The Well Hotel: What's really behind the curtain?

By Tracey Anne Latkovic Corporate Vice President / Sales, Canyon Ranch | June 28, 2015

Wellness is seemingly everywhere. Our shampoo comes from the corner of healthy and happy; our workstations allow for standing, sitting, and walking; fast food joints are now in the healthy choices game; and even our margaritas' are skinny. The proliferation of health and wellness opportunities that have been thrust into our lives in the last few years have most of us wondering which end is up. Remember the 90's? The low-fat, no fat, low-calorie, no calorie craze had our heads spinning and guess what? We ended up fatter than ever. We need to look beyond the hype to discover what's best for our well-being.

But the interest in "being well" really shouldn't come as a surprise. Baby boomers, the oldest of whom turn 69 this year, are experiencing mounting health concerns. And our healthcare system is in flux, with ever-rising costs putting pressure on individuals and businesses, alike. And on the positive side, a plethora of research is available that supports that leading a healthy lifestyle leads to better energy and productivity and, not surprisingly, living longer, more joyful lives.

In response, every industry seems to be jumping on the wellness bandwagon, which just adds to the noise. From food and beverage to furniture; from beauty products to bathroom fixtures – there is no disputing that health is "in". And anytime there is a commercialization of information, especially relating to health and well-being, even the most conscientious among us can be led astray. We have seen this time and time again. These days no one disputes the fact that cigarettes are bad for your health; however, for decades, superstars, doctors, scientists, and good-looking, healthy-looking people were all used in cigarette ads to persuade consumers that smoking was good for your health. And it worked.

In today's high-paced society there so many more ways to stay connected – to friends, to the media, to 'experts' – which means the sheer amount of information hitting our cerebral cortex is frenetic. We need to be more mindful than ever about our choices. We need to have awareness that in today's market, the true, authentic wellness brands are harder to see.

This is especially true in the travel industry – nearly every hotel seems to be creating branding around the concept of wellness. Why is this happening? According to SRI International and the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, the global wellness tourism economy is projected to demonstrate an annual growth rate of more than 9% (nearly twice that of overall global tourism) through 2017, putting it at a forecasted value of $678.5 billion. With the onslaught of marketing around wellness, the hotel industry is paying attention and wants a piece of the revenue pie.

So, what's really behind the wellness curtain? As consumers, we should be asking ourselves that question as we navigate through the many hotel wellness options out there. Here are a few points for you to consider:

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Coming up in June 2019...

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.