Wellbeing tops the corporate agenda for event planners

With wellbeing topping the corporate agenda over the last few years, it comes as little surprise that venues such as Center Parcs have seen a year-on-year increase in corporate bookings.

Once categorised as unconventional conference venues, Center Parcs’ four UK locations with conference facilities – Woburn Forest, Sherwood Forest, Longleat Forest and Elveden Forest – are now considered the ‘norm’ as national sales manager, Dan Elliott explains.

“I feel very much that when I started working here, terminology like ‘wildcard’ and ‘unique’ were something that we would be pigeon-holed or boxed into, but I feel in the last 18-months to two-years, we’re now termed more as the norm, but I’d like someone to show me what normal is.

“I see a lot of articles saying that people like Instagrammable locations so you tend to find that for a lot of conferences, unique and quirky venues have become, what I’d class as the norm in the industry,” adds Elliott.

“It’s an interesting shift, but also I feel that it’s moved from the needs of the business to more the desire of the business, or what they feel is important for their delegates, so they’re taking wellness and wellbeing more seriously to reflect their organisation.”

And for Thai restaurant chain, Giggling Squid, which held its first team bonding day at Center Parcs Woburn Forest in May 2019, it was Center Parcs’ teambuilding offering that led them to book the venue.

“It offered the opportunity for our teams to meet outside of their familiar environment which not only helped them focus on the day but allowed people from across the company to meet and interact,” explains Melissa Cullen, Giggling Squid’s marketing and events manager.

“It was our first full team bonding day and included all general managers, head chefs and head office staff.”

“We wanted to lead with a morning conference to deliver our vision for the coming year and discuss the qualities of being a Giggling Squid leader. After breaking for lunch, we moved into an afternoon of activities, working in teams to score the most points. This was followed by our Company Awards Dinner.

“Center Parcs was incredibly helpful and happy to have as many meetings as we felt necessary in order to ensure our event was a success.”

However, Giggling Squid’s teambuilding day presented an unusual challenge for Center Parcs to tackle.

“As we have a high number of Thai employees, we needed the reassurance that all health and safety messages were properly delivered to ensure their wellbeing and safety during the various activities. The Center Parcs team were flexible and helpful and worked alongside us to ensure all briefs were translated into Thai,” explains Cullen.

Cullen added that the teambuilding day was such a success, Giggling Squid has rebooked for its next team bonding day in April this year.