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April 2017


IRF Research Looks at Wellness in Meetings & Incentive Travel

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A vast majority of corporate and incentive house planners are enthusiastic about wellness, according to a new study from the Incentive Research Foundation. The IRF's newly released 'Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel Study' is an analysis is the integration of wellness into meetings and incentive travel programs. The study provides insights and benchmarks for how meeting planners are successfully incorporating wellness into the incentive travel and meetings programs. The study also uncovers a notable disconnect between an expressed interest and actual implementation of wellness programs.

The IRF conducted the study in November 2016, and received 143 completed surveys from a pool of experienced meeting planners and hoteliers. Responses from 109 were equally split between Incentive House/Meeting Companies and Corporate End Users.

"Each year companies in the United States invest billions of dollars to both help their employees get healthier and additional billions to help them meet face-to-face," said IRF President Melissa Van Dyke. "The research featured in The IRF Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel Study leads us to question how integrated these efforts within organizations are—and what the meetings and incentives industry could do to create better synergies."

The IRF Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel Study, and its accompanying white paper, Spanning the Wellness Divide: From Interest to Action in Meeting and Incentive Travel Wellness provide a detailed look at practices meeting planners are using to design and implement effective wellness programs. Key findings include:

  • The majority of meetings planners agreed wellness is a critical focus for either their company (87 percent) or their client's company (74 percent).
  • More than 90 percent of corporate and incentive house planners are personally enthusiastic about wellness.
  • 40 percent of meeting planners indicated meetings were "mostly healthy," and 19 percent said "very healthy."
  • The top standard preferred food & beverage wellness inclusions for meetings and events were healthy snacks (83 percent), water and reduced calorie drinks (82 percent) and fish, chicken and lean meats (80 percent).
  • Smoke-free facilities (90 percent) and free access to fitness facilities (80 percent) were the top-ranked standard or preferred meeting design elements supporting wellness.
  • Offering water and reduced calorie drinks as the default (77 percent) had the lowest expected impact on F&B budgets.
  • Emerging wellness practices include "mindfulness breaks or resources" and "guides to nearby health facilities."

The IRF Wellness in Meetings and Incentive Travel Study also features feedback and examples from meeting planners about what practices are budget-friendly, what practices are most effective, and what their "wish list" would be if constraints were unlimited.

To learn more, visit www.theirf.org.