Global Wellness Day: Why Hotels Should be Involved

An Interview with Belgin Aksoy, Founder, Global Wellness Day

By Camille Hoheb Managing Director, Wellness Tourism Worldwide | May 29, 2016

A hotel's vitality hinges on the guest experience. Out of all the business trends, none is more powerful than the growing wellness movement. Wellness is everywhere. This is especially true in tourism, with healthy amenities at airports, airlines and lodging. Healthy hotel brands are leading the way and other properties are following suite. Hotels deliver healthy options related to physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and social wellbeing. This article is part 1 of a 2-part series on Global Wellness Day (GWD). GWD is an international, noncommercial initiative aimed at improving wellbeing across the world.

Founded by Belgin Aksoy, Global Wellness Day was born in Richmond Nua Wellness Spa in Turkey. Today 100+ hotels and spas worldwide celebrate this international day of observance. There are 3,000 properties & locations in 100 countries organizing GWD celebrations.

Global Wellness Day creates a focus on healthier lifestyle choices and the importance of living well. "We've honored almost everything which is valuable to us with a special day, so why not have one that's dedicated to the universally accepted importance of wellness?" says Belgin Aksoy.

Below is an exclusive interview with Belgin Aksoy:

Camille Hoheb (CH) - Which hotel chains have joined Global Wellness Day initiative?

Belgin Aksoy (BA) - The following hotels confirmed participation in Global Wellness Day: Constance Hotels and Resorts, ROYAT, Talise Spa (group of Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts), LUX Hotels & Resorts Group, GRACE Hotels of America, GOCO Spas & GOCO Retreats, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, SIX SENSES, Marriott Spas, Thalasso & Spa Serge Blanco, St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, SENSE SPA, Kurotel, Divani Apollon Palace, Best Alpine Wellness Hotels, WTS International, HILTON Group, Red Door Spas, OBEROI Spas, Chuan Spas, Shangri-la Bosphorus Istanbul, and Swiss Hotel to name a few.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.