Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

March 07 2016

Why Wellness Is A Difference-Maker For The Meeting Experience

Jeanna Hofmeister



We’ve all experienced meeting fatigue. No matter how compelling the content, or how dynamic the presenters, professional development often equates to hours of sitting, note taking and networking. But what if an infusion of wellness became a part of every meeting, conference or convention?

At Cooper Hotel Conference Center and Spa in Dallas, TX, a sixty-plus room hotel and first-class meeting facilities are complemented by a 30-acre campus dedicated to overall wellness. Cooper Hotel’s conference center offers 8,000 square feet of flexible indoor and outdoor meeting space filled with fresh air and natural light. Ideal for groups up to 250, the facility offers all the high-tech tools required to host successful meetings, including complimentary high-speed WiFi and state of the art audio/visual equipment. But the big differentiator, according to Kevin Gilliland, Executive Director of Innovation360, and a regular Cooper Hotel client, is that it’s enveloped in a health and wellness environment.

 “Cooper Hotel is like an oasis in the city,” says Gilliland. “We hold strategic planning meetings and corporate retreats there a couple of times a year. You can go for a relaxing run right outside your door.” Hotel guests can enjoy the Cooper campus, which features a one-mile outdoor cushioned walking/jogging trail along with lighted tennis courts, two outdoor temperature-regulated pools and a 52,000 sq. ft. fitness center where trainers are happy to plan organized group fitness activities for attendees, from yoga to group walks and runs. 

Cooper’s team also offers a variety of lectures on topics from nutrition and fitness to sleep and stress relief.  Fifteen minute fitness breaks could range from quick yoga and deep breathing to stretching and strength moves to do at your desk or while traveling.  They also offer healthy meal options that can be added to any meeting package. Gilliland stresses the importance of that health and wellness environment in creating a positive and, more importantly, a productive environment for learning. “We want people to engage with their co-workers; to get a sense of our company culture. That’s not always best done sitting and listening to lectures.”

Catching The Wellness Wave

While this line of thinking might seem cutting-edge to some, and perhaps a little over the top to others, it has been at the forefront of Cooper’s philosophy. Since 1970, they’ve been stressing disease prevention and fitness along with health and wellness. Now, the focus on mindfulness, practicing stress relief and offering group fitness breaks is becoming more widely incorporated into traditional meeting curriculums across the country.

“This is all about becoming your optimal self,” says Alison Zecha, a Honolulu-based consultant and specialist at introducing wellness principles to corporations and conferences. At a recent leadership development retreat, Zecha introduced CEOs and corporate executives to mindful relaxation activities as a group. “It doesn’t have to be a difficult or mind-bending experience,” she says. Post conference, attendees reported they were more focused, centered and fully present. “They felt better equipped to make critical business decisions.”

Gilliland agrees that the commitment to a healthier attendee experience is more than just a key to effective meetings. “Being successful is difficult,” he says, but investing in these kinds of offerings has a long-term payoff. “Companies are realizing a return when their employees are both physically and emotionally well. Promoting these things leads to a more successful and joyful life.” 

Creating A Health-Conscious Culture For Your Attendees At Cooper

In Dallas, Cooper’s wellness campus offers a rich history focused on health and well-being that goes back some 45 years. Cooper Aerobics Center is home to the world’s largest repository of fitness data as it relates to health and is recognized the world over as an authority in wellness, research and education—helping millions lead longer, healthier, happier lives. 

In fact, they even offer a Fit Business curriculum - a unique leadership training program focusing on the link between fitness and effective, more productive leadership and how to build a wellness culture in their own organizations. To learn more about Cooper Hotel and Conference Center and integrating wellness into your next meeting, contact Hayley Hamre at 972.490.9174 or hhamre@cooperhoteldallas.com.

                    Brought to you by Cooper Hotel Conference Center & Spa

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