Hotel Wellness Programs Can Boost ADR and Valuations Without Breaking the Bank
By Andrew Cohan Director, HVS Florida | July 05, 2015
In March of last year, Westin Hotels announced a $15 million one-year campaign aimed at infusing six "pillars of wellness" throughout their portfolio of hotels. With roundly 200 Westin hotels and resorts, this campaign represents an investment of approximately $75,000 per hotel. The program is one of the most comprehensive annual wellness expenditures to have been focused on a single global brand. Though this approach is an effective one for a company the size of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, many independent hoteliers and smaller boutique brands already have priority lists for capital improvements and program expenses that might demote such wellness expenditures to "wish-list" status.
If we step back and review what wellness means to travelers, we will see that many wellness activities involve little to no investment. With a bit of creativity, programming can be developed to improve a property's wellness profile with minimal cost. The CEO of Canyon Ranch told us several years ago that in surveys, the definition of wellness boiled down to three words: Hope, joy and energy. Among these surveys one of the most popular wellness activities noted by respondents was simply "Laughing with friends."
In 2011, American LIVES and the Y Partnership (now part of MMGY Global) were commissioned to survey Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) regarding vacation and vacation home preferences, as input to post-recession product adjustments for resort real estate. One of the summaries of the collected data was informative in revealing the vacation interests of this demographic as they approach or begin their retirement years:
• 82% want time to unwind and to forget about the daily grind.
• 80% want to come away feeling more balanced and healthy.
• 76% want the experience of reconnecting with family and friends.
• 65% consider experiencing other cultures and exotic places.
• 53% select "developing a deeper understanding of people close to me."
Following are a few examples of wellness programs that focus on something that most lodging facilities already provide: food.
Simply replacing kitchen walls with glass can transform a culinary experience to a cultural one. Ten years after taking a 12-day tour of China, the only memorable evening was the one spent at Made in China, a restaurant at the Grand Hyatt Beijing, with its renowned show kitchens.