After the rush and crush of the end of the year, with parties, private events and a surge of holiday travelers, January arrives with a little calm – and a golden opportunity. Just as millions of Americans do with their personal lives, the start of the year is a time to take stock, regroup and focus on best practices for the year ahead. According to the Global Wellness Institute’s latest findings no trend or business focus will be bigger in 2024 than guest wellness, with estimates indicating worldwide wellness travel will reach $1.3 trillion by 2025 – far in excess even of 2019, pre-pandemic levels. As you plan business investments and all-important guest experiences in 2024 consider these four strategies to upgrade wellness across your facility and keep guests coming back for the experience as well as your amenities.
Think wellness and well-being
First, distinguish between wellness amenities versus well-being experiences. Well-being includes physical activities as well as things like meditation that together promote health, fitness, and positive mental health. Wellness, on the other hand, is a focus on restorative sessions including spa treatments, red light, cryotherapy and cold plunge, among others. Most hotels now offer well-appointed fitness facilities with standard exercise equipment as well as some form of treatment for guests to treat themselves to a massage, facial or other spa indulgence, but assess whether your facility can do more or invest in more specialized services and amenities. American Express’ Global Travel Trends report for 2023 points to more than 70% of respondents saying they plan vacation travel that helps them improve their physical and emotional well-being.
Provide in-room wellness
Many guests treat their hotel room like a sanctuary. A hot shower, room service and a chance to totally unwind from a long day of meetings or travel stresses are top priorities. Premium quality mattresses and bedding and blackout blinds and curtains promote quality sleep for all guests, but simple enhancements can create a more complete in-room wellness experience. Aroma therapy diffusers and essential oils or high-quality sleep masks and yoga mats can very quickly upgrade any room into a guest oasis for a little private R and R. Think too about free promotional items like shampoo, conditioner and moisturizer sets that provide a luxe touch and a brand name reminder when guests return home.
Create tech-forward experiences
Embrace tech tools to help guests get the most from your wellness and well-being offerings. Some hotels are experimenting with, and investing in, smart room technologies that not only regulate humidity and temperature but can help guests track their sleep patterns or adjust lighting to synch with their circadian rhythms. The better on-demand technology platforms now offer a wide variety of fitness and wellness content for easy guest access. Fitness On Demand’s library, for instance, contains more than a thousand instructors and self-guided classes, workouts, wind downs and meditations. Create an in-room QR code that helps guests find relaxing mediation, stretch, recovery and mindfulness content that they can explore in the privacy of their rooms and access on any tablet, smart phone, or computer. Studies show that as little as 20 minutes of meditation a day can have significant mental health benefits, and yoga has been shown to elevate mood, reduce anxiety, and lead to a wide range of health benefits.
Eat right, move more
As more guests look to hotel stays as wellness retreats or opportunities to focus on themselves away from home or work, they’re also looking for improved nutrition and a chance to try something new. Let them know with in-room and on-screen information about your locally sourced, plant-based and sustainable restaurant and room service offerings and try providing additional wellness activities. Organized programs like guided nature or urban hikes, nutritional workshops and spa retreats can all benefit everyday travelers but also attract the increasing number of guests looking for wellness getaways in 2024.
Luke Miska is a results-driven business management visionary with a stellar record developing operationalizing strategies, experiences and measurable results that engage teams and customers to lead healthier lives. He leverages his passion for customer-centric strategies and aligns goals between customer needs and organizational priorities, catalyzing business success.