Lifestyle Medicine: Friend or Foe of Hotel Development?
By Laszlo Puczko CEOI & Co-Founder, Health Tourism Worldwide | July 2017
May I start with a very bold analogy? One designer recently suggested that the hype about retro in fashion means nothing less than designers do not have any progressive forward looking ideas, with nothing else to do but recycle what was old, and claim it now to be something new, innovative and exciting.
It may not be too far-fetched to use this assumption for what we have been seeing in wellness and hospitality in the last couple of years. Clearly, wellness-everything or more like wellness-anything is a fashionable proposition or elemental component of services and developments. We have now have access to wellness-on-the-go, promotions for spa-o'clock treatments and soon we may see the 'new trend' of "wellness mobility" (translation - cycling masqueraded as something fancier and chic). If you thought that a film titled 'A Cure for Wellness' was about something nice and pleasant, well, you are mistaken: this is a thriller and as promised by the description, "the spa treatments are not what they seem".
A more realistic approach which takes into consideration the actual needs and wants of consumers and provides a more financially sound performance to owners and operators should look at the key domains of integrative healthcare and their impending impact on wellness and hospitality industries.
We can observe numerous lifestyle changes. People like to have alternatives and options, especially if such promises possess qualities that can improve their lives, improve health and increase happiness. Please note that if someone told you that there is only one wellness trend that may be applied to all parts of the world, then your hotel brand or new hospitality component may be at serious risk. It is no surprise that one of the success factors of the current "share economy" (e.g. Airbnb), boutique and lifestyle hotels, is the personalized and human experiences, which can be in stark contrast to the standardized and global brand promises.
The complexities and varieties of different lifestyles create a challenge for hoteliers when they want to come-up with innovative standards that can alternatively work in more than one market and more than one segment.
Longevity can be considered the one domain which is truly a universally shared global phenomenon. As the World Economic Forum stated: "People would prefer to pass away young…But as late as possible. "This can be very powerful messaging that provides products and services that are attractive to most, if not all, for virtually every market segment. Governments and developers alike look at the life-span of people and that of developments.