Trending: How CBD is Being Incorporated into Hotel Wellness Programs
By Amy Sedeno Director, Carolyn Izzo Integrated Communications (CIIC) | July 07, 2019
The CBD industry is booming with an anticipated growth of approximately 799 percent from 2016, according to The Hemp Business Journal. That's a $2.1 billion market that is seamlessly making its way into hotel spas and wellness programs. And with the wellness domestic traveler spending an average of $609 per trip (178 percent higher than the typical domestic tourist) as stated by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), CBD now represents a new and lucrative revenue stream for hoteliers.
From luxury resorts to independent boutique hotels, CBD, now legal nationwide at the federal level with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, has gone mainstream and is slowly being incorporated into wellness treatments that range from massages and facials to body wraps, soaks, and pedicures.
But what exactly is CBD, and what are its health benefits?
Although CBD can be widely found today in all corners of the wellness industry, there's still confusion as to what it actually is – and isn't– and its long list of therapeutic uses. Research claims that CBD, short for cannabidiol, the naturally occurring non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, offers a variety of health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, stress relief, and even acne prevention and sleep improvement– without the high. Unlike THC, this natural remedy does not produce any mind-altering effects or changes in cognitive abilities.
Eduardo Molinari, Chief Marketing Office at Blueberries Medical Corp., a Latin American licensed producer of naturally-grown premium quality cannabis, ensures education is a strong component of his brand and the key towards ending the cannabis stigma. He also notes the long-term health benefits of CBD well beyond its relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects including anti-cancer properties, protection against liver damage, reduction of blood pressure, and treatment of anxiety and depression.
"The effect of CBD is explained by the endocannabinoid system found in humans containing two types of receptors. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system, which includes the brain. CB2 receptors are found primarily in the immune system. These receptors are also present in the skin, and their activation may initiate signaling cascades that regulate a multitude of biological pathways, including those that mediate pain and inflammation. Recent research suggests that CBD can also influence the epidermal skin barrier, hydration, and wound healing," said Molinari. Cue in spa treatments.
However, how can a topic that was once taboo for decades and for which legal lines are still blurred in many states become viably marketable for consumers, especially at the helm of luxury hotel brands?
For starters, many hotel brands provide guests the opportunity to enhance their treatments with CBD-infused oils at select spas, many of which are located in California and Colorado. This comes as no surprise since these two states are known for leading the cannabis industry. However, luxury spas in Florida, New Mexico, Hawaii, and Kentucky are beginning to offer CBD enhancements to their existing services.
Others offer CBD-specific treatments such as the Cannabidiol Massage available at Hotel Talisa, a Luxury Collection Resort in Vail. Carly Oakland, spa director at Hotel Talisa, explains the process to what has become one of their most popular treatments, requested by one in five guests.
"Hotel Talisa began offering CBD treatments in December 2018. We stay abreast of new offerings and trends and the testimonials and research on CBD was hard to deny, so we began researching brands to partner with. At the same time, we started to have a lot of guest inquiry that led us to take the possibility more seriously," said Oakland.
The treatments have been positively received by guests who notice the difference after just one session often purchasing one of the spa offered CBD products to take home after their stay. Therapists have also noticed a positive effect in their wrist and joints when utilizing CBD as part of a treatment, Oakland noted. Due to the increasing popularity of these services, the spa is developing a CBD facial offering to be debuted this upcoming winter season.
Other luxury spas across the country also have a list of CBD-infused services in their menus. The posh Spa Solage at Solage, an Auberge Resort in Napa offers Healthy Lotus CBD oil in its massages, facials and body scrubs. Their two-hour Mellow Me Out package uses CBD oil in each step of the services including body scrub, massage and hair treatment. AWAY Spa at the W in Austin offers a full-body massage with CBD oil as its main ingredient due to its anti-inflammatory properties. The "On the Road Again" treatment, targeting muscle relief, is dedicated to singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, who also has his own brand of CBD-infused coffee beans.
The AARP website recently cited that CBD has become a popular treatment for pain and arthritis among Baby Boomers, who plan on taking between four to five leisure trips this year and 48 percent of this demographic mentions relaxation and rejuvenation among their top travel motivators this year. Gerardo Munoz, the spa supervisor at Avalon Hotel and Bungalows, the first hotel to launch a co-branded CBD line in the Coachella Valley, mentions that while their expected clientele for CBD treatments was mainly Millennials, Baby Boomers are amongst the most interested in trying their services.
At Estrella Spa at Avalon Hotel and Bungalows, guests can enjoy four different CBD services based on specific benefits: calming, detoxifying, stimulating, or immunity boosting. Munoz mentions that while the hotel incorporated their co-branded CBD line September 2018 after seeing the trend becoming more popular, they are now expanding their offer to include a facial oil that is included in facials, as a mini add-on during massages, and into a full body scrub. "Our treatment has become quite popular and sparks many conversations with our guests. More and more guests are becoming interested and curious to learn more about it," he said.
Another upscale establishment, The Ritz-Carlton Los Angeles offers a CBD pedicure with CBD-infused bath bomb soaks and a CBD oil massage using Mary's Nutritionals products. The JW Marriott Desert Spring Resort & Spa has a signature 60-minute CBD herbal relief massage perfect for those suffering from arthritis and muscle soreness, and the St. Regis Remede Spa in Aspen has teamed up with local brand That's Natural! to offer a new CBD Healing Customized Massage aimed to decrease inflammation, pain and tension. The Spa at St. Julien in Boulder Colorado has an hour and 45-minute experience called "The Ultimate Colorado Bliss Experience" that incorporates a full body exfoliation, body wrap, hot oil scalp massage, and a CBD-infused tea to end the session.
Also tapping into the trend is Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach which uses products by California women-founded company W!nk in their CBD Remedy massage, and Casa Marina, A Waldorf Astoria Resort in Key West which offers CBD-boosted treatments using DaCrema Botanical products at their relaxing beachside private cabanas. The list goes on and on.
According to Molinari, CBD, also known for its moisturizing benefits, is equally expanding into the beauty industry, which explains why the ingredient is featured in so many face creams, masks, serums, salves and body lotions. "CBD is widely regarded as an excellent cosmeceutical component given its fullness in nutrients such as Vitamin E, Omega 3 and Omega 6 as well as its many valuable effects including the reduction of acne, dry skin, and psoriasis. The absorption is easy, and its ability to penetrate the skin helps to improve blood circulation and the lymphatic system functionality," he said. Even brands like Sephora, which has a curated section for CBD, Barneys and Neiman Marcus have taken notice. After all, Google search trends suggest consumer interest in cannabis beauty has been picking up over the past year.
One question remains, with Americans spending more than $350 million on CBD products in 2017, is CBD a fad or will it be a long-term addition to hotel wellness programs?
"I personally believe that CBD is only going to grow from here. A consumer reports study predicts that 10% of adults will be using CBD by 2025, which would imply a $16-billion-dollar market. As consumers become more educated and understand the low-risk and high benefits of using CBD, I expect our growth to be exponential as well," said Oakland.
Molinari also believes in CBD's staying power. "As we see the cannabis legislation advancing around the world, one can be sure that more research around the benefits of CBD will continue to develop, and this will spread the use of CBD in the wellness industry."However, he mentions that education is key and it is crucial for professionals working at hotel spas to become well-trained on the use and benefits of this product.
Munoz also gives CBD the thumbs up saying that this is a trend that is here to stay. And while we can't predict the future of CBD in the wellness industry, we can anticipate that it will keep popping up in cafes, bars, restaurants, retail and beauty products across the U.S. as brands continue to innovate and research continues to back its health benefits.
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