The Meeting Experience Starts at the Airport

Seasoned planners know that the event begins as soon as a guest steps off of the plane. Arriving in Greater Palm Springs can help you create a wellness-inspired experience right from the start.

While wellness has long been a priority for meeting planners, the pandemic amplified the focus on the priority for attendees, organizers, and corporate leadership alike. New research reveals that wellness is more important than ever as a matter of safety and mental health, in addition to the holistic wellbeing that can inspire big ideas that ultimately impact the bottom line.

But wellness isn’t just about sanitized hotel rooms, ballrooms, and boardrooms: Rather, attendees’ experience of wellness starts as soon as the plane they’re on touches down in the meeting’s host city. Airports are widely known as a common stressor among business and leisure travelers alike—and the mere vision of that cacophonous experience is enough to turn off some would-be attendees before they even commit.

But not all airports are created equal. While some are known to be downright circuslike, others are filled with thoughtfully curated amenities for comfort and convenience. Some are small enough to establish a boutique, resort-like atmosphere that promotes excitement—and preserves energy—for what’s to come. And some, such as Greater Palm Springs’ small but elegant airport, offer both of those characteristics at once for an all-around soothing indoor-outdoor experience that feels like landing in a lush oasis. In fact, it’s been named among the most stress-free airports in America.

Palm Springs International Airport (PSP) is the gateway to Greater Palm Springs and all this nine-city destination has to offer. Such an inviting airport immediately establishes an appropriate sense of place and a jumping-off point for exploring the wellness options that have made this Southern California oasis a top pick among business and leisure travelers. The visitor experience flows logically and seamlessly with the airport setting the vibe as an extension of what awaits attendees.

Here, Daniel Meier, the deputy director of aviation, marketing, and air service for PSP, reveals how the airport experience impacts attendee wellness and attitude.

Promote a Calming, Inspiring Atmosphere

For starters, consider your meeting through the lens of a typical attendee: You plan, you pack, you fly, you land. When you arrive in the meeting’s host city, you can either feel invigorated and optimistic for what’s to come, or you can feel instantly depleted by a chaotic airport atmosphere, which saps the energy you wanted to bring to day one of the sessions.

A laid-back, amenity rich, and even beautiful airport experience helps attendees get centered and enthusiastic. “It really just sets the tone for the entire visit,” Meier explains.

Greater ease of access can also translate to a more stress-free and relaxing experience, which then carries over into the event. In that regard, PSP has moved to meet the ever-increasing demands of business travelers and now offers 13 airlines flying nonstop from more than 30 destinations, and connecting from more than 500 destinations worldwide. Greater ease of access translates to a more stress-free and relaxing experience, which can carry over into the event.

Embrace the Beauty of Nature

While research shows that outdoor environments have always helped promote wellness and inspire creative thinking, the pandemic era has only heightened the desire for events in outdoor spaces as a matter of safety for conference attendees.

Guests know there are risks involved with any type of travel and they want to know their conference organizers are prioritizing their health by seeking outdoor environments. And that doesn’t just mean conference facilities, but for all elements of the travel experience—including the airport.

At PSP, guests pass through the checkpoint into an unexpected, oasis-like courtyard inspired by the destination’s wide-open spaces and beautiful, sunny environs. Picture sidewalks lined with foliage, patios, and outdoor seating.

These surprisingly lush surroundings bring delight to meeting attendees, who can channel that joy into an overall positive conference experience. “People can sit on a patio and watch planes land and take off while grabbing a bite to eat or something to drink,” Meier says. “It’s not uncommon to see people just lounging on the grass like they’re laying in a park. They don’t expect to be outdoors right as they walk off the plane. It’s a really pleasant, welcoming experience for them.”

And you can bet they’ll take that energy right from the terminal into day one of the meeting.

Give Attendees a Sense of Place

As cultural priorities shift, travel continues to trend ever more toward intentional and mindful experiences grounded in culturally and geographically specific environments. That’s a key reason why the airport experience matters as a way for attendees to establish a sense of place immediately—to set the stage for unique local experience rather than a generic hotel backdrop that could be anywhere in the world (or could even be offered on Zoom).

Providing something unique, serene, and even unexpected can help usher attendees into a calm and creative mindset. Consider that the airport in Greater Palm Springs has mountain views as well as citrus trees on site, and when fruit is in season, travelers are welcome to pick their own. “You can grab fruit from a tree and relax in a courtyard with a reflecting pool,” Meier says. “It’s just such a sense of place that lets you know you’re not just in Southern California but in Greater Palm Springs.” Offering a unique experience, and a new perspective on travel can help set things off on the right foot.

This article was written by Visit Greater Palm Springs. Our team is ready to assist you in creating inspirational, unforgettable—and safe—meetings. With year-round sunshine and unlimited outdoor space, the options for your next Southern California meeting or event are endless. Book with confidence, knowing the safety of your attendees is a top priority for our destination.

(Greater Palm Springs CVB)