28 March 2014

SilverNeedle Hospitality introduces Healthy MICE Programme

SilverNeedle Hospitality is launching a health-focused MICE programme, ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Thinking’, to meet the growing demand from conference organisers for healthier catering and team-building activities.

Watermelon salad
In a survey* of 85 industry event organisers, almost all, 93%, that said having healthier options on menus was an important consideration when it came to booking venues for their corporate functions and conferences.  
“‘Our Healthy Minds, Healthy Thinking’ programme originated from a real need in the MICE arena,” said Iqbal Jumabhoy, Managing Director and Group CEO of SilverNeedle Hospitality. “With our innovative take on healthy menus and activities, our programme will ensure delegates reap the full benefits of attending the events at our hotels.”
The ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Thinking’ programme focuses on three key areas:  healthy eating, healthy thinking and healthy exercise. As SilverNeedle Hospitality’s research indicates 90% of respondents get restless and lose focus during meetings, the super-charged programme will come with a handy guide packed with tips and tricks on how organisers can mix things up to help delegates stay focused.
Healthy bites
With nutrition strongly linked to concentration, superfood-infused menus with a focus on a brain-healthy diet have been formulated. These menus feature the popular ‘wonder-foods’  such as avocados, blueberries and kale and utilise  healthier cooking techniques such as barbequing, grilling and poaching with less trans-fats, less salt and more cold-pressed oils. 

Menu items such as Vietnamese rice paper rolls and fresh fruit platters, health bars and smoothies are also part of the programme. A fruit and vegetable juice bar will also be available on request.
The ‘Healthy Minds, Healthy Thinking’ programme encourages creative power breaks, simple exercises and mind games to help keep energy and concentration levels high. The growing trend towards active sport/games during conferences was endorsed by over 45% of respondents, who confirmed they have incorporated these into recent events; the most popular being team-building activities.

SilverNeedle Hospitality is committed to making sure every minute counts and has thought outside the box to provide a programme of activities for MICE participants. For longer conferences, tailored team-building experiences are available, including Survivor or Amazing Race-style competitions, cooking classes, and creative activities, including swimming with wild dolphins.

SilverNeedle Hospitality will roll out the programme initially across their Australian branded properties of Chifley, Grand Chifley, Country Comfort, Australis and selected Sundowner hotels, followed closely by the three SilverNeedle Collection hotels in Thailand and Laos.
Click here for more information on the new programme.

*All images from SilverNeedle Hospitality

*Key Research Outcomes of SilverNeedle Hospitality’s MICE Survey

Food and Beverage

· 93% of conference organisers cited healthy catering options as important to their staff and clients with 80% noticing an increase in requests for healthy catering.

· Fresh fruit and salad, at 37% is the most requested healthy catering option. It is closely followed by gluten-free, 35%.

· Food and beverage, at 13%, ranked fourth as a factor in decision making when selecting a venue. The top three included location, at 29%; facilities, 26%; and capacity, accounting for 15%.

· 52% of conference organisers showed a preference for set menu packages whilst 33% preferred tailored menus.

Activities & Team Building

· Nearly 75% of conference organisers have requested team-building activities for at least one event. Of the activities requested, active sports/games are by far the most popular, accounting for 45%.

Focus in meetings

· Nearly 90% of delegates get restless in meetings and conferences but only 72% practice strategies to help them refocus.

· Strategies which delegates felt helped improve concentration the most were taking a break, 37%, and team building which accounted for 21%. Healthy food and exercise were considered the second most effective strategy, when combined, accounting for 33%.

· Nearly 80% of conference organisers believe their staff and clients would be interested in tips and strategies to help them stay focused and engaged in meetings.

Other Research Outcomes – MICE Survey

· 56% of conferences/events take place in capital cities and 29% in regional areas.

· For 50% of conference organisers the most important criterion, when choosing to proceed with a venue, is that their requirements are understood and there is a good level of communication.

· 96% of delegates have separate accommodation and function requirements, with 59% of these delegates contacting the hotel directly for accommodation rates.