From experiences to interiors, high-end hotels are infusing hospitality with wellness in an effort to stand out.
At a growing number of hotels, gyms are moving from an afterthought to a prime selling point, spas are offering a broad array of wellness services, and rooms are working with the body’s natural rhythms to promote maximum wellness.
The “vitality room,” a collaboration between Swissôtel and design magazine Wallpaper, illustrates the trend. The room promotes wellness through its soothing color palette and discrete approach to technology, and also features several custom wellness features.
A “wellbeing wall” contains exercise equipment and offers personalized workouts delivered through a “cyber-trainer”; a mobile minibar stocks mineral waters and health drinks; and a lighting system adjusts to accommodate the body’s circadian rhythms, regulate melatonin levels, and help travelers get over jet lag.
“Feeling vital is a prerequisite to enjoying quality of life and one of the key pillars of our experience,” Swissôtel vice president Lilian Roten told Wallpaper. “We wanted the new vitality room concept seamlessly to address many aspects of wellbeing, representing the living embodiment of our brand’s values.”
Westin, the Marriott-owned chain, this month rolled out a global brand campaign under the banner “Let’s Rise,” which “communicates Westin’s commitment to its guests’ well-being before, during and after their stay,” according to the company. In 2017, Westin plans introduce extra strength and core equipment in its fitness studios, expand a “run concierge” program that helps runners plan scenic routes, and introduce calming new bedside amenities such as lavender balm, among other wellness initiatives.
Westin’s new focus is inspired in part by a study the company conducted with StudyLogic, released along with the rollout of “Let’s Rise.” The study showed that many consumers keep wellness in mind while traveling. In a seven-country sample, more than 50% of global respondents said they “plan to seek mindfulness opportunities to clear their minds and center themselves during the chaos of travel.”
Out of the US sample, 80% of couples said they were more active and health-conscious during their honeymoons than at home, and 40% said they were “running together as a way to decompress, disconnect and be a tourist at the same time.”
This month’s New York Times Travel Show featured an area dedicated to wellness travel for the second year in a row. Exhibitors included Le Monastère des Augustine, a Quebec City property that aims to heal guests through meditation, massage and yoga, as well as Retreats Unlimited, a travel company offering fitness retreats at luxury properties.
Speaking at the show during a panel on wellness travel, Cheryl Smith, specialty markets manager at Las Vegas Convention & Visitors Authority, said the current focus on wellness could be traced to the influence of spas.
“Spas were offering a lot of services that the medical industry in this country stopped providing for a number of reasons, and they were venturing into everything from prenatal massage to nutrition counseling to fitness training,” Smith said. In the process of promoting Las Vegas as a destination, she realized that “we were offering wellness services, we just weren’t branding them that way.”
In many cases, the shift toward wellness in hospitality is less about offering radical new services than about framing existing offerings in new ways. As more consumers prioritize fitness and wellness even while traveling, small messaging shifts could pay off big for hospitality brands.
We first highlighted Sportspitality in the 2016 edition of The Future 100, noting the plans of gym brand Equinox to expand into hotels. The first Equinox hotel is now scheduled to open in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards in spring 2019.
For upcoming trends, read The Future 100: Trends and Change to Watch in 2017.