Health and Wellness Trends in Hospitality | Strategies for Post-Crisis

Hoteliers are faced with a daunting task, how to present their services as a necessity rather than a luxury. Many guest prospects are postponing travel plans until 2021, but without the additional income from business travel and large scale events such as concerts, festivals, and sporting events, some hotels are at risk of closing their doors for good.

Luckily hospitality offers more than a place to sleep after a long day at meetings and parties. In recent years we’ve seen a rise in wellness hospitality, which encourages guests to experience a more fulfilling and stress-alleviating relaxation.

People are under a lot of stress these days: job uncertainty, isolation from their direct social groups, due to social distancing, close cohabitation with partner and family. These are all stressors which everyone deals within their life, but rarely for such prolonged time and simultaneously.

What’s worse is, there is no visible escape from this. This is where wellness hospitality comes in. As an industry, wellness has seen steady growth over the last five years. According to the Global Wellness Tourism Economy Report from 2018, predictions were aimed at 7.5% annual growth of the segment by 2022.

Obviously the report did not figure in a global pandemic, but the fact of the matter is, the industry was becoming very comfortable with wellness practices, so much so that back in 2017 wellness tourism brought in some 639.4 billion in overall profit.

With stress around COVID-19 having hit peak point Wellness tourism might be just what hospitality needs. Here are some of the reasons why your hotel could benefit from wellness tourism:

Potential guests are already making wellness-based decisions and purchases
The pandemic has forced guests to prioritise their survival and as a consequence their mental health over a desire to indulge themselves socially. With an increasingly stressful lifestyle stemming from close confinement for prolonged periods of time, people are in dire need of an outlet.
Wellness hospitality can provide one, and the great thing is, there’s no restriction to the style and brand of hotel that can do this. Wellness is after all a series of practices that prioritize exercise, good food, and proper sleep. As long as you provide guests with the opportunity to unplug from the constant bombardment of news about a recession and the uncertain health climate across the world, you are already up to a good start in wellness hospitality.
Wellness tourism does not have to rely on international travel to be successful
If you were to consider an entirely local campaign encouraging guest prospects to visit and disconnect from their stress-filled routine. By taking part in yoga classes or guided meditations, or maybe getting involved in some nature walks or some small-group activities such as cooking or painting classes, your guests can enjoy a stress-free getaway from the otherwise inescapable reality of COVID-19 restrictions.
Your guests will likely be socially conscious of travelling a long distance, so you can focus advertisement only in your local region. You can encourage return visits by offering guests packages for multiple stays, adding value to the trip and discouraging cancellations at the same time.
Wellness is a community enterprise which will benefit not only your hotel but other local businesses as well
There are several wellness categories which could appeal to guests, and you probably don’t have all of them available on site, but that is what new partnerships are for. Your hotel is not the only local business struggling through the pandemic. Consider the following categories:
  • Health - diagnostics and health monitoring
  • Spa & Beauty - massages and various cosmetic procedures
  • Mind-Body - focusing on yoga and various East Asian practices
  • Fitness - private workout sessions, and outdoor activities
  • Healthy eating - nutrition and weight loss
  • Personal Growth - classes on various mindfulness activities, such as painting or gardening
  • Connecting with various local businesses could allow you to build a portfolio of wellness activities which can be hosted in your hotel and effectively draw the interest of the guests who need them.
    Wellness is first and foremost about self-care and healthy living
    Guests have spent so long being cooped up in their living spaces that many have lost practice of caring properly for themselves and it is starting to add to the stress of their daily routines. We all remember the health trends and motivational exercise videos that first started flooding the internet during the lockdown. Obviously now that lockdown is over and everyone has a degree of freedom when it comes to going outside this trend has died down.
    Presumably due to the fact that people are going about their business as usual. That is however often not the case. Straight up government-imposed restrictions have been replaced by socially conscientious ones. People are not told not to leave their homes and engage with others, but they are encouraged not to, which create social guilt associated with their daily routine. People are stuck between a rock and a hard place and wellness hospitality offer them a way out of it.
    Healthy living practices can easily be reestablished with a short retreat in the outskirts of their hometown where they can take exercise classes, eat well, go for walks in nature and allow themselves the time to recover from the stress of confinement so that they can rebuild their healthy habits.
    Wellness hospitality lends itself well to home office practices
    Essentially there are many working professionals who are not looking at going back to their offices anytime soon but also struggle to find the time for a vacation. Staycations are already becoming common practice and many of them involve some work-from-home practices.
    Guests who are actively asking about your hotel’s internet speed right after quizzing you about your wellness retreat are likely looking to get the best of both worlds. Consider upgrading your internet service so that guests can enjoy a better connection and consequently enjoy a longer stay.
    Wellness tourism is definitely a healthy approach to guest acquisition as it allows guests to pick between services directly alleviate much of the stress of their everyday lives. In a time of turmoil, it is only natural for guests to turn to holistic ways to restore their inner peace and hospitality can lend an eager hand by adapting their needs into their wellness practices.

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