Most of us have felt it: That mid-afternoon lull that comes after lunch, when attendees in a meeting room might reach for soda or coffee as a pick-me-up.
For a group of developers, physicians, researchers, and hoteliers, such moments represented an opportunity, and resulted in Stay Well Meetings, a block of meeting rooms at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Hotel & Resort’s that draw on aromatherapy, circadian lighting, and healthy (and sometimes color-coordinated) foods to engage and invigorate attendees.
“We’ve been thinking about sustainability [in buildings] so long that we sometimes forgot about humans,” said Michael Dominguez, senior vice president of corporate sales for MGM Resorts. “It’s an essential part of the whole CSR platform.”
Two years ago, the MGM Grand embraced that “human” element by rolling out a block of Stay Well guest rooms with purified air, vitamin C–infused shower water, non-toxic surfaces, and light therapy. Demand built so swiftly that the hotel converted an entire floor to the model.
A year later, it introduced those same principles into meeting spaces that debuted last month, and feature ergonomic furniture, aromatherapy, air purification, periodic “brain teasers,” infused drinking waters, and even UV cleaning wands that neutralize microbes. The spaces also draw on changing light — chromatherapy — to energize or relax attendees, according to Paul Scialla, the founder of Delos Living, a New York–based real-estate company that builds “Wellness” homes and counts physicians such as Deepak Chopra among its partners. Scialla wakes himself up each morning with cool lighting panels in lieu of coffee. “Light is medicine,” he said. “The right use of blue light can boost cortisol and reduce melatonin, and increase mental acuity.”
Dominguez hinted that while the cost of a Stay Well Meetings experience might come with a “premium on the room,” it’s not significantly higher than a conventional meeting. Chopra, a partner, chose his keynote speech at MPI’s World Education Congress 2014 in July to announce the project. After his talk, a few planners reached out to Dominguez to find out more. “I think it’s going to take off quite quickly,” he said.
The company’s belief in the concept must be strong: MGM was planning new Stay Well Meetings rooms in a few more of its 19 properties even before the first ones were open for business.