5 New Year’s Resolutions Meetings Can Help You Keep
Whether you’ve vowed to lose weight, eat healthier, or learn something new in 2013, the meetings industry has your back.
Since I have the honor of writing the final blog post to appear on AssociationsNow.com in 2012, I figured why not dedicate it to something that’s on the mind of many this time of year: New Year’s resolutions. And while many of us make them only to break them (me included), I figured why not look at five of the most common ones and see how the meetings industry can help all of us stay on track.
1. Exercise more. Meeting planners, hotels, and venues realize it’s important for guests and attendees to maintain their regular workout routines when they’re away. Associations are holding 5Ks or early-morning yoga sessions at their meetings. And hotels are going beyond the traditional hotel gym. For example, Affinia Hotels in New York City and Washington, DC, offer free Walking Tour and StayFit Kits. For the walking tour, guests borrow an iPod Shuffle or Nano loaded with workout playlists, city guidebook featuring popular walking routes, map, pedometer, and towel. StayFit Kits include a yoga mat; stretching blocks; yoga, pilates, and boot camp DVDs; workout bands; wrist and ankle weights; and city map.
2. Eat healthier. In the past, attendees didn’t have the healthiest options when it came to food and drink. But today’s a different story. An article I wrote for the November issue of Associations Now looked at how two convention centers are using fruits, veggies, and honey produced onsite in their meals, making them both fresh and local. And demand for healthy options will likely become greater: According to this article about the National Restaurant Association’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, seven out of 10 diners are trying to eat healthier when dining out.
3. Give back/volunteer. Many associations are adding a charitable component to their meetings and events. Not only does it allow groups to give back to the community, but it also gives attendees another opportunity to connect and chat. Some ways association meetings are doing so: Working on a local Habitat for Humanity home, building bikes for needy kids, collecting money onsite for a local charity, or donating surplus food and beverage or hotel toiletries to local shelters or soup kitchens.
4. Learn something new. Well, this is pretty much a given, considering attending meetings is a way many get their professional development during the year. But besides the traditional general and education sessions, association meetings often have offsite activities that serve as team-builders and develop your “softer” leadership skills. Ropes course or cooking class with fellow staff or board members, anyone?
5. Spend more time with loved ones. How can one attend a meeting and still spend quality time with family and friends? Virtual and hybrid meetings will make that possible by eliminating almost all travel time. And as recent research conducted by Meeting Professionals International Foundation and Sonic Foundry shows, we should expect more of them: 93 percent of planners said their hybrid conference met or exceeded their expectations and 70 percent said they would likely go hybrid again. And meetings that have typically only existed in-person are testing the virtual waters. Last month EIBTM launched a hybrid component, which included streaming five education sessions and a virtual exhibit hall, networking lounge, and resource center.
As for me, learning something new is on top of my resolutions list for 2013. In the past few years, I’ve had friends take up everything from tap dancing to paragliding to snowboarding—and now it’s my turn. I’ve narrowed my list to three: Learning to play the guitar, knitting (again, after a sad attempt at a scarf in 2009), and indoor rock climbing.
What resolutions, whether personal or professional, are you thinking about for 2013? Please share in the comments.