Has a healthy conference and health-conscious behaviour become the new norm? According to one of the leading international trade fair and exhibition associations, the IACC, nutrition and physical well-being are now among the top priorities when it comes to catering at such events. Present articles from IACC and other institutions like MPI or IAPCO, all indicate that although this trend is highly on demand, it has not yet indeed taken off due to a failure to offer attendees what they are after.
If this means for instance visitors are looking to go off-site to get their healthy lunch or snack, then this has a negative impact on the conference, exhibition or trade fair overall. Any organiser of these sorts of events will want attendees to remain at the congress where they are more likely to interchange ideas and find out more about the subject matter at hand. In other words, if you are not providing a healthy event experience for attendees these days, then you will soon have to develop more offerings that cater to healthier lifestyles. What can you do?
Change the Menu for a Truly Healthy Conference
A healthy conference means being able to access foods which are consistent with a healthy diet. All too often, we think of an exhibition or similar event as somewhere to grab food on the go rather than being an integral part of the social exchange that goes on between professionals at such meetings. In some cases, the real networking, or business, is done not on the floor of the convention but at the food concession stall over an informal bite to eat and something to drink. Although burgers and pre-packaged sandwiches are convenient and offer a high potential profit margin, they are not precisely what the current generation of attendees is after nowadays. Organic food, fresh fruits and vegetables, vegetarian dishes, as well as vegan ones, are now expected on virtually every restaurant menu, and so they should appear on your available choices. If you choose to serve drinks at your event, then always offer a non-alcoholic option since some people consider it to be unhealthy to consume alcohol especially in a quasi-professional environment. When snacks are provided, nothing is better than fresh fruit so do away with the traditional things like biscuits and cake before attendees start to make their protests against unhealthy options more vocal.
Get Physical and Make a Healthy Event an Active One
Guests of all generations at healthy events want to take an active part in proceedings. Yes, sedentary lectures and roundtable discussions still have their place at symposia, but there is now a higher demand for something more physically demanding than merely turning up and sitting down to listen. Offer your event’s attendees the chance to get involved with some physical activity even if that is in organised classes run as a side-offering to the main event. If you can integrate physical challenges into the event’s daily routine, so much the better. Since so many events have apps associated with them these days, perhaps to show the layout of the conference floor if nothing else, so you could use an app to work out which attendees have seen most of the event by walking the furthest in a given time, for instance. Some event meeting planners organise physical warm-up sessions before the main action taking place on the morning of an event, such as fun runs around the conference centre.
Leverage Gamification and Health-Conscious Behaviour
For those not in the know, gamification is the application of gaming into non-gaming scenarios. You can use the concept at events and trade shows to encourage healthier outcomes among attendees. According to Forbes, gamification offers, “a strategic move” which has the ability to, “make your event more effective… by providing a memorable way for brands to engage.”
You can use it to provide incentives for actions like very early registration, of course. ut you can also leverage it to give the attendees healthier outcomes. That could be awarding prizes for the visitors who have made the most of the healthier food options available. Or, taken part in the highest number of physical challenges that have been set during the course of the event.
Gamification allows you to reward the sorts of behaviours that guests are increasingly demanding and thereby align your brand with the latest trend for meetings and events of all types. Health-conscious behaviour, along with more physical activity and healthier food options will only continue to define and be part of the meetings of the future.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 45 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.