seeing a more holistic approach taking hold. At Marriott’s annual meeting trend summits, we get a picture of a trend much larger than a tray of healthy juices in the back of the conference room.

Let’s take that conference room, for example. The sensory-sensitive (and stylish) among us know how important lighting is in our homes—so why do we ignore it at work? Lighting is more than just aesthetics; it affects how we think. A few years ago, apps like Philips’ Hue brought smart lighting to the masses with the ability to transform the ambiance of a room with a tap of the smartphone to select preset color themes based on studies about how lighting affects one’s mood and productivity. Controlling the glowy vibe of an event can be particularly handy if, say, your guests are jet-lagged or are otherwise mood- or energy-challenged—ahem, mornings. (Looking to learn more about lighting? Check out these six tips for meeting lighting, or take our Lighting IQ quiz.)

The same can be said for things like temperature, airflow or air quality, and sound. Ever been to a party where there was noticeably no music? Then you’ll understand that if you want to get the best out of people (your attendees), you need to really think about what gets them to their best. 

As you might’ve guessed, physical activity is also a part of this ever-expanding wellness equation. And really, it’s no secret that exercise makes for a more productive and energized work life. For some planners, this also means incorporating meditation or yoga activities. But the good news is, with the wearable technology industry having grown at an astonishing pace in recent years (CSS Insight analysts predict the industry will be worth $25 billion by 2019), attendees’ personal gadgets can begin to factor into the metrics of an event’s success. Apps like Lumo Lift, BellaBeat Leaf and FitBit allow attendees to passively track and optimize their productivity levels, and chances are if you have any of these, you’re implicitly a fan of big data. I swear—in the name of synchronicity!—they’ll love the idea.

What’s more, as these digital monitors become more sophisticated and ubiquitous, their data could (and should) be collected by venues and planners to serve as ratings on whether to book that venue or hire that planner. The outcome is twofold: useful, detailed metrics in an industry often bamboozled by fluffy credentials; and a real, ratings-driven incentive to nourish the mind, body and soul. Now that’s a trend I can raise my smoothie to.

Check back in two weeks for more helpful tips. You can find me on, and on Facebook and Twitter. Until then, happy planning! 

Always your guide,

Clever Carly