Hotel Spa: Back to Nature

As the Wellness Industry continues to expand, hotel spas are also diversifying, placing a greater emphasis on overall well-being. For some spas, this means providing clients with all-inclusive packages that include fitness classes, healthy dining, and offsite leisure activities, in addition to their core services. For example, spas near ski resorts are offering packages that include lift passes, pre-ski yoga sessions, after-ski dinners and spa treatments. Other spas are offering packages that include massages, saunas, mineral baths, hot springs, and recreational hiking and snowmobile activities. These kinds of spa offerings are also part of a "Back to Nature" movement that encourages guests to get out and experience the healing qualities of nature. One such therapy is the Japanese practice known as "forest bathing" which has become popular with spas that are near wooded areas. This practice relies on the ancient power of a forest for promoting a sense of health and well-being. Other spas are incorporating precious metals and stones into their health and beauty treatments - such as silver, gold, pearls and amber. Silver ion baths relax the body and mind, reduce fatigue, and restore energy balance. Gold keeps skin radiant and can even treat various skin diseases and infections, due to its antibacterial qualities. Amber is used to calm the nervous system and to relieve stress. Other natural products and therapies that are increasingly in demand include sound therapy, cryotherapy, infra-red saunas, and even CBD oil, which is being used in massages, facials and foot scrubs, providing a new form of stress relief. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will document these trends and other new developments, and report on how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.



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Last month's feature articles...

Jessica Kaiser

While our nation's lockdown is loosening, we still won't see a 100% return to business as usual for some time. So your content marketing strategy shouldn't act like it has. According to Jessica Kaiser, CEO of leading hotel marketing agency Hawthorn Creative, if you're a hotel or resort that has recently re-opened or is in preparation to do so in the near future, here are the ways to best use your content (blog posts, email campaigns, and social media) to not just encourage bookings but to ease your guests' concerns and get them excited about future travel to your destination. READ MORE

Allison Handy

The impact of the coronavirus pandemic has hit the hospitality sector like a sledgehammer. As hotels around the country prepare for reopening, however, it's incumbent upon hotel owners and operators to demonstrate that they have not only absorbed the blow, but also the hard-but-necessary lessons about what it will take to flourish in a post-quarantine world. The good news is that leading hotel management companies have been doing just that, pivoting to new approaches and integrating new operational realities. While the operational modifications safeguarding guest and employee health are likely to be the most visible evidence of that adaptive flexibility, it is behind the scenes in sales and marketing where there is potential for truly transformative change. READ MORE

Jeffrey Hirsch

Industry insiders across a range of businesses, including hotels, all seem to have the same rosy view of the future. "Working together, the (your category here) industry will come back stronger than ever." If it were only so. The corporate world has discovered that working from home and conducting meetings on Zoom, while not ideal, work just fine. Moreover, the trade-off of keeping people healthy (now) and saving significant sums on travel (now and in the future), will almost certainly offset any perceived advantages of in-person meetings. This article lays out the grim prognosis while offering recommendations for a new vision of the industry. READ MORE

Robert Post

Hotel recovery within today's new social distancing and cleanliness standards will prove to be challenging for many. In order to build the confidence of traveling consumers and allow regulators to ease guidelines, self-regulation will become critical. By uniting through concerted collaboration and pooling our resources, we have the capability to create a Hotel Recovery Playbook that proactively creates confidence-building practices to help open the market for travel. Only by taking control to define our rules of engagement vs. waiting for imposed regulation will we be able to chart a path forward for doing business in a post-COVID-19 world. READ MORE

Florence Quinn

Now that states have begun to lift stay-at-home orders, people are venturing out. For hoteliers to secure their business, it's important to first understand who is traveling, where they are going and what's important to them. Armed with this information, hoteliers can then craft messaging, programs and offers that cater to consumers' level of comfort, interests and desires. To recoup lost revenue and jump start the comeback, it's important that hotels get in front of American travelers to capture their attention and dollars. To start the creative gears churning, here are eight ways to increase buzz, connect with travelers and increase bookings. READ MORE

Michelle Anseeuw

It is a new era for Sales & Marketing in the Hospitality industry. Uncertain future demand, new customer demographics, reduced base business, new venue restrictions and many similar factors are likely to impact how Sales & Marketing teams perform business during these times. It is imperative to consider all tactics and strategies that will deliver optimum results, as well as pushing them into fruition in order to redefine success. Old methods and customary approaches must be reimagined, and teams must be resilient in order to reinvent themselves and their hotels in order to gain a larger share of the smaller market. READ MORE

Brenda Fields

During this pandemic and for many years to come, there will be significant analysis on lessons learned. And there will be innovations and new ways of thinking and doing business. The thoughtful hotelier has already determined that life is irreversibly altered and our understanding of hotels has forever changed. Deloitte Consulting has provided a leadership framework that breaks down this process: Respond. Recover. Thrive. It is how that process is managed that is the key. And one can argue that, at the heart, is marketing. READ MORE

Lucille Yokell

In preparing for this story I spoke with sales and operations people including general managers from the hotel side – small and large. Some are privately owned and flagged, some are independently owned and operated, some have management companies and others are part of the larger branded organizations. I spoke with customers – those with corporate travel programs, those who book individual travel, those who organize corporate meetings and events and those who contract with hotels to then resell the rooms to the public either directly or through another company. I also spoke to guests. And one thing we can all agree on is that some big changes are coming… READ MORE

Jamie Sigler O'Grady

Over the last few years, travel and hospitality were at an all-time high, and the industry's biggest concern was the over-tourism of some of the world's most beautiful destinations. Fast forward to the COVID-19 global health pandemic, which has forced us to reevaluate the ways in which we think about, talk about and approach travel, resulting in a redesigned hotel sales and marketing landscape. In this article, Jamie Sigler O'Grady, founding partner of top hospitality PR firm J Public Relations shares her insights on how hotels must set aside everything we once knew about marketing and communications to best predict where we will go as we navigate these unprecedented times. READ MORE

Stephanie Smith

Along with many other budgets, marketing budgets for 2020 have been drastically cut to make up for a lack of revenue due to COVID-19 and travel restrictions. If you find yourself struggling to research marketing trends and evaluating your website performance, there are a lot of useful and free digital marketing tools available. In this article, Stephanie Smith from Cogwheel Marketing outlines TEN marketing resources that hotels can start using right now and will not cost a dime. These free marketing tools analyze your website performance, provide trend data and ways to analyze what the competition is doing. READ MORE

Clifford Ferrara

The novel coronavirus pandemic has changed everything. Forward-thinking hotel owners and operators have moved past the initial urgent priorities of the early days and weeks of the shutdown to begin addressing planning and preparation for what's next. That planning includes not just operational changes, but fundamental shifts impacting every part of the sales process, from staffing to staying connected with guests. Smart hotel management professionals are sharpening messaging to address evolving guest priorities, becoming more flexible, more creative, and finding new ways to add value, as you will read in this article by Chesapeake Hospitality's Clifford Ferrara. READ MORE

Greg Berman

In an increasingly competitive industry with new emerging hospitality brands and OTAs, hotel brands are embracing the concept of total distribution to capture more bookings, differentiate their brands, and provide personalized guest experiences. With the increase of global tourism and tech savvy travelers, hotels have introduced more and more mobile innovations, but have yet to fully encapsulate the benefits that total distribution provides. The industry has developed beyond simply distributing hotel availability, rates, and inventory and into amenities, add-one and ancillary products to create customized experiences for the modern and experienced traveler. READ MORE

Marie Profant

In support of the travel industry recovery, a Santa Barbara based company is offering strategic solutions for hotels seeking new ways to both increase hotel sales and offer new value for hesitant visitors. These techniques could influence success for a range of departments, from F&B to Convention Sales to Front Desk and online booking. Embedding virtual products within hospitality functions is a timely way for hotels to promote their property, encourage direct bookings, upsell appetizers, and keep the kids entertained. Since hotel managers have extreme reopening challenges, these strategies involve hands-free implementation based on technology, however they are bound by the premise that destinations stories are the "comfort food" of hotel marketing. READ MORE

Marissa Criaris

Sales and marketing as we knew it changed radically with the advent of COVID-19. Suddenly tried-and-true tactics were no longer feasible. Sales meetings, trade shows, lunches, and customer events just weren't possible. Those of us involved in sales and marketing in the hospitality and service industries had to rethink not just our tactics, but our messaging as well because trying to hard sell in a #ShelterInPlace environment would set a negative tone for your brand. Digital technologies like Zoom became more popular than ever as we reinvented and innovated how we could maintain connections with our customers in both the short and long term. READ MORE

Martin Stoll

The hospitality industry is facing an uphill battle to convince consumers to travel this summer. Understanding how COVID-19 has changed consumers' thoughts about traveling and staying in hotels is critical to developing relevant campaigns that drive short-term bookings. Analyzing social media sentiment is an effective way to gain insights that can be used to create hyper-targeted campaigns that minimize the risk of backlash against brands that are promoting travel as restrictions are lifted. READ MORE

David Allison

As we enter the recovery phase of the pandemic that has disrupted economies to an extent not seen before, consumers will need to coaxed back into the market, and public support must be focused where it is needed the most. This article outlines exactly what needs to be said to motivate the most people, based on a global dataset of what consumers want to hear. The statistically accurate identification of shared values for industry supporters, and those that can be influenced most easily to help, are useful not only for sector-wide initiatives, but for individual operators too. READ MORE

Janet Gerhard

The hospitality industry has always been subject to external threats. The depth of this shake-up is hard to comprehend, and many experts are predicting a recovery to be years in the making. In some instances, it includes re-evaluating or abandoning your existing brand identity. With the uncertainty of group travel, luxury big box hotels must attract new customers. And while those properties with smaller footprints feel safer, some won't survive. The winners and losers are far from being determined but how you show up matters. Marketing in the age of Covid-19 means planning for the comeback and positioning your hotel to shape the new normal. Short-term that means reassuring the public of the cleanliness and safety of your hotel and taking this opportunity to own your brand voice. READ MORE

Matthew Babiarz

Hotel operators are facing an unprecedented challenge. How should marketers approach this period before and after operations have slowed or ceased, and stay-at-home orders are in place? Are there opportunities? Are there any positive indicators as to what can be expected when things return to normal? In this article, we demystify the impact of the pandemic crisis, examining the macro-factors and the analyzing the effect on search and social media channels. We also share how hotel marketers can prepare for the rebound, providing inspiration from the top-performing hotel brands and best-practice tactics for maximizing recovery and return on marketing investments. READ MORE

Janelle Schwartz

Artificial intelligence undoubtedly is the wave of the future, powered by recent dramatic advances in computer capabilities. Millennials and Generation Z consumers have eagerly embraced the new technology in the sales and marketing of hotels, while members of earlier generations may be less enthusiastic, preferring a more traditional, face-to-face, hands-on approach. When it comes to such advances in A.I. as chatbots, personal guest histories and robotic concierges, is there a way to bridge this ambivalence that works for every segment of the traveling public? READ MORE

Matt Bitzer

For most hoteliers, the hotel website is the hub of their digital marketing machine. It is the crucial last point of contact the hotel has with its guest before a booking is made...or lost. Building a fast, modern, user-friendly website and then marketing that website using appropriate digital marketing channels are important first steps in driving qualified visitors to the site and encouraging direct bookings. But there is still more to do to fully optimize the site: By providing a more customized viewing experience for website visitors, dynamic content and personalization can significantly improve conversion rates and lower customer acquisition costs for hotels. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2020...

Hotel Group Meetings: Demand vs. Supply

It is a great time for hotel group meetings. It is expected that once again this sector will grow by 5-10% in 2020, partly due to the increasing value of in-person group meetings. Because people now spend so much time in front of their screens, face-to-face interactions have become a more treasured commodity in our modern world. Plus, the use of social media reinforces the value of engagement, discussion, conversation, and networking - all areas where group meetings shine. Despite this rosy outlook, there is a concern that demand for meetings far exceeds the supply of suitable venues and hotels. There are very few "big box" properties with 500-plus rooms and extensive conference facilities being built, and this shortage of inventory could pose a serious challenge for meeting planners. In addition to location concerns, the role of the meeting planner has also evolved significantly. Planners are no longer just meeting coordinators - they are de facto travel agents. Cultural interactions, local dining, experiential travel, and team-building activities are all now a part of their meeting mix. Plus, they have to cater to evolving tastes. Millennials are insisting on healthier venues and activities, and to meet their demands, hotels are making yoga breaks, fresh-pressed juices, plant-based diets, state-of-the-art gyms, and locally-sourced menus available. Millennials are also insisting that meeting venues practice Corporate Social Responsibility, which means upholding sustainable and ethical values; investment in the local community; health and well-being of employees; and general business practices that reflect being good citizens of the planet. Finally, there is a growing trend to merge meetings with other local events, such as music festivals, sporting events, and cultural attractions. The December Hotel Business Review will report on issues relevant to group meetings and will document what some hotels are doing to support this part of their operations.