Lifestyle Medicine: Friend or Foe of Hotel Development?

By Laszlo Puczko Director of Industry Intelligence, Resources for Leisure Assets | July 09, 2017

May I start with a very bold analogy? One designer recently suggested that the hype about retro in fashion means nothing less than designers do not have any progressive forward looking ideas, with nothing else to do but recycle what was old, and claim it now to be something new, innovative and exciting.

It may not be too far-fetched to use this assumption for what we have been seeing in wellness and hospitality in the last couple of years. Clearly, wellness-everything or more like wellness-anything is a fashionable proposition or elemental component of services and developments. We have now have access to wellness-on-the-go, promotions for spa-o’clock treatments and soon we may see the ‘new trend’ of “wellness mobility” (translation - cycling masqueraded as something fancier and chic). If you thought that a film titled ‘A Cure for Wellness’ was about something nice and pleasant, well, you are mistaken: this is a thriller and as promised by the description, “the spa treatments are not what they seem”.

A more realistic approach which takes into consideration the actual needs and wants of consumers and provides a more financially sound performance to owners and operators should look at the key domains of integrative healthcare and their impending impact on wellness and hospitality industries.

We can observe numerous lifestyle changes. People like to have alternatives and options, especially if such promises possess qualities that can improve their lives, improve health and increase happiness. Please note that if someone told you that there is only one wellness trend that may be applied to all parts of the world, then your hotel brand or new hospitality component may be at serious risk. It is no surprise that one of the success factors of the current “share economy” (e.g. Airbnb), boutique and lifestyle hotels, is the personalized and human experiences, which can be in stark contrast to the standardized and global brand promises.

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The complexities and varieties of different lifestyles create a challenge for hoteliers when they want to come-up with innovative standards that can alternatively work in more than one market and more than one segment.

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Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.