IMEX America Brought Mindfulness to the Show Floor — Here’s How
A conference with several thousand people sounds like an unlikely place to zen out. Yet the organizers of IMEX America and one major hotel company, understanding the immense benefits of meditation, helped conference goers do exactly that at this year’s event, held Sept. 10-12 in Las Vegas.
The IMEX Be Well Lounge
The event organizers behind IMEX America chose Las Vegas-based Lee Papa as the wellness expert to lead the mindfulness exercises inside its Be Well Lounge. Throughout four days (including Smart Monday), she led 25 guided meditations, ranging from 15 to 30 minutes each. It was a short, simple escape from the busy environment outside, and a welcome respite for attendees — many of whom participated in multiple sessions.
“Mindfulness, at its simplest form, means awareness — awareness of your thoughts, your inner dialogue, your actions, the world around you — in a non-judgement[al] [way],” says Papa. “Having an experience where you are able to quiet the mind and go within to find the peace that dwells just below the surface of the madness … is life changing.”
Papa first connected with IMEX five years ago, when the team brought her in as a speaker. She loved the industry so much that she decided to close her 6,000-square-foot wellness center in Las Vegas to focus on educating and inspiring members of the meetings and events community. She says she’s honored to be a part of helping IMEX grow its mindfulness training for attendees since 2015.
“With an industry that wears stress like a badge of honor, the core focus [is] on mindfulness and meditation training,” says Papa. “Just as [the words] wellness and well-being began to be utilized by forward thinkers, we introduced and made the commitment to provide this life-shifting mindfulness and meditation training to an industry that would impact the world. The mind-shift is underway.”
Hyatt’s Meditation Bubble
Inside the trade show, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts had a hit on their hands with the company’s Meditation Station. First introduced at IMEX Frankfurt in May, the giant bubble also traveled to GBTA in Chicago before debuting at IMEX America this year.
More than 500 people experienced the seven-minute guided meditation session, according to Hyatt officials. Attendees kicked off their shoes and locked up their belongings in a set of lockers outside the air-filled bubble, then headed inside, a few at a time (to preserve the air pressure). Once inside, they sat on fluffy pillows surrounded by soft lighting and donned headsets to be guided through a relaxation exercise.
“We received positive feedback from our customers, and many expressed their gratitude for having a quiet place to take a break from the trade show floor,” says Asad Ahmed, senior vice president of global sales for Hyatt Sales Force. “The most rewarding moments were those when we saw attendees return to the station each day of the conference.”
Hyatt first created the Meditation Station to provide an opportunity for attendees to recharge, and therefore make a positive impact on the way they functioned during the day. The company is currently exploring ways to help clients bring in more wellness elements, such as the Meditation Station, to their own meetings in the future.
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