5 Ways Hotel Spas Guide the Frequent Traveler's Quest for Wellbeing

By Mary Gendron Senior Vice President / Managing Director, Mower | July 23, 2017

"In a spa, wellness is the offering; wellbeing is the outcome," said industry consultant Mia Kyricos at the start of her spa trends presentation at the Washington Spa Alliance (WSPA ) Annual Symposium earlier this year. Going well beyond the topic of massage which is currently the backbone of the modern spa economy, Kyricos and fellow presenters and panelists that day revealed the extent to which spas are assisting guests in realizing long-term wellbeing goals. Chief among them are: better quality sleep; nutrition plans that are personalized for one's body, lifestyle and even one's DNA; mental fitness; products and services that are science-backed and efficacious; and facilitating the global trend of wellness travel.

Who is leading the charge in this spa evolution? It's the guests themselves, and for various reasons. It is no surprise, for example, that travel-worn Baby Boomers, many away on business as often as they are home, seek to incorporate some respite into their daily lives. While in the past, relief might have come from splurging on dessert or an after-dinner drink, today, it is a more mindful effort with the focus on developing habits that will more likely promote healthy longevity.

Meanwhile, Millennials, already comprising the largest piece of the business travel pie, are, by 2020, expected to account for almost 50% of all business travel spending (Boston Consulting Group ). What's more, this group incorporates leisure travel – lately dubbed "bleisure" -- into their trips, keeping these sojourners away from home even longer, though by choice.

And everyone – from Baby Boomers to Gen-Xers – are tech-centric, entrenched in the need for speed, sometimes at the expense of personal wellbeing. In a society that puts high value on performance and productivity, something's got to give in the quest for peace of mind, body and spirit.

Is the focus on wellbeing a passing notion? Research indicates otherwise.

Global Wellness Institute's most recent Global Wellness Economy Monitor (January 2017) defines wellness as "the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health." Estimating the global wellness economy at $3.7 trillion (2015-the most recent data available), the Institute defines this sector as encompassing "industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives."

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.