What's the Latest Value Proposition for Today's Health-Conscious Hotels?
By Mia Kyricos Founder and President , Kyricos & Associates, LLC | July 24, 2016
It is no secret that the hotel world has changed dramatically in the last few years. If we consider just the last decade (2006-2016), we've witnessed significant brand expansions and evolutions; experienced the trauma of one of the world's worst recessions and subsequent halts in development pipelines around the globe; and now, acquisitions of some of the largest and most recognized hotel brands in the business. And that's just on the industry side.
On the consumer side of the equation, I think one of the greatest macro-trends to affect the way we attract and retain our customers is that today our guests are looking for experiences that positively impact their overall health and wellbeing, whether directly or indirectly. Gone are the days of just worrying about providing a great night's sleep or even a massage for that matter. Today's consumers are being bombarded with more brands and promotions promising health-related benefits than ever before, and at the same time, their demands are evolving from traditional product and services to truly transformational experiences. This remains a tall order for our industry.
Like it or not, the world has gone mad for all things "well" and I believe that a "well-volution" is upon us, impacting every part of the hotel guest experience, both physically and mentally. Whether with or without a spa, three or six-star, urban or resort, today's hotel operators are witnessing this consumer transformation first-hand, and I suspect this wellness transformation has only just begun.
The Evolution of the Hotel Spa
Over the same decade referenced above, we've watched hotel spas fight for their very existence. First treated as mysterious, money-guzzling amenities, some were lucky to evolve to break-even, product differentiators for upper-upscale and luxury brands, while others - in admittedly rarer instances-even climbed to the status of profit centers, serving as cornerstones to hotels or even destinations with independent brand recognition.
What's most interesting to me, however, having built six international spa brands for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide (may they soon rest in peace thanks to their ongoing acquisition by Marriott), is that the conversation is no longer just about treatment room design, menu or product lines, but instead about wellness and what that truly means in a spa environment. Nutritional counseling? Alternative health practices such as acupuncture? Spiritual or emotional healing?