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3 Ways to Market Your Destination’s Meaningful Group Travel Experiences

The emphasis on in-person meetings is stronger than ever. Yet, according to the 2024 American Express Global Meetings and Events Forecast, industry leaders say it’s harder to attract attendees to events away from home. So, how do you make sure meeting planners know your destination will build attendance? You need to market your destination’s meaningful group travel experiences, including wellness, sustainability and local immersion.

Here’s a look at three trends continuing to gain steam in the meetings industry that your destination organization can incorporate into content marketing and beyond. 

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1. Wellness Opportunities for Attendees

A growing trend toward wellness and work-life balance continues the rise of bleisure travel. According to Hilton’s 2024 Trends Report, more than a third of Gen Z and Millennial business travelers worldwide said they plan to extend a business trip in 2024 to enjoy leisure time before or after their work obligations.  Accor’s Meeting Expectations: The Future of Meetings & Events Report also found that meeting, incentive, conference and exhibition (MICE) experiences are being curated around the wellness of attendees, including downtime in agendas. Smart Meetings discussed this in a webinar, How To Avoid Wellness-Washing, saying this downtime gives attendees moments to practice self-care, like getting enough sleep and relaxing to help manage stress and anxiety. 

Your destination likely has ample ways to incorporate wellness into meetings — you just need to raise awareness among planners through content, email and social media marketing. Jeanine Cliffe, who has a passion for incorporating transformational wellness experiences into meetings and events, talked in the Smart Meetings webinar about the significance of incorporating science-backed wellness practices, like physical activity, meditation and nature exposure to enhance attendee well-being and engagement. For example, Digital Edge helped VisitColumbusGA showcase how the city’s RiverWalk, a scenic 15-mile linear park, makes it convenient for meeting attendees to get outdoors and get some movement in between sessions. We also assisted Daytona Beach in raising awareness among planners about the destination’s outdoor group activities in the Florida sunshine — from paddleboarding to pickleball.

Strategies for integrating wellness into meetings from the planning stage also include selecting venues that offer amenities, food & beverage options and experiences to promote well-being. Which of your group hotels have spas and yoga classes? What restaurants offer local eating experiences where planners can host group dining or order catering? These are other questions to ask yourself when marketing your destination’s wellness experiences. 

We also worked with Visit Lake Tahoe to create a blog on wellness for meetings in the alpine destination — including healthy dining to nourish attendees. We interviewed one of the destination organization’s team members to ensure restaurants that use fresh, local ingredients are being highlighted. 

A serene lakeside view with towering pine trees and distant mountains, featuring Adirondack chairs in the foreground and a person enjoying the scene, all cast in a cyan tint.

2. Sustainability in Your Destination

“Sustainability is now at the heart of meetings and events,” the Accor report states. The American Express survey reports that 70% of respondents said that sustainability has been strongly adopted in their meeting program and that 69% said it is very or extremely important for their organization. 

There are different ways to convey your destination’s commitment to sustainability — from reducing its carbon footprint to protecting cultural heritage. Visit Park City tells the destination’s story of sustainability to meeting and conference planners through the HOME framework:


Outdoor Recreation

Management (of the destination)


Visit Carlsbad spotlights its sustainability initiatives by providing planners with best practices for green meetings and events. The destination also shows planners how their groups can contribute to the management of the destination by partnering with nonprofit organizations dedicated to preserving the Agua Hedionda and Batiquitos lagoons. 

Digital Edge also worked with Explore Branson to grow awareness about the measures toward sustainability being taken by the destination’s event venues, including the Branson Convention Center and meeting hotels. 

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3. Immersion in Your Local Community

Meeting attendees are also expecting cultural immersion that supports local communities, according to Marriott International’s 2024 Emerging Travel Trends. The survey found that 26% of respondents said they want corporate social responsibility (CSR) experiences to be included in group activities. 

As a destination known for authentic hospitality and grace, Visit Savannah provides planners with a comprehensive guide to CSR programs that inspire attendees to get involved in the community and make a difference. One option is collaborating with the Girl Scouts, whose founder, Juliette Gordan Low, was born in the city. 

Visit Rapid City honors the area’s culture — which has roots dating back to the Lakota, Nakota and Dakota tribes of the Oceti Sakowin as well as the Cheyenne, Arapaho, Kiowa, Kiowa-Apache, Arikara and Mandan nations who lived and traveled throughout the Black Hills — and creates a welcoming environment for all by showing planners how they can integrate Native American experiences into meetings.

Choose Chicago’s tips for meetings include a blog on the different ways the destination’s community impacts events, heightening awareness about its 77 unique communities representing cultures from around the world and the destination organization’s Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives to support the city’s economic diversity. Chicago also has ways for groups to give back with meaningful team-building activities that support local charities. 

Need more help telling stories to planners about your destination’s meaningful meeting experiences?

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