Caesars Bets Big on Wellness with New Menu for Event Planners

Skift Take

Las Vegas is not a destination that is associated with wellness. Caesars Entertainment is working to change this perception.

Caesars’ inaugural Global Wellness Summit took place against a backdrop of the U.S. wellness market reaching $480 billion, according to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Company’s latest Future of Wellness research. Eighty-two percent of U.S. consumers now consider wellness a top or important priority in their everyday lives. But does this extend to the meetings and conferences they attend?

“Wellness is a big part of our company DNA,” said Reina Herschdorfer, Caesars’ director of marketing, meetings, and events. “We designed our wellness menu to make it easy for planners to add elements to their programs that promote physical and mental health.”

Caesars brought some of the offerings to life for a group of 120 planners, media and staff members June 4-7.

Wellness Must be Intentional

Wellness at events must be intentional, according to David T. Stevens, co-founder of Olympian Meetings, a company specializing in mindfulness and wellness for meetings. For Stevens, wellness must be well thought-out, from the design of the agenda, the food that is served, and the activities that are offered to setting the room in a way that addresses the needs of attendees.

“You can’t just throw a wellness activity into a meeting agenda and expect it to make a difference. It’s important to connect the dots for attendees about the why,” Stevens said.

Research from Freeman, the global events agency, states that less than 3% of attendees and 2% of exhibitors consider wellness an important element of the event experience. “This kind of activity is not what people will pay for and fly across the country for. They attend events to learn, network, have fun, and conduct business,” said Ken Holsinger, senior VP of strategy for Freeman.

Holsinger adds that although most meeting attendees will not attend a gathering just for wellness, it can enhance an experience.

Caesars Simplifies Wellness

The summit’s opening reception was held at Nobu Villa in the Nobu Hotel at Caesars Palace, and health-focused activations were featured. Aura readings, crystal selection, and an aromatherapy activation dotted the outdoor patio, which also featured healthy food and zero-proof beverages.

Education was featured in an inventive setting, sitting on “back jack” meditation chairs on the plush blue carpet in the restaurant MR CHOW.

Education sessions at MR CHOW restaurant (Source: Caesars Entertainment)

Wellness speakers featured on Caesars Wellness Menu included Director of Body and Brain Wellness Dami Kim, who shared various ways for people to better connect their body and mind to promote more creativity.

Kristine Iverson, founder and owner of Coordinated Response on Wellness (CROW) Practice, talked about ways to stay calm during chaos. Author, speaker and former monk Pandit Dasa discussed strategies for creating more mindful and positive workplaces to reduce quiet quitting and keep employees happy.

Nolan Nichols, founder of A Million Dreams, spoke about the positive impacts of infusing more wonder and celebration in your daily life to have a more positive mindset. Sepideh Eivazi, a founder of Dawn of the Earth, taught the group about the Emotional Freedom Technique of tapping, which involves activating pressure points with positive affirmations. She also conducted a session on somatic breathing, during which attendees used breathing techniques to flush out stress from the mind and body.

Nature Excursions

The Global Wellness Summit also offered attendees the chance to connect with nature, many expressing surprise that such scenic settings are a short drive from the Strip. At Mount Charleston, a Yin Yoga session was led by Christine Frazzitta, founder of Zeeta Body, surrounded by towering pines. Pre-selected hikes of varying intensities followed, led by park rangers. 

Yin Yoga session at Mt. Charleston (Source: Caesars Entertainment)

A mix-up resulted in the least strenuous group on the tougher trail and the more experienced hikers on the easiest trail. This proved to be challenging, especially given the desert heat, but the park rangers helped everyone get back unscathed.

Another off-site excursion that became even more challenging for organizers, given the heat, was a Hoover Dam Rafting Adventure on the Colorado River. As temperatures hit 109 Fahrenheit, Caesars was prepared. Sun hats, sunscreen, insect-repellent bracelets, cold water, and iced towels were all on hand. According to LaTonya Broome, an events professional who was part of the trip, this demonstrated the importance of having a well-prepared event planner.

A highlight for many was a first for Caesars Palace. A sound bath meditation at the Garden of the Gods Pool had some attendees floating on rafts, soaking in the rhythms.

Taking a “sound bath” at the Garden of the Gods Pool Oasis (Source: Caesars Entertainment)

This entire experience was scheduled to be held by the pool, but when the temperature broke the 100-degree mark, dinner was quickly diverted to a ballroom. This showed the importance of a contingency plan for all aspects of an event.

Vegas Works to Attract Wellness-Focused Groups

Just as Las Vegas is not usually associated with wellness, an event professional shared the misconceptions she had to overcome when suggesting the city for her healthcare group. In the past, Chartis, a healthcare consulting company, has gathered its employees in the Asheville, NC, mountains, Jackson Hole, WY, and Florida.

When its RFP returned with Las Vegas, the company’s CEO shared his reservations with Emily Nuzzo-Fouts, events and connectivity manager at Chartis. 

After Caesars sent a list of experiences it could curate for the group, upper management gave Nuzzo-Fouts the go-ahead. 

“From goat yoga at the pool to activities in Red Rock Canyon, the program was a huge success,” she says. So much so there is talk about returning.

Photo credit: Caesars Entertainment / Caesars Entertainment