How to Make Your Hotel Stand Out in the Crowded Wellness Space
Generic wellness offerings are no longer enough. Today, marketers need to tell a story that differentiates the brand by spotlighting healthful services, programs, cuisine and more.
By Mia Kyricos Founder and President , Kyricos & Associates, LLC | June 28, 2015
Remember back in the day when the possibility of a hotel with a pool was enough to get customers excited about a pending stay?
Fitness centers became the next "it" thing, followed by spas, which often began as "after thoughts," thanks to a little extra basement space left on the construction drawings. Then for those hoteliers savvy enough to understand the appeal, spas were marketed as amenities, begrudgingly accepted as cost centers and widely misunderstood operationally. But guests sure did enjoy a good massage.
My, have things changed. Or have they?
Many hospitality leaders would agree that spas have become more highly regarded in recent years, some of which have evolved into revenue-generating machines offering much more than your basic mani, pedi or massage. Other hotel spas help properties compete for guests simply by having one, while others-albeit more rare exceptions-even compete head-to-head for onsite guest and local capture, giving adjacent hotel departments, even the golden child of food and beverage, a run for their money.
What's more, these spa and wellness guests have recently been identified as "high-yield tourists," who spend 137 percent more per trip*(1)* than their counterparts. Even more exciting is that their thirst for all things "wellness" - of which spas and fitness clubs are squarely a part - is growing both within and beyond the walls of these designated areas.
In the 2013 Spafinder Wellness 365® Spa & Wellness Trends Report we forecast that after a century of hotel experiences often synonymous with excess, more properties were on a new health kick and branding and re-branding around wellness, some with substantive programs, and others with fluff. In 2014, we predicted that ["Healthy Hotels"] - now more than just passing news - would quickly move from wellness as a marketing differentiator to deeper, multi-faceted programming that stretches well beyond the free stretch band. In other words, the healthy hotel would ultimately become more inspired and comprehensive and shift from virtuous exception to a regular part of the hospitality vernacular.