Unplugging: A Sustainable Marketing Trend For Destination Spas

By Pam Bauer Director Brand Development & Marketing, Callaway Resort & Gardens | July 15, 2018

It would be a dream marketing scenario if our Spas were simply 'on trend' as peaceful wellness destinations for luxurious massages, creative body treatments, holistic practices and Instagrammable moments, ideally serving the resort operation as an ROI-machine practically printing money while our guests are celebrating with elaborate upgrades and champagne toasts in their eco-friendly relaxation room.

Record scratch.

Dream on. While thankfully for our industry the luxury getaways and celebratory occasions exist in abundance for many customers, the real trend in mind+body wellness seems to involve one simple common thread: The art of unplugging.

Unplugging? You may be thinking your spa is already known for allowing guests a perfect opportunity to unplug. So what? Sounds like marketing is up to another gimmick. Can we monetize unplugging? Is there ROI in unplugging? Is this just another trendy buzz term or is it really affecting consumer behavior and buying decisions? Where does this show up on my bottom line?

First things, first. Before we apply the art of unplugging - what is it?

Uplugging As A Norm

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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.