4 Key Points to Identify if Your Hotels Need a Spa

By Laszlo Puczko Group Managing Partner, Resources for Leisure Assets | July 01, 2018

'A new hotel without a spa? Is that even possible within the hotel brand that we want? Probably not as per brand standards. Seems like this would be obvious that a spa would round out the hotel's offerings/amenities. This is not always the case. From an operator's perspective the spa in the hotel would be a required necessity or one of the amenities. From an owners' perspective looking at the bottom line, however, the capital investment and the operational costs can hardly be justified.

Based on our combined global knowledge and experience in 4 continents we can verify that one of the major problems when choosing to include a spa is the generalization with which the industry as well as financing bodies look at the market and hospitality as a whole.

The hospitality industry especially in terms of accommodation provision has excelled. There are a vast variety of hotel types to be considered. City hotels, business hotels, congress hotels, resort hotels, lifestyle hotels, spa hotels, thermal hotels, etc. Do they all need a spa or more accurately, which ones needs a spa?

When we consider a 'hotel spa' it makes a huge difference what kind of hotel we have in mind. Market segments and guest use patterns differ greatly not only by hotel types but also by location, even for the same brand. Mainstream hotel operators may have limited experience in operating spas therefore many choose to outsource such operations. It is no surprise that the more spa-orientated a hotel the less likely it will be a branded property, and more inclined to be an independent, family or white label run hotel. As of today there is no global brand that is specialized in spa hotels, except for few regional brands. This is especially true for spa hotels and resorts that feature natural resources such as thermal water or thalassotherapy.

It is important to emphasize that while the term spa refers to a physical space the more compelling well-being (or less so wellness) refers to a concept or to a specific value propositioning. Consumer data suggests that guests are more and more looking for valuable experiences, and want to know how that makes them feel, and less so for specific spaces.

We consider well-being referring to "A state of being or a feeling which is achieved by connections with family or community, with an emphasis upon making the best of life by self-contentment and less stress."

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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.