Innovative Meetings

One Trade Show, Two Wellness Challenges

Have you thought about adding an attendee health-and-fitness challenge to your meeting? How about running two at once?


Wellness is having a moment at meetings — enough so that 3D Media, an event-promotion and sponsorship agency, was asked to create a custom health challenge for a major automotive-industry convention held earlier this year. The group’s planners had decided to incorporate both health and wellness initiatives into the four-day show, as well as to create activities that would appeal to guests of the more than 20,000 member attendees.

To meet those objectives, 3D decided to create two separate experiences: a pedometer-based walking contest and an immersive fitness challenge, both of which ran throughout the event. The fitness activity was set up right on the show floor, while for the walking contest, participants picked up pedometers at a registration booth at the beginning of the meeting.

The pedometer contest challenged attendees to hit a goal of 10,000 steps each day of the show — which also encouraged them to visit all three event venues and expo halls. 

The pedometer contest, called Walk This Way, challenged attendees to hit a goal of 10,000 steps each day of the show — which also encouraged them to visit all three event venues and expo halls. Attendees wore pedometers and reported their step totals at the end of the day. FitBits were handed out to the two attendees with the highest step totals each day. There was also an awards ceremony at the end of the conference where a $1,000 check was presented to the attendee with the highest overall step total over the four days of the meeting.

“By virtue of our pre-registration process and where we were placed at the conference, the pedometer contest had amazing participation,” said Christman Dunhill, 3D’s creative director, who oversaw the creation and implementation of both programs. Dunhill’s team handed out more than 3,000 pedometers during the first day and a half of the meeting. More than a thousand attendees pre-registered, and fully 70 percent reported their daily step totals. “Throughout the day,” Dunhill said, “we sent them encouraging comments and facts about walking.”

The second component of 3D’s health-and-wellness initiative was the four-circuit Lifestyle Challenge, which included a NASCAR-racing simulator, Nintendo Wii basketball, dancing, and bowling. “The entire contest was held together by one scoring and registration process,” Dunhill said. “The idea was that when someone went through circuit one, their score was revealed in real time on a video-monitor leaderboard. At the end of the event, everyone had an overall score based on how they competed in the four separate circuits.” Attendees who competed in each of the four challenges were entered into daily drawings for gift certificates.

“The best compliment is that folks were engaged in the competition for 15 to 20 minutes,” Dunhill said. “Participation was pretty solid. Those are the biggest drivers for us. Seeing somebody dancing to Gloria Estefan within the footprint of a trade show is kind of fun.”

3D has run similar health-and-wellness programs for other large events. Whenever possible, they tailor the challenges and initiatives to the particular industry or discipline represented at the meeting. Dunhill particularly enjoyed the challenge of dreaming up activities for a major law-enforcement convention, where simulated target-practice and mock suspect-apprehension games were met with roaring approval from attendees.

Dunhill’s “winning formula,” he said, is to talk to show organizers and conduct his own background research, allowing him to create experiences that are both relevant to attendees and a lot of fun. And good for them, too.

Kate Mulcrone

Kate Mulcrone is digital editor of Convene.