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Add a Wellness Hour

These celebratory or rejuvenating segments prioritize well-being as a vital ingredient in successful meetings

By Amy Durham

In keeping with the trend toward an emphasis on wellness, the old idea of happy hour with free-flowing cocktails and mingling is being supplanted by wellness hours. These celebratory or rejuvenating segments are meant to not only help attendees let
off steam but also prioritize well-being as a vital ingredient in successful meetings.

Happy hours are being replaced by wellness hours, with activities like group yoga. || Photo by NaruFoto, courtesy of Adobe

“The decentralization of alcohol is a long overdue move,” says Meryl K. Evans, a Certified Professional in Accessibility Core Competencies; professional speaker; and consultant in inclusion, accessibility, and marketing. “According to Gallup, 36% of Americans abstain from alcohol. Alcohol-related events are stressful for those who don’t drink alcohol regardless of their reasons. Hosting events without alcohol is more inclusive. It removes peer pressure and fear of having to explain why you’re not drinking.”

Tapatio Springs Hill Country Resort in Boerne hosts regular happy hours with drink specials alongside family-friendly dinners, a singer-songwriter series on the patio, and yoga on the lawn—all events where the vibe is low-key and the pressure to drink is absent.

“Being more inclusive means creating a more inviting event that attracts people from diverse backgrounds,” Evans says. “Meeting planners can reimagine the happy hour to be more inclusive by providing a unique lineup of drinks like mocktails and a signature drink along with the standard staples. Be sure to advertise the event as ‘we will serve food and nonalcoholic beverages.’ This signals these are no-alcohol events and increases the chance of nondrinkers showing up. Doing little things like changing the name from cocktail hour to social hour also makes a difference.”