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Spotlight on Hospitality: Hospitality professionals connect with free wellness services

Mark Watson
October 14, 2022

Last month, local hospitality employees enjoyed free biometric health assessments, personalized wellness coaching and nutritious snacks — including smoothies blended by bicycle power. The events were part of the first-ever Hospitality Industry Wellness Fair held at the Portola Hotel & Spa.The Monterey County Hospitality Association organized the event together with Montage Health and the Blue Zones Project. Promoting workplace wellness, and well-being in all facets of life has always been an MCHA priority. It’s become especially important as individuals respond to more than two years of pandemic challenges.Montage, the parent company of Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, provided grant support for the event. As Community Hospital corporate account manager Gene Fischer explains, everyone wins when hospitals care for community members.“Individual health is important. And, healthy employees are happy employees. Happy employees are more loyal, more productive and more present. They also have fewer health claims expenses, and that means lower health care premiums for everybody,” says Fischer.

Nearly 60 MCHA member employees received free services at the fair, as did some of their family members. Participants completed an online health assessment, a blood pressure check, and InBody composition testing that determined weight and body fat percentage. They also received a lipid panel screening that measured triglyceride, glucose and cholesterol levels, including high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein, with a simple finger prick.

After receiving their test results, participants had confidential conversations with a wellness coach. Some coaches were dieticians who shared tips for losing weight, curbing blood pressure, managing pre-diabetes symptoms and addressing other chronic conditions.

As with past wellness fairs, some hospitality-industry participants discovered serious health issues.

“Every now and then, someone feels fine but learns their blood pressure or blood sugar levels are off the charts. A coach will discreetly direct them to medical care or even the emergency room,” says Fischer.

All screening results are confidential and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act compliant. These events are geared toward professionals who might have high-deductible insurance plans or simply lack the time to seek preventive services.

“These are the minimum tests that people should be doing every year, even if they’re feeling great. We make them convenient, free and easy to access,” says Fischer.

Several MCHA members supported the wellness fair, including Refuge, Carmel Valley Athletic Club, BikeDash, the Monterey Peninsula College Nutrition Program and the Big Sur Marathon Foundation.

Marathon representatives handed out T-shirts and chatted with event attendees about wellness topics.

“As a community-based organization, we’re always excited to be involved in events that promote health, wellness and fitness. There was great energy at the wellness fair, and this is something we want to continue being a part of,” says Josh Priester, the Big Sur Marathon Foundation’s race director and executive director.

“This partnership with MCHA is a win-win, and we would love to see greater participation at future wellness fairs,” says Fischer. “These events truly save lives.”

Mark Watson is the Inns-by-the-Sea general manager and 2022 MCHA board chair. The Monterey County Hospitality Association ( is the trade association serving the local tourism industry with advocacy, education and employee recognition programs. For more information, contact Kristin Horton at 

 Monterey Herald - published September 30, 2022


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