How wellness challenges benefit all

Sometimes telling people that their health is important isn’t enough. Dangling a proverbial carrot is required to spur group behavior. Spark a little competition and motivation among attendees with tangible prizes to get them moving—enhance that swag with some flashy branding and boom—it’s a win-win all around.  

The Caesars Entertainment Global Wellness program concluded June 10 following a robust turnout of participants eager to clock steps, strike downward dog yoga poses, journal their feelings, share tales of their fitness journey and help put a dent in Co2 emissions in the process. All participants had a shot to win a wide array of prizes from Caesars-branded swag to getaway retreats with all the fixings at a Caesars property in Atlantic City, Lake Tahoe and Vegas.  

By the event’s conclusion, 1,077 participants had racked up 5.5 million points based on steps—the equivalent of 2,887 miles—the distance from New York City to Los Angeles. The overall mileage reduced CO2 emissions by 846.5 kg or 1,866.2 lbs., an amount of the pollutant that equals 102,971 smartphones being charged or the production of 10,223 plastic water bottles produced.

Read MoreWhy Meeting Planners Should Put Wellness First

To facilitate the challenge in celebration of Global Wellness Day 2023, Caesars Entertainment partnered with Heka Health, designers of the Heka Well app, which allowed participants to track their progress using their smartphones and/or Garmin, Fitbit, or Apple Watch using a cumulative points system.  

Holistic Health

When asked what wellness represents, Heka Health founder Anthony Joseph Salah said, “Wellness is actively pursuing a state of good health and well-being.” He added, “We look across many dimensions including mental and physical wellness.”  

Salah went on to elaborate that the concepts of well-being and healthy lifestyles go beyond breaking a sweat in the gym or visiting a mental health professional. That includes taking care of ourselves in a spiritual sense and creating and maintaining a healthy connection with the world around us. “Even financial wellness is important,” he said as that can impact overall well-being. 

The wellness journal component encouraged participants to jot down three things they’re grateful for on a daily basis. “It switches your mindset and it’s really easy,” Salah said, adding that the benefit of journaling has been documented across numerous studies.  

A Healthy Industry is a Happy Industry

While it’s no secret that meeting professionals are very passionate about their work, it’s also no secret that the immensity of the job can be trying at times. “It has been shown to be one of the most stressful professions out there,” he said. The pandemic definitely did not help. Combine high-stress levels with a lack of physical activity and you get a heightened need for folks in the events industry to practice more self-care.  

“Wellness is not a trend—although it does get trendy.”

Anthony Joseph Salah

The benefits of wellness programs for meeting professionals also aid guests and host companies seeking a return on their investment when hosting an event. If success looks like information being effectively shared and retained by attendees, then programs have to overcome everything from a lack of sleep, alcohol consumption and travel stresses to reach their goals.  

Read MoreTo Your Health—on Every Level

Wellness exercises can help people feel more alert and retain information better. “It’s really about having a fun experience,” Salah says. Beyond the chance to win an attractive prize, Salah says it’s the overall aesthetic and gamification of the app that maintains the draw to participate. The app also featured an embedded chat room that allowed participants to accumulate points simply by connecting with others, noting that communication between participants helped them to stay motivated.  

 Winning the Long Game

After other activations, Salah shared that participants have reported the experience started them on a whole new routine. “An increasing number of our customers are staying connected with their communities,” he reported. While he believes a routine requires individual commitment, it is much more sustainable if it is done as part of a community.

“Wellness is not a trend—although it does get trendy,” Salah said.