Wellness is the New Buzz Word for Hotels and Resorts

By Ann Brown Founder, Saltability | June 29, 2014

Wellness is the new buzzword for hotels and resorts, but news flash – there’s nothing really new about wellness at the spa. Wellness has always been an intricate part of the spa experience, whether at a day, hotel, resort or destination spa. Wellness tourism, however, has developed as popular trend for travelers and in the media, and spas need to take a look at their offerings to find out how they fit in. Adopting a new “wellness” package can help your spa boost revenue and profit.

For spa professionals and guests alike, wellness falls into a gray area of definition. Like so many other vague terms in the spa industry (such as detoxification, rejuvenation, anti-aging, and prevention), wellness is a term that tends to be overused and is not specific enough. Even more problematic, many times a spa does not meet client expectations of “wellness” or address true needs. “Wellness, ” when undefined and undeveloped, often falls short of providing a comprehensive approach to help guests into new health patterns and out of bad habits.

Wellness tourism, quite simply, is travel for the purpose of improving health and well-being, through any number of activities focused on physical, psychological or spiritual improvement – from walking a labyrinth to yoga to meditation to healthy cooking classes. Wellness tourists want to boost good health and quality of life through respites that help them focus on their body, mind and soul. Their focus is often on prevention, not on seeking a cure for an ailment (often sought through medical tourism).

If wellness tourists are proactive and usually only get one to two weeks a year vacation in the US, why not help them achieve their goals by creating a path for them to stay on? Create this path or package the ‘journey’ because they need the assistance, motivation and an itinerary to stay on track – and because you will create strong relationships with the guest, leaving them coming back for more and spreading the word about your spa.

It’s not great news when your guest leaves and feels you didn’t meet their wellness needs. But it’s even worse if you are missing out on guests because you don’t have a clear message or a wellness vacation that assists the guest to better health via new approaches, patterns and lifestyle choices. Spas must take the lead on developing new programs and educating and inviting guests to truly see the health and wellness value.

While a wellness vacation sounds great, the fact remains that massage is still the number one treatment requested within the spa industry. The standby Swedish massage alone isn’t unique enough for a spa to base a wellness vacation around, so you must think about the unique components that you can tie together throughout the property to help the client in their wellness goals.

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.