To the great outdoors and your health

Golf, scuba diving, trips to lavish island destinations, hot air ballooning—incentives come in all shapes and packages—but how often is one incentivized with a refreshed mental and physical state in the form of restorative travel? The format in the case of many meetings and events is to clear division of church and state, that is to say; ‘you’ve engaged in our educational material, now get out there and splash around on that pristine piece of beach or enjoy an invigorating spa visit…’ All fine and well, to be sure, but what if there was a perfect blend of work and play that creates a seamless experience?

The trend of providing meeting attendees with separate wellness spaces has picked up steam in recent years as many, including meeting producers, have grown more mindful about the mental wellness of their guests—especially when considering certain global events that may have been stress-inducing for some—and have started implementing wellness and meditation lounges that give individuals the space they need to momentarily step back and recharge mentally, emotionally and physically.

Location, Location, Location

Cliché? Yes. Significant? Even more so. A relaxing spa day, yoga class, or even guided meditation are great methods to assist people in winding down after a day of meetings, but these things can take place anywhere. In some instances, the sheer beauty and geography of a location can generate a level of serenity that will not only allow a person the calm needed to be present and fully participate just by being there.

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The State of Utah is beautiful year-round and is a great option to incentivize attendees with a relaxing and memorable experience. With renovations completed in 2017, Hyatt Centric Park City located in the Wasatch Mountains provides access to endless activities for any season all ensconced in a breathtaking landscape. “There’s no traffic, there’s no noise, it’s not busy—it’s totally stress-free,” said Marissa Goldman, senior account executive at Bread & Butter. “There are so many benefits of being removed from stress and immersed in nature that help lower your heart rate,” she continued.

And having access to outdoor activities and scenic views right outside a resort will also help to reduce the stress experienced by planners as logistical coordination will be a more streamlined process. Plus, many of the activities don’t require an exorbitant fee or hefty equipment rentals. “Snowshoeing is a great option during the winter,” Goldman said. “It’s not really expensive and you don’t need to buy ski passes that can collectively run thousands of dollars when they need to be purchased for everyone,” she said. “You only need to rent snowshoes and you can go as a group and it’s exercise but it’s not too hard and the group gets to be together.” During the summer months, groups can explore the area by taking a hike or bike ride as a group.

Meetings and Relaxation are In Their Nature

Attendees will enjoy the abundance of natural beauty surrounding Little America Flagstaff including eight National Park Monuments, four state parks, golf courses, numerous hiking trails and even a ski resort. Even the meeting spaces quartered at the AAA-approved Four Diamond hotel are close to the surrounding landscape, creating a streamlined meeting experience. “The hotel has placed a large emphasis on the indoor/outdoor group experience,” Goldman said. “The hotel is located on 500 acres of scenic land in the Ponderosa Pine Forest,” she said. “It’s a really beautiful space.” What’s more, the hotel has its own nature trail immediately in the hotel’s backyard, allowing attendees to easily get out and decompress in the gorgeous surroundings.

Read MoreWhen Mother Nature Is an Unwanted Attendee at Your Meeting or Event

Little America Hotel & Resort Cheyenne in southwestern Wyoming is the largest convention hotel in the state creating the perfect blend of meetings with a scenic backdrop. Cheyenne is laced with 10-foot-wide detached concrete pedestrian paths known as “Greenways,” which allows people to maneuver safely around the area. Outdoor attractions include the Terry Bison Ranch where guests can get up close and personal with the lumbering beasts amid the wild backdrop at the Wyoming/Colorado border.

The hotel is situated on 80 acres on the iconic Wyoming prairie. “I think just being surrounded by nature and being in close proximity to a lot of state parks,” Goldman says, noting that the hotel is a distance from Wyoming’s top-billed state parks, such as Yellowstone or the Grand Tetons, resulting in a lower volume of traffic but is still surrounded by greenery.

This article appears in the May/June 2023 issue. You can subscribe to the magazine here.