77% of corporate bookers’ main criteria when booking a meeting venue is wellness and wellbeing, reveals research by Hand Picked Hotels

In the fast-moving stressful world of business and particularly since the post Covid era, it is evident teams’ mental and physical wellbeing is a crucial focus for companies. Research by Hand Picked Hotels revealed a staggering 77% of respondents, whose role is booking offsite meetings and events, stated wellness facilities for delegates is now a priority for companies when selecting a venue for a meeting or conference.

Over three quarters (77%) of those surveyed stated the top 5 things planners look for include:

Nutritious food and beverage offering (48%)
A wellness walk (34%)
A wellness experience such as breathing and relaxation techniques or yoga (25%)
Access to spas and health club facilities (24%)
Outdoors activity (19%)

The research conducted by One Poll* on behalf of Hand Picked Hotels, a collection of 21 luxury country houses and coastal retreats across the UK and Channel Islands, examined the priorities for 500 respondents booking meetings, events and conferences offsite in 2024. With more companies leaving remote working behind, the popularity of face to face meetings in 2023 has returned to pre pandemic levels; and with it the focus is now ensuring meetings and events support and aid employees’ physical and mental wellbeing. 

The study also unveiled the 2024 market is all about late bookings, with 43% of planners admitting to booking offsites between one and four weeks out from the meeting or event date and only 2% booking six months out, evidence of more spontaneity in the marketplace. 

Planners cited the top 6 biggest benefits of breaking out to offsite meetings to be:

Free from distractions (47%)
Heightened employee engagement (43%) 
Builds better workplace relations (38%)
Generates stronger teams and teamwork (36%)
Encourages creativity (33%)
Increased productivity (29%) 

These positive outcomes demonstrate planners are breaking away from the normal working environment, as a key tool to help battle employee stress levels, anxiety and burnout. 

Hand Picked Hotels’ Ignace Bauwens, Chief Executive Officer states: “At Hand Picked Hotels we appreciate the demands of a fast-paced corporate life, and the importance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Our 21 unique venues each offer a variety of meeting spaces and facilities, meaning we can ensure delegates smoothly connect in a seamless way between business and well-being, and we put the guest experience top of our agenda every time.”

Thanks to our beautiful grounds, our hotels provide the ability to connect in nature, from taking some time together outside or going for a simple walk. For the more energetic delegates, our hotels also provide first class health club facilities for those pre or post meeting agendas. We really recognise and appreciate the power of mindful movement whatever your pace and we’re delighted to be able to offer a plethora of meeting solutions across the UK.” 

Hand Picked Hotel Director of Sales Ian Cross comments: “Post the pandemic we have seen an unprecedented surge in corporate bookings, with 60% of enquiries requesting to incorporate mindfulness and wellbeing elements in away day bookings. This research also supports the industry trend of more off-site meetings being organised now, compared to five years ago, which is incredibly promising for us and our industry colleagues.”  

New for 2024, Hand Picked Hotels has launched Mindful Meetings, a short and powerful 15 minute session with breathing and relaxation techniques delivered by an expert, to help nurture attendees physical and mental wellbeing

Additionally, the collection of hotels offer:
Space to connect: All the properties in the Hand Picked collection offer green outdoor space for breakouts, some within acres of private grounds with direct access onto walking paths and expansive lawns, or just a few steps from coastal walks.
Food to energise: nutritious and delicious food options are offered to fuel minds and bodies 

For more information, visit: https://www.handpickedhotels.co.uk/wellbeing

* Research was undertaken on behalf of Hand Picked Hotels by One Poll. 
Sample size 500 UK-based professional personal assistants, executive assistants, and those whose job role includes booking meeting spaces and events.. 
Spring 2024