Event Design

Adventure and Wellness Trips in High Demand  

Skift Take

Planners are now leveraging the demand for adventure and wellness-focused activities, boosting the popularity of experience-led properties and resorts.

Perhaps the Covid pandemic caused people to dwell on the state of their health. Maybe sheltering in place spurred a deep desire to venture into the world and embrace new experiences. Whatever the cause, travelers are increasingly eager to engage in exhilarating experiences and activities to impact wellness positively. Demand is strong for adventure and wellness trips.

Planners now have access to endless options for providing groups with adrenaline-pumping activities. Adding a level of adventure incentivizes attendees and makes a lasting impression. From skiing the tallest North American peaks to relaxing instructor-led meditation and spa treatments, almost everything is possible.

“I’ve seen more of a consistent pattern of inquiries since the pandemic. Individuals and incentive groups want team-building experiences that are healthy and remind us to create balance in our overall lives,” said Sheli Hinds Armstrong, owner and CEO of Destination Southwest. 

Regionally Inclined 

Incentive travel focused on specific regions adds another dimension of wellness to any activity. Natural settings allow attendees to disconnect from the bombardment of everyday life and embrace being in the moment. 

“I receive requests from clients that are interested in mindfulness courses, yoga retreats – such as a full moon yoga experience in White Sands National Park in southern New Mexico,” said Hinds Armstrong, adding that the natural features in the immediate area include natural hot springs offering a relaxing and healing experience that’s geographically unique.

The vastness of the Southwest, stretching to the towering span of the Great Rocky Mountains, allows for countless activities. It offers endless open spaces and challenging terrain far beyond the confines of spa services and exercise studios.

Ascending to New Heights 

Adventures are on offer to everyone in the Rocky Mountain town of Telluride. Here, adrenaline-seeking clients have a wide selection of activities to choose from. One such option is a guided climb up an ice-covered mountain using ice axes. Planners can unlock endorphin-boosting adventures while having the opportunity to facilitate meetings to achieve client goals.

The adventure-forward Madeline Resorts and Residences specializes in group incentive activities. The resort is just 15 minutes from the Telluride Regional Airport (KTEX). In addition to the half-day ice climbing excursions, groups can also helicopter to the top of one of the highest skiable elevations in North America. Groups have the chance to hit six epic runs totaling 14,000 vertical feet. 

Meetings set at the resort are surrounded by the area’s natural beauty as well. With 4,000 square feet of meeting space, with plenty of natural light and glimpses of the San Juan Mountains. 

Into The Deep Blue 

The adrenaline is sure to be flowing when attendees get up close and personal with lions or great white sharks. This may make meetings and sessions a welcomed respite away from the wild beasts.

As a global hotspot for great white sharks, Cape Town, South Africa, has become a top destination for aquatically-minded thrill-seekers. With several high-end hotel brands in the area, clients can combine comfort with the thrills of connecting with rare wildlife.

Protea Hotel Cape Town Mowbray, a Marriott brand, is located within a historical Cape Dutch Manor house (dating back to 1880) and is a 15-minute drive from the Cape Town International Airport and 10 minutes from the Cape Town International Convention Center. One of the areas most commonly used for cage diving with great whites, Gansbaai, aka “shark alley,” is roughly two hours away from Cape Town. 

Tracking Mountain Lions in Wine Country

Land lovers can embrace the same sort of thrill around cavorting with predators in North America at Stanly Ranch, Auberge Resorts Collection. The resort, is located In California’s Napa Valley, known for its prolific wine scene. Its unique offering involves tracking one of the state’s most elusive residents, the mountain lion (Puma concolor) in the animal’s natural habitat. Groups track the majestic animals under the lead and guidance of wildlife conservationist Dr. Quinton Martins and educator Liz Martins.

When participants aren’t hot on the trail of the giant cats, they can work in one of the resort’s meeting spaces. This includes the 4,532 sq ft Glasshouse Barn and the 1,988 sq ft Garden House, both offering views of the gorgeous surroundings and ample natural lighting. 

Meeting Well 

Planners can instantly instill a sense of wellbeing throughout their group by immersing them in a gorgeous, natural setting. Red Mountain Resort in southern Utah offers a wide selection of wellness services and activities, all within the breathtaking landscape of the Greater Zion region. 

Attendees can refocus their energy through a Shamanic healing session. The can also opt to burn calories traversing the switchbacks laced throughout Angel’s Landing on a guided hike. Meanwhile, the resort offers planners plenty of options for organizing productive meetings or larger events. 

“We all have our unique passions, and we get to blend them all together here,” said Red Mountain Resort General Manager Tracy Welsh. The resort’s commitment to wellness is evident at the Canyon Breeze Restaurant. It uses local and sustainably-grown ingredients in the amazing selection of health-forward dishes. The restaurant can accommodate groups of eight to 24 guests. 

The 55-acre resort features multiple indoor meeting spaces spanning 10,000 square feet of event space. Planners can also utilize the 1,931-sq.-ft. Glen Canyon Gazebo, which can accommodate 200 attendees for a seated reception or 152 for banquets.