Senior Living: Combining Hospitality and Healthcare for a Problem-Solving Approach

By Michael G. Tompkins Executive Recruiter, Hutchinson Consulting | July 22, 2018

Now that the Great Recession is in our rear-view mirrors, the hospitality industry is expanding from all sectors. Particularly, the spa sector has an unprecedented amount of momentum. Services that were once seen as luxury are now healing necessities. Teachings that at one point were viewed as "out there" are now mainstream.

According to the International SPA Association's (ISPA) annual U.S. Spa Industry Study, the number of spa visits in the United States rose by 2.5 percent, up from 179 million in 2015 to 184 million in 2016, marking the first time that spa visits have exceeded 180 million.

That number is only expected to grow. Many think this growth is because of the millennial consumer. As the largest generation on earth with $200 billion in buying power in the U.S., it's easy to claim the millennial market as the reason for spa growth. According to ISPA's Consumer Snapshot Research Initiative on Millennial Perceptions and Preferences, 60 percent are invested in their personal well-being, and 56 percent are spa-goers. Similarly, 70 percent say that, if they had some extra time or money, they'd spend it on health and fitness.

Millennials may view spa as mainstream, but their parent's generation brought the spa industry to the level it is today. In the 18 years since the ISPA U.S. Spa Industry Study has been conducted, the number of spas has grown from 4,140 in 1999 to 21,260 in 2016. That five-times growth is because baby boomers recognize the proven health benefits of regular spa visits.

Emerging Opportunities Combining Hospitality & Healthcare

By 2030, nearly one-quarter of Americans will be over the age of 65, and almost half will be well beyond age 75, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. This monumental shift in national demographics is driving change across practically every facet of the health care industry.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.