July FOCUS: Hotel Spa

July, 2020

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.

This month's feature articles...

Mia A. Mackman

As the hospitality industry continues to encounter pervasive uncertainty and global challenges, making constructive use of this critical period is essential. Despite a natural yearning to pursue confident planning, reopening and immediate recovery; many of these plans are heavily contingent upon new and evolving urgencies. In this article, Mia A. Mackman, principal and founder of Mackman|ES, Spa and Wellness Consulting and HVS Managing Director, provides a thought-provoking silver-lining analysis of what is currently happening and what is yet to evolve in today's health & wellness industry. This article also shares perspectives on new demand cycles, recovery expectations and emerging possibilities through 2024. READ MORE

Herve Blondel

Hospitality expert and Rancho La Puerta's General Manager Herve Blondel shares his key takeaways in re-opening a destination spa in the wake of COVID-19. Most notably, he discusses the incredibly large focus on wellness (now more than ever) and the importance of providing guests with the ability to reset through customizable options and offerings. Additionally, Mr. Blondel speaks to the importance of integrating enhanced COVID-19 protocols and procedures into the guest experience - maintaining that it is imperative for guests to see the actionable steps in place to keep them safe and confident in their traveling experience, without disrupting their mindset of peace and relaxation. READ MORE

Camille Hoheb

When in a crisis, where can hotel spas look for practical business strategies to survive and thrive? It's the same place mankind has looked for inspiration – Mother Nature. A relatively new field called biomimicry has emerged that looks towards nature's engineering to solve modern-day problems. The genius in biomimicry extends to learning how to adapt during a crisis. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have approached work in terms of areas of specialization, independence, and siloed thinking rather than organically working together as a system. Biomimicry can give insights into a variety of topics relevant to hotel spas from cultivating resilience, creating cooperation with peers to pivoting quickly in changing markets. READ MORE

Lisa Starr

As we recover from the current pandemic and guests begin venturing out again, their personal wellness will be a focus as never before. Whether for social-distancing requirements, or just the sense of space that guests crave, spas and hotels with outdoor spaces, or the incorporation of natural elements in the indoor spaces, will be more popular than ever. Utilizing the healing elements of nature creates a win-win in the spa and wellness facility environment, and fosters strong connections between the property and the guest in the future. READ MORE

Anne McCall Wilson

While spas may not be a current hotel priority, a concern for customer well-being certainly must be. As reopening starts, will brands and properties have the capacity, talent or capability to adapt their spas? What changing expectations will guests have? What about addressing the fears and expectations of spa employees and therapists? And with all of the downsizing who will lead these spa changes? Will brands even have time to re-imagine spas and take advantage of a potential opportunity to meet the needs of an increasingly sophisticated and growing wellness customer? This article discusses seven important considerations for future spa success. READ MORE

Laszlo Puczko

How much standardization is too much? It appears that such treatments, guest journeys, rituals and programs have been really memorable in a hotel spa context that could incorporate the locality to their value propositions. However trivial this may sound this can be a difficult task to accomplish. Given the strict brand standards of operators and management companies spa manager and therapists may granted with limited flexibility. Still, spas can gain real competitive value from all of the signatures. But can they really achieve that? Does this mean the end of standardized designs and treatment menus? How much flexibility brands can permit? READ MORE

Daniel Poulin

Forecasting is a skill our industry excels at in the best of times. From trends to revenue models, the quest to predict as accurately as possible what factors will have the greatest impact on our successes has proven to be a challenge since the COVID-19 health, social and economic crisis hit our industry in the spring of 2020. However, the 4.5 trillion dollars wellness industry may just be one of the crystal balls able to provide directions on how we adapt our wellness facilities and rethink our programming to welcome what we anticipate to be a health and well-being wave of unprecedented proportion that our industry for the most part may not be ready to handle. READ MORE

Laura Krohn

At this moment where there is heightened awareness and a global focus on health risks and disease prevention due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the need to strategize and re-imagine business operations in hotel and resort outlets has presented a unique opportunity for those offering spa and wellness programming. Hotel and resort spas have typically catered to the popular massage, facial, scrubs, wraps, fitness, and more recently, mindfulness offerings. What has been mostly absent from this sector is an integration of community partnering with science-based public health organizations, institutions, and experts. READ MORE

Cecilia Hercik

The Hawaii Spa Association is a non - profit entity, formed by Spa Directors from upscale hospitality brands located throughout all the Hawaiian Islands. We have spent extensive time and collaboration in the past few months working on creating re-opening guidelines for spa and beauty facilities that will help protect our guests and staff and create safe places for wellness. We have focused to keep the wellness community connected while most colleagues are in furlough without access to their jobs. Through weekly video chats and interviews with experts in different fields, we share advice and best practices keeping in mind how to maintain the aloha spirit we are famous for in this new normal. READ MORE

Robert Baldassari

The idea of getting back to nature has been a rising trend in hospitality during the past few years. No-one better than Mother Nature deserves the spotlight after her supportive way of just being there for us during this global pandemic. Record-breaking numbers of people have looked to nature during the last 3 months for hiking, biking, walking and SANITY. But, mother nature offers so much more. This is the perfect time to learn how mother nature heals…and also to make a commitment to help heal mother nature. READ MORE

Michael Koethner

We have arrived. We are here, at the doorsteps of the next dimensions of life. This is a clear and precise message for soul-filled humans. Our lives depend on each individual and the whole. The quote contains the purpose of each us on this planet and as a universal citizen. A strong message was delivered many years ago, that is right now taking place within each of us. Even the denial of that process is no longer valid. The old, very much outdated and incompatible systems no longer work and are literally disintegrating right in front of our eyes. READ MORE

Jeremy McCarthy

The hospitality industry is facing the greatest challenge in our lifetime as hotels around the world have been closed, international borders restricted, and flights cancelled in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic. There is no question that travel will return, but it won't be easy and the hospitality landscape is likely to be forever changed by current events. We are starting to see some signs of optimism in the countries that have made the most progress in terms of managing the virus, and these initial glimmers of hope are important because they give us a glimpse into the brighter future that lies ahead. READ MORE

Claire Way

The wellness industry pre Covid-19 had expanded rapidly. Hotel spas were diversifying placing greater emphasis on overall well-being. While at the time of writing this article many hotels are closed, the sentiment in the industry is positive. There is an all-time high in the level of interest for our health and well-being, with hotel spas poised to support this guest need. As a high-touch industry we need to re-imagine, for the short-term at least, how our programming remains relevant in the post Covid-19 landscape. This poses some challenges. Diversifying to attract a more wellness minded guest may be the solution. In this article we'll consider if a more diversified wellness offer is right for your spa and what low touch wellness services are trending with guests. READ MORE

Irene Macabante

While women all over the world have been staring and their hands and feet wondering when they'll ever get a mani-pedi again, nail salon owners have been anxiously awaiting word from local officials when it will be safe enough to reopen and serve their clients. By now, most know that it won't be business as usual, and many changes must be made to ensure the health and safety of not just guests and staff, but of society at large. If COVID-19 has taught us anything, it's that we all need to take science-based safety measures to prevent infection transmission. In the business of nails, it was important to have medical-grade sterilization before and now it's absolutely essential. READ MORE

Lily Mockerman

Because of COVID-19, many revenue teams had to be furloughed. Not all will return, leaving vacancies. Could it be time to evaluate the kind of Revenue Manager that will move your property forward? The revenue manager of the future will be part accountant, part marketer, part guardian. This revenue manager will be the gatekeeper of revenue. There are five strong foundational skills to look for in the revenue manager of the future. Lily Mockerman explains these skills, how to recognize them in a revenue manager, how to keep them on your team, and how to help them shine. READ MORE

S. Lakshmi Narasimhan

Pandemics though less inevitable than natural calamities have been confronted in the past. They have to be accepted and dealt with in a sensible manner. The discovery of a viable vaccine for the coronavirus as soon as possible is everybody's hope. Meanwhile, what can you as a business, do for the rebuilding crusade going forward? Reaching out and assuring your customers, employees, communities and stakeholders about their safety in your establishment is the first step. As a business with a standing, this is the minimum you owe to your customers, employees, partners, communities, stakeholders as well as yourselves. This hopefully, will bring business back and cause the coronavirus pandemic chokehold to ease over time. READ MORE

William A. Brewer III

The hotel industry is facing an extended crisis. As governments impose travel restrictions and hotel guests cancel trips or avoid booking them altogether, the hotel industry worldwide is collectively experiencing dire economic impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Along with plummeting occupancy rates, hotel performance has been negatively impacted on an unprecedented global scale. As the global economy enters a recession that many predict will be as bad as the downturn in 2007-2008, it is likely that hotel owners and operators will, once again, experience conflicts as their disparate economic interests collide. This article explores the conflicts of interest between owners and operators. READ MORE

Chaunsea  Keller

Prior to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the US spend for meetings alone was over $399 billion annually. This amount was for company spend, so doesn't include the Association, SMERF or Sports spend, and it doesn't include rooms-only group blocks. That means that there is well over $450 billion spent on meetings alone in a "normal" year. Even if meetings are reduced by 50% for 2020, there is still the potential staggering number of $225 billion in meetings, groups, and events potential. In this article EproDirect's Executive Vice President, Chaunsea Keller addresses what hotels are offering post-COVID and how planners are responding and what they want. READ MORE

Bruce McEvoy

A chance to escape to an artfully conceived hotel with flawless service seems like a distant memory today. The entire world is dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and our hospitality industry has been ground to a halt. We're entering the transition that follows every crisis and we must address ways to become resilient and anticipate the impact of unforeseeable disruptions. As designers, we need to be empathetic to these times and build strategies into our vision of the future of business travel and societal changes. READ MORE

Jeremy Kriegel

In a post COVID-19 world, it is critical for brands in the hospitality sector to engage consumers in a manner that provides a high likelihood of positive experiences, engenders loyalty, fosters referrals and return stays. Advances in digital media and artificial intelligence (AI) offer new ways for brands to deliver and enhance these experiences. By obtaining intellectual property (IP) protection for technical achievements and differentiating service, brands can develop a stable of assets to help lawfully keep competitors at bay. This article discusses effective techniques for identifying opportunities and strategies to seek and obtain IP protection for inventions relating to digital media and AI that enhance the guest experience. READ MORE

Rachel Moniz

In response to COVID-19, HEI Hotels & Resorts has implemented new standard operating procedures and hygienic practices at HEI's portfolio of more than 80 independent and branded hotels. In this article, Rachel Monez, Executive Vice President of Operations, talks about the changes implemented at various HEI hotel properties, giving readers an insight into what to expect as the 'new norm'. The article will provide tips about what hotels can do to adjust their cleaning protocols and educate employees to rise to the challenges presented in the new COVID-19 environment. READ MORE

Laurence Bernstein

Hospitality may well be the industry most impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. But it is also possibly the industry that has done the most to mitigate the effects and been the most innovative in developing programs and protocols to serve the needs of their customer, retain whatever revenue is possible and keep everybody safe while doing it. As an industry, we can all feel proud of how our colleagues have responded. But, it's not clear that in their haste to introduce mitigating programs, hotels thought through what will happen when this thing is over. READ MORE

Mark Heymann

Mark Heymann – an industry expert with over 40 years of experience in hospitality and restaurants, sheds light on the importance of labor management optimization amid the COVID-19 recovery period. The entire labor management process has changed, and hotels will need to develop an enhanced focus on internal staffing variables in order to recover. Guest expectations will drastically change so hotels will have to evolve in order to exceed these new expectations. In this piece, Mark details the various ways hotels should look to adjust their approach which includes fostering an engaged staff, balancing flexible scheduling, shifting to task-oriented labor and more. READ MORE

Tom Bergerson

The hospitality industry exists to serve the intrinsic human desire to gather, celebrate and rejuvenate. This fact has driven hotel architects for the past several decades to place continual emphasis on the design and creation of evocative communal spaces. Today, the hospitality industry finds itself faced with an enormous challenge: in the wake of COVID-19, people no longer feel safe in public areas. Tom Bergerson, Principal at architectural services firm AO, offers solutions and insights on how the industry can continue to provide comfort, convenience, and social interaction while providing guests with a sense of safety and well-being. READ MORE

Mostafa Sayyadi

Hotel executives understand how knowledge management as facilitating organizational processes and activities enhances corporate learning to organize existing information. I stress that knowledge management is a strategic resource for corporate learning. Many hotels still implement corporate learning development projects without sufficient consideration of their knowledge management infrastructures. Hotel executives can see that cultivating corporate learning requires developing knowledge management infrastructures within hotels---not only at the higher echelons of the hotel but at every level. They can manage knowledge to expand the growth opportunities available to hotels that may be challenging but important to close the gap between success and failure. READ MORE

Steven Ferry

PART III. In the last two weeks, we compared the demands made by governments (to protect us from a vicious and omnipresent viral scourge) to the harmful results (economic, health, individual freedoms) brought about by acquiescing to those demands while no pandemic materialized. We examined the censorship of all information departing from the official narrative and the harmful nature of the enforced vaccinations that lack efficacy and consistently demonstrate harm. This week, we examine who has been pushing this travesty and offer solutions to help put an end to the monkey business so the hospitality industry, and society in general, can regain diversity and its former joie de vivre. READ MORE

Justin Taillon

Futurology can be understood as the scientific study of the future. This is a particularly important paradigm to view a post-COVID-19 environment for the lodging industry. The changes this industry will experience in the coming years due to the global pandemic are as of yet unknown, but through effective modeling and open discussions with industry leaders there is a chance to identify emerging best practices and be forward-thinking and proactive in approaches to working within a new reality for the hospitality industry. This article identifies emerging trends due to COVID-19 as well as speaks to opportunities for returning to profitability in a new normal. READ MORE

George Aquino

AHC Hospitality's vice president and managing director George Aquino's thoughtful and realistic COVID-19 reflection explores the state of the travel industry and how hotels can reopen safely through permanent changes to protect guests and employees. Mr. Aquino touches on sanitation practices, new design for amenities, meeting spaces and hotel restaurants, the importance of social media, as well as evolving traveler preferences. He proposes new protocols such as regular temperature checks for employees, increased hand sanitation stations on-property and more remote meetings for hotel teams. READ MORE

Renato Fantoni

Coronavirus has cast many dark shadows across the world of hospitality. It has highlighted certain disagreements between hotels and their guests when it comes to payments, in particular whether money should be refunded or put towards future bookings. To progress beyond the global crisis, a new form of mutual respect between all parties is required. One way of achieving this is for everybody to agree that people are an important part of the ecology of the planet and that by creating a Travel Emotional Intelligence a long overdue appreciation of each others' needs can be attained. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2022...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Great Outdoors

There is some welcome good news in the Hotel Group Meetings sector. There seems to be a resurgence in activity - across all sectors and all sizes - from small board meetings to large in-person groups. However, hotels must remain flexible and proactive, as they seek to provide venues and programs that are productive, comfortable, and safe to all parties. One major development is the expansion of outdoor meeting activities. This trend not only serves to meet regulatory health standards, but it also promotes an environment of well-being. According to a recent study from, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reportedly felt invigorated after being in fresh air. Combined with guided physical activities and healthy food and beverage offerings, a sense of wellness and productivity are established. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to accommodate the revitalization of group meeting business in their operations.