How the wellness trend has impacted incentive travel
By Waheeda Harris
In 2010, Health and Fitness Travel began offering tailor-made fitness and wellness holidays. “Not everyone wants to sit on a beach sunning themselves for 10 hours a day,” says co-founder Paul Joseph. “They want to return home with lasting benefits. We were becoming much more aware of the effects of a sedentary lifestyle and I could see the need for these types of trips was going to grow.” Originating in England, the company now has offices in Toronto, Melbourne and Manila.
As the emphasis on healthy lifestyles grows, it only makes sense that wellness is now an essential part of the incentive travel planning process.
According to a recent study from the Incentive Research Foundation, more than half of planners polled are personally invested in wellness and sustainability, with many reporting they already have wellness programs in place, and are expanding their offerings to groups of all sizes.
Dallyce Macas, managing director of éminence Canada Tourism Consulting, says she sees the trend coming from attendees. “New types of companies are looking for different meeting options. Toronto has more technology companies, with senior teams made up of a younger generation who are focused on healthy options,” she says.
“We need to realize what the client wants—it may not be a spa day or a yoga class. It could be a mindful walk in a museum or providing healthier options for a meal,” explains Deborah Peniuk, owner of Toronto-based AYA Life, a health and wellness travel company. Combining her experiences as a Uniglobe travel agent, yoga teacher and cancer survivor, Peniuk was the first in Canada to be certified as an Elite Wellness Travel Specialist by TLG Hotels.
Peniuk says groups new to wellness should make it simple, avoid overloading the schedule and allow time for absorption. “It’s great to offer healthy food options for lunch, but it doesn’t make sense to have an open bar and endless food for dinner.”
Costa Rica offers a wide range of outdoor activities from surfing on the west coast, to exploring a coffee plantation in its interior, says Macas, providing a wide range of options in an established wellness destination. Closer to home, Alberta's Banff Centre has used outdoor classrooms as part of its meeting offerings for several years, and Nordik Spa, with locations in Quebec and Manitoba, offers weekend retreat packages for corporate groups.
Health and Fitness Travel recently launched Mindful Triathlon Holidays for the health-conscious individual or group at fifteen destinations, including Thailand, Sri Lanka, the Caribbean and Spain. Attendees choose activities from three aspects: Be Active (personalized fitness and sports), Be Mindful (including meditation, Tai Chi and breathing techniques), Be Balanced (massage, pilates and yoga).
And G Adventures, based in Toronto, just introduced a new package—wellness itineraries in 10 different destinations, including Nepal, Iceland, Patagonia, Tuscany and Colombia.
other articles in this section
The Renaissance of Incentive Travel
Promotional products your attendees will love. Really.
Editor's Choice: 6 Springtime Gifts
Warm up to Winter Ski Incentives
Expert Tips for Virtual Incentive Events
Presents of Mind: The Art of Virtual Gifting
Noteworthy: Hamilton Princess & Beach Club, Bermuda
Healthy Options for Incentive Trips
Celebrating Employee Milestones
Healthy employees = Healthy company
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, Florida
How to Design an Effective Gift Card Incentive Program
Fogo Island Inn, Fogo Island, Newfoundland
The Case for including Spouses on Incentive Trips
Rim to River Hiking in the Grand Canyon
Sparkling Hill Resort, Vernon, BC
Creating incentive trips that appeal to everyone
The Brave New World of Gift Cards
Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina
Incentive trips go family-style
Knock-their-socks-off gifts for hard-to-buy-for executives
Customized Recognition Programs
Virtual gift cards, the new reality
Go with a Pro, in the Spa and on the Greens
Canadian tax implications for employee gifts
A Christmas Bonus with all the Fixin's!
Recognizing Environmental Actions in the Workplace
Reward and Recognize Every Day!
Double Pampering Hits the Spot!
Hidden Gems: Cobble Beach Resort
Incentive Programs Used by the Pros
Think Local for Corporate Gifts
Time for an Incentive Travel Update
Reward Best-Practices for the Holiday Season
The Pros and Cons of Gift Cards
Eco-Friendly Corporate Gift Ideas
Speaker Gifts that Shine with Gratitude