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How to Host an Educational Spa Lunch

Spas and business lunches might not seem like a workable pairing, but you might be surprised how much a massage and facial can improve your team's productivity.
Spas and business lunches might not seem like a workable pairing, but you might be surprised how much a massage and facial can improve your team's productivity.
E Dygas/Photodisc/Getty Images

Anyone who's ever been charged with leading a training session or seminar knows that keeping the audience alert and engaged is no easy task. Even after meeting the challenges of researching and preparing a presentation, there's still no guarantee that the audience will stay awake to hear you, if they even show up at all.

To draw more employees to workplace training sessions, many corporations have turned to educational lunches, short seminars or lectures presented over the lunch hour. The free food helps bring in the crowds, while the short format allows people to attend with minimal interruption to their hectic schedules. This versatile arrangement can be used for everything from professional development to training employees on a new computer program, all in an informal, relaxed atmosphere that's highly conducive to questions and conversation.

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Savvy business owners have also taken the concept of an educational lunch and adapted it for networking and marketing purposes. They recognize that this format allows potential customers to make efficient use of their time by combining lunch with training, information or enrichment sessions. Of course, a simple free lunch may not be enough to draw an audience outside of the workplace, so many have expanded this concept even further by adding a theme in an attempt to bring in a crowd.

A spa-themed educational lunch serves as a powerful marketing tool for businesses, non-profits and other groups, particularly those involved in the health or wellness fields. For example, an acupuncturist can use this theme to spread information about alternative healing and bring in new clients, while a hospital may host a educational spa lunch to teach the community how stress can negatively affect health and wellness. Even businesses in other fields can benefit from this format by creating a spalike atmosphere that can help to get employees excited about the event, resulting in a more engaged audience. After all, what stressed-out office worker wouldn't appreciate an opportunity to unwind over a delicious -- and free -- lunch and massage?

Of course, hosting an educational spa lunch doesn't mean you have to shell out big bucks so attendees can receive expensive spa treatments. Instead, this event is all about creating a spalike atmosphere to motivate people to go to your event. This can be as simple as serving spa cuisine and playing relaxing music or hiring massage therapists to perform reflexology treatments or mini massages on guests as you present information on your chosen topic.

Ready to plan your event? Read on to learn about the best tips for hosting an educational spa lunch that's sure to draw in the crowds!

The secret to hosting a successful spa lunch lies in creating a relaxing atmosphere, whatever the setting may be. Transform a conference room into your very own oasis using candles, peaceful music, mini water features and soothing scents. If you're hosting your event outside of the workplace, try reserving space at a local college or community center, or simply move the lunch outdoors to take advantage of the beauty of nature.

While food serves as a star attraction at any educational lunch, menu selection is particularly important at a spa-themed event. Stick to classic spa cuisine, including fresh, local produce, fish and poultry and spa water infused with berries, cucumbers and herbs. Avoid additives, preservatives and sugar, and focus on meals that are healthy, colorful and delicious. If your budget allows, have the event catered so you can focus on your presentation, or serve simple appetizers and finger foods like fruits, vegetables and low-fat dip instead of a full meal to save money.

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Once you've created the right tone for your educational spa lunch, it's time to focus on the presentation aspect of the event. Whether you're looking to draw new customers to your business or train employees how to use a new product, don't let your message get overshadowed by the menu and the atmosphere. Maintain a loose agenda or schedule throughout the event to ensure you have time to discuss the topic at hand as guests dine. To keep your audience engaged, try sandwiching the meat of your presentation between a series of activities. For example, start the event by offering free mini massages or reflexology sessions, then take time to discuss the health benefits of these procedures before offering guests the chance to sample related products.

Depending on the topic of your spa lunch, you may find that you're able to secure sponsors for your event, particularly if the presentation involves a new product or technology. Non-profits and community groups may also be able to persuade companies to sponsor the event in exchange for free publicity. A corporation hosting a spa lunch aimed at helping employees reduce stress may be able to secure sponsorship from a local spa or wellness center, for instance, while a software manufacturer may be happy to sponsor a lunch aimed at teaching workers to operate a new company computer system.

Need more help planning your educational spa lunch? Check out the links below to learn more about employee training sessions and discover how to create your own spa products to use at your event.

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Sources

  • American Student Dental Association. "Common Challenges and Solutions for Hosting Lunch and Learns." (March 17, 2012) http://www.asdanet.org/uploadedFiles/The_Issues/Challenges-and-Solutions-Lunch-and-Learns.pdf
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "How to Plan a Health Seminar." May 18, 2009. (March 17, 2012) http://www.cdc.gov/women/planning/seminar.htm
  • Employee Development Systems Inc. "Maximizing Human Potential in Your Organization." (March 17, 2012) http://www.employeedevelopmentsystems.com/Media/pdfs/EDSImax.pdf
  • United States Department of Labor. "Minimum Length of Meal Period Required Under State Law For Adult Employees in Private Sector." January 1, 2012. (March 17, 2012) http://www.dol.gov/whd/state/meal.htm#Louisiana
  • White, Erin E. "How to Throw a Spa Party." Oprah.com. October 15, 2009. (March 17, 2012) http://www.oprah.com/food/How-to-Throw-a-Spa-Party

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