The $450 billion U.S. wellness industry (as measured by McKinsey & Company) could help meeting professionals design events that are more effective, accommodating and memorable. To demonstrate the power of integrating elements to nurture body and mind into agendas, Caesars Entertainment pulled from its Wellness Menu of activities, F&B options and speakers to immerse a group of 100 meeting professionals and industry watchers in the possibilities over three days at Nobu Las Vegas in Caesars Palace. Smart Meetings attended the Inaugural Global Wellness Summit and here are the takeaways.

Start With the Caregivers

Kelly Gleeson talking into microphone
Kelly Gleeson Smith

Caesars has long offered its staff complimentary fitness centers and access to trainers and nutritionists. The company now also makes a free counseling center available to all Las Vegas team members. Kelly Gleeson Smith, vice president of sales with Caesars Entertainment, explained that the company believes in taking care of employees so they can take care of customers. In turn, those customers who are meeting profs can take care of their attendees better when well rested and nourished.

In other words, wellness fosters a healthier, happier and more productive environment for everyone while strengthening important bonds.

That commitment to wellness included thoughtful meals focused on Mediterranean and scratch-made preparations with limited carbs and sugars. Even the to-go meals for the excursions featured yogurt, fruit and fresh-made granola bars in cute carriers. The final dinner was alcohol-free with refreshing beverage alternatives and an open bar after the closing.

While a variety of menu styles and options were demonstrated, Michele Polci, director of catering sales Las Vegas for Caesars, stressed the importance of knowing your group and picking what will work best and be most appreciated.

 Learn More: Caesars Launches Wellness Menu Ahead of IMEX

Care for Mind and Body


people in ballroom for breathwork session at Caesars Palace
Somatic Breathwork Sessions with Sepideh Eivazi

Since healthy employees and attendees have been shown to be more productive than their tired, less active or nurtured counterparts, Body & Brain Wellness Director Dami Kim suggested exercises that can help reduce stress and increase focus. Her first tip: “Expand the space between stressor and response by breathing mindfully, walking or tapping, instead of acting automatically with aggression and overthinking the problem.”

She added: “Everything looks different when we get out of our mind and into our bodies.”

Learn More: The Life-changing Magic of a Thoughtful Post-con

Similarly, Kristine Iverson, founder of CROW Practice, explained her approach to creating an upward spiral by starting with a positive thought to change your energy. “You go from disempowering beliefs to positive ones in steps on the thought ladder,” said the mental wellness consultant. “That is how you create calm in chaos.”

She suggested incorporating designated relaxation zones at events, using virtual reality to bring calming experiences into ballrooms and integrating wellness from the beginning rather than adding it at the end.

Some down-to-earth suggestions came from former monk Pandit Dasa, who warned that if we don’t make time for wellness, we will be forced to make time for illness. “Peace comes when we live a life of simplicity, humility and service,” he said.

The best way to maximize the effectiveness of the brain is to think of it like a smartphone with too many tasks open, Dasa continued. “If you never close apps, the phone slows down and starts to act sluggish. We need to learn how to close the apps in our mind, or it will drain and deplete us. Closing out the worrisome apps you don’t need can make you more productive, boost emotional intelligence and enhance creativity.”

He continued: “The mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. When you start having negative thoughts about the past or future, ask yourself if they are serving you. If the answer is no, take a deep breath and move back to the present before you get taken on a ride.”

Learn More: How to Go Above and Beyond with Heart and Mind

Nolan Nichols, founder of A Million Dreams, shared tips for creating more moments of wow by incorporating wellness strategies. “Wellness is not a trend; it is here to stay,” he declared. But he also defined wellness broadly. “It isn’t just physical. It is also emotional; learning new things and meeting new people is wellness. Don’t put wellness in a checkbox. It is a lifestyle. It is resilience.”

His approach revolved around planning moments of wellness. “Build more peaks in the day, so you and your attendees can live moment by moment rather than focusing on the problems.”

Learn More: Wellness on a Budget—Cost-effective Ways to Elevate Meetings

Personalized Wellness

brown bagsVitality means different things to different people. That is why giving people agency to pick their level of effort in physical activities, accommodating dietary restrictions and offering a range of activations is the most effective way to have a meaningful impact.

At the opening reception at Nobu Villa, a 10,300-square-foot penthouse boasting Japanese-inspired design elements and panoramic views of The Strip from an expansive patio, activities ranged from aura readings and Scentex diffuser-making to rock crystal-gifting and a Tabl’eau water sommelier.

The Power of Discovery

bridge over canalWhile many have a preconceived notion of what Las Vegas offers, surprising attendees with outdoor educational experiences only a bus ride away expanded perceptions and brought people together with extreme experiences.

Attendees grouped into rafting teams and learned about the building of a modern miracle, the Hoover Dam. The shock and delight of plunging into icy waters on a warm day was a shared experience that will be memorable after the sunscreen has washed away.

Similarly, a trip to cool Spring Mountains National Recreation Area opened attendees’ eyes to the possibilities of group yin yoga and forest bathing an hour from the largest pillarless ballroom in the country, CAESARS FORUM. Guided ranger tours of the area around Mt. Charleston revealed the integration with nature that is both powerful and ancient.

Learn More: Tried Forest Bathing Yet?

Another adventurous way to get a fresh perspective on the No. 1 convention city is a group copter tour at night over The Strip with Maverick Helicopters. The comfortable, fun excursion offers a bird’s eye view over the dazzling lights and nonstop action.

Seal the Deal

people floating in hotel pool surrounded by purple lights
Sound bath at Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis

What better way to seal in the education and connections than with a sound bath ceremony at Caesars Palace’s Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis under a new moon? Rose petal-strewn yoga mats faced a stage where local breathwork experts struck vibrations with specialized bowls, while sage burned and attendees verbalized their feeling of oneness. It was a beautiful thing.