Healthy meetings create an atmosphere that supports attendees eating well, getting proper exercise, and are also conscious of the environmental footprint they leave behind. By providing a healthier meeting atmosphere, you are sending a clear message that the health of your attendees’ is important to your organization.
There are many relatively easy healthy meeting practices planners can implement. We hope you are already instituting some of them! So, just how committed are you to having a healthy meeting? Take this short quiz and find out!
Circle your answers to the questions below:
- You don’t routinely ask your CVB sales representative or hotel/venue representative about healthy meeting options during the planning stages. You can identify some healthy options once on -site to implement during your meeting.
- You discuss with your CVB sales representative the chosen venue’s experience/reputation for holding healthy meetings including food and beverage, opportunities/facilities for physical exercise, and awards and certifications for sustainability, and include them in your RFP to evaluate the options.
- You don’t ask during the planning stages about healthy meetings options. Your attendees can always find healthier options outside of meeting hours.
Food and Beverage: Drinks
- You provide water, 100% juice, low-fat or non-fat milk, soymilk and some sugary drinks such as soda because you know your attendees will be asking for them.
- You eliminate all sugar-sweetened beverages, and make a point of promoting to your attendees your choice to provide healthier options during meeting times.
- You stick with soda and coffee. It’s easy and it’s what you think most people will want.
Food and Beverage: Food
- You modify the existing menu to include more fruits and beverages and some healthy food options during some of the meals.
- You ensure each menu has proper portion size and always has fresh fruits and vegetables as options. Require whole grains, while also paying attention to sodium and trans and saturated fats on the menu.
- You utilize the menu provided by the venue. I’m sure they have already thought about all of these things, plus I want the attendees to eat the yummiest options.
- You support physical activity by providing walk/run maps from the venue, allow for comfortable shoes and clothes to make it easier for attendees to move around during meetings, encourage attendees to stand and move around during the meeting.
- You provide options for physical activity throughout the meeting (optional 5k, walking/running map, yoga/exercise options), only contract with hotels that have a fitness facility available at no cost to attendees, and encourage attendees to stand and move around during meetings.
- You do not include physical activity breaks or options during or after meeting hours. Attendees can always fit in their exercise on their own time.
Sustainability: Meeting Materials
- You have recycling bins available throughout meeting areas, make materials available online to avoid printing and reduce waste and packaging materials whenever possible.
- You do the entire above, plus utilize locally-sourced and sustainably-produced food, and strive to conduct a zero-waste meeting.
- You assume the venue already has sustainability practices in place, which is sufficient.
Sustainability: Venue and Resources
- You try to book hotels/venues that claim they are environmentally conscious.
- You only book hotels that have certified sustainable practices in place, and look for those who are award winners as well.
- You don’t really think about the venue’s sustainability practices when booking.
- You ensure the venue is a smoke free venue.
- You provide a tobacco-free environment at all times, and select a destination that has a comprehensive smoke-free policy that includes restaurants and bars.
- You don’t worry about the venue. Most venues provide smoke free areas and there are always options for people who don’t smoke and want to get away from it.
Take a look at your responses.
If you answered mostly 1’s: You are definitely on the right track with featuring healthy meeting initiatives, but may not include it as an integral part of your planning process. Look for ways to add in additional healthy options in your food and beverage, physical exercise, or sustainability.
If you answered mostly 2’s: Congratulations! You have what we call a Superior Healthy Meeting. You ensure throughout the meeting that hosting a healthy meeting is an important element of the meeting experience for your attendees.
If you answered mostly 3’s: Planning healthy meetings isn’t a priority for you at the moment. Now might be a good time to implement some healthy meeting strategies into your program.
For a deeper dive into incorporating healthier choices into all aspects of your meeting, might we suggest the Healthy Meeting Toolkit, produced by the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI).
Interested in getting your meeting on a healthy track? Get in touch with a CVB sales professional at www.empowerMINT.com who can help you identify hotels and venues in the destination who are savvy healthy meeting providers. As destination experts, CVB sales professionals have the in-market knowledge and relationships to help get your meeting healthier than ever.