The wellness movement is hot right now. The wellness travel market is also growing; as of 2015 it represented $563 billion (US). You can find wellness options virtually anywhere these days. According to Lucia Pintea of TravelOnly, wellness cruises are increasingly popular among her clients. “People are looking to rejuvenate on holidays and are choosing wellness trips as a way to do so,” she says.
“The energy in the room was palpable. I am so glad I came to the retreat; I am feeling inspired to continue these learnings once I am back home.”
The challenge was to create an integrated program with a holistic range of options such as brain fitness, guided meditation, comedy and delicious food. Expert speakers such as holistic nutritionist Jenn Pike came on board. A renowned artist, Valeria Mravyan, offered art classes and for those who wanted to be more active, yoga classes and a walk in the woods reinvigorated them.
So how do you ensure success when you are creating an event? First of all, branding is essential. The event title, Hearts linked by Courage, was chosen after the book series of the same name. Publisher Sheri Andrunyk, co-chair of the wellness retreat, shared her ideas about storytelling and courageous women who have survived and thrived despite adverse circumstances inspired us to create a meaningful, heart-filled event that could lift up people’s spirits.
“The challenge was to create an integrated program with a holistic range of options such as brain fitness, guided meditation, comedy and delicious food.”
Next, you have to build a well-rounded program that will appeal to your target market. Picking subject matter experts who are also engaging speakers is key. You also have to leave time for sharing of stories among the audience. Suzanne Martineau, one of the delegates, commented, “The energy in the room was palpable. I am so glad I came to the retreat; I am feeling inspired to continue these learnings once I am back home.”
Reaching out to potential partners and sponsors early in the process is recommended in order to keep delegate registration costs at a reasonable level. Sponsorship of the Hearts Linked by Courage Wellness Retreat enabled many opportunities including offering free registration for financially-strapped women, securing Juno Award winner Kelita Haverland for the entertainment portion of the event and being able to distribute meaningful items such as a brain fitness DVD in delegate swag bags.
This year, Health Care Event Planning is looking towards another successful wellness retreat. In the years to come, we plan to explore getaway options in Canada and the Caribbean.
CanSPEP member Malak Sidky is the founder and CEO of Health Care Event Planning. She has a BSc in Biochemistry from McGill University and a Master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Toronto. She is fluently bilingual. Malak has planned and executed a wide variety of health care educational events and projects for various clients in the health and pharmaceutical arena. Her events include webinars, workshops, fundraisers, wellness retreats, continuing medical education (CME) sessions and multi-day conferences. The Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP) is a dynamic, diverse and innovative society of independent event professionals with a leading national voice in the event industry. It is the only association in Canada that offers an exclusive membership to independent event planner entrepreneurs. Formed in 1996, CanSPEP provides forums in which members exchange ideas, develop skills through educational programs and create a public awareness around the profession of event planners. Malak is the vice-president, Special Events of the Canadian Society of Professional Event Planners (CanSPEP).