If there was one buzzword of the 2010’s it was ‘wellness’. The industry has catapulted to success, reaching in excess of $4.2bn globally. This means the business case for incorporating wellness elements into your hotel offering is clear.
Wellness for the hotel industry should be defined as providing an environment for guests and employees which facilitates healthy living. By making wellness practices accessible, hotels can help us achieve the end goal of physical and emotional wellbeing.
A wellness offer is no longer simply a nice to have, one in three UK travellers are prioritising wellness activities when they go on holiday. And it goes further than this, wellness has become a way of life. As guests prioritise wellness in their everyday lives, they are looking to integrate mindfulness and wellbeing throughout their stay and continue their positive habits whilst travelling.
It’s no longer solely about a spa or fitness centre, but the way in which a hotel’s overall facilities can improve wellness. The industry, therefore, needs to move away from seeing wellness as being reserved for only luxury wellness retreats. Elements can be incorporated into any hotel, whether it’s a small boutique, bed & breakfast or large resort.
This should challenge conventional thinking on how to use space in hotel properties. The old approach of creating large, standardised spa treatment rooms is being questioned. They take up a huge amount of valuable real estate but in reality guests spend very little time in them. Instead guests are increasingly looking for ways to relax in their rooms or in quiet spaces across the hotel. This allows hotels of any size to integrate wellness in their offering.
At Hyatt, we have a holistic wellbeing strategy which is focused on positively impacting how employees, corporate customers and guests feel, fuel and function.
This approach means that wellness can range from opening up outside spaces for guests to exercise or relax in to introducing healthy options on breakfast menus. Going a step further, we have recently collaborated with wellness app Headspace, giving our guests complimentary access to guided meditation from the comfort of their own room.
Our approach also means that we assist our colleagues’ wellness journey’s as well as guests. Our Headspace offer is also designed with employees in mind, providing complementary subscriptions to the service. With this in mind, there is a solution for incorporating wellness to any hotel, no matter what the price point or geographical location.
For larger multi-branded hotel companies, it is worth considering the introduction of a dedicated wellness offering. The wellness tourism industry is growing at twice the rate of regular tourism, increasing at 6.3% annually.
The hospitality industry is already responding to the demand, and we’re seeing more and more wellness resorts come to market. At Hyatt we have introduced brands centred around wellbeing to our portfolio, such as Miraval, our dedicated spa resort offering and Alila which focuses on providing authentic destination experiences such as ancient healing arts and adventure sports. We should not however view wellness tourism as being exclusive to these multinationals, this demand should provide developers with the incentive to accommodate wellness into any sized property.
What’s more, wellness should not be confined to leisure travellers alone. Those on business trips who don’t want everyday wellness routines to be disrupted should also be considered. At Hyatt we want to make sure our business hotels still play to this need.
For example, last summer we opened Hyatt Regency Chantilly, a property which provides a corporate meeting place whilst encouraging relaxation and mindfulness in the heart of the French countryside. In Park Hyatt Zurich, we have introduced a “Zen Your Meeting” offering, which provides delegates with the tools and environment to assist mindful thinking and collaboration.
As an industry we have come a long way in thinking about how we support guests to live better. And we should be proud of the progress. But the job is not done. If the hotel industry is going to succeed in offering meaningful wellness support, we need to expand our thinking beyond wellness retreats into every hotel.
As we enter a new decade, we need to work even harder to ensure wellness is seen as a necessity to hotel development and operations, not a siloed service reserved for luxury properties.
By Peter Norman, Hyatt senior vice president development, EAME and SWA