Even the best meeting can reach a point where energy begins to flag, attention wanes, and stress begins to build. What better way to handle those challenges than with a spa break? More and more planners are bringing the spa to the meeting by incorporating everything from 10-minute chair massages to yoga stretches during the breaks.
“I don't think it's just a fad,” says Norma Probst, marketing director for the Cranwell Resort, Spa and Golf Club in Lenox, Mass. Probst estimates that as many as one-quarter of the resort's group clientele experience some kind of a spa break.
Maria Sawyer, director of sales and marketing at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub at the Venetian in Las Vegas, says that spa breaks are popular, in part, because “companies are becoming more interested in the health of their employees. It's definitely a growing trend,” she says. “It's certainly more popular now than when we opened five years ago.” She also points out that planners contact her about spa breaks before she has a chance to contact planners.
The spa break isn't confined to U.S. resorts. In London, the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre offers a Bliss Break, during which planners can arrange for their attendees to receive Indian head massages, foot massages, and other treatments.
Fitness breaks are coming into vogue as well. At the Four Seasons Hotel Miami, a choice of “Fit Breaks” include resistance stretching with elastic bands and “hand jive games.”
For spa-less resorts and other venues, planners canout. Spa Chicks On-The-Go, a mobile spa company in New York City, has been in business less than a year but has already built up an extensive corporate business, sometimes in the most unlikely of venues. “We can turn tents into virtual spa rooms,” says president Marie Scalogna.
Bliss doesn't come cheap, however. Narda Henry, spa group coordinator for the Doral Golf Resort and Spa in Miami, reports that chair massage stations in hospitality suites, outside meeting rooms, and even on the golf course have become popular. But, at $160 per chair per hour, things can get pricey, particularly for a large group.
“You can't have just one chair massage for 100 people,” Henry says.