by Adam Glickman

Wellness is a word that means something different to everyone, but what does it encompass and how is it impacting the hotel business? In short, according to the Global Wellness Institute, a global research organization and healthy living advocate, wellness is a $3.7 trillion industry, touching everything from beauty to medical, residential and tourism.

To some, wellness is a massage or treatment that makes them feel relaxed, or an activity, such as yoga or Pilates, that makes them feel as though they’ve done something good for their body. To others, it’s as simple as unplugging for a week or weekend, or even eating a healthy, locally sourced meal. With so many personal definitions of wellness, it’s impossible to be everything to everyone, so how can you appeal to guests needs and enhance wellness offerings without breaking the bank?

Here to Stay

There are many faces to wellness, but one thing is clear: it isn’t a trend or a fad. If you haven’t already, the time to think about integrating wellness attributes in your hotels is now.

Luckily, there are a lot of ways to get in the wellness game without embarking on new construction or creating programming that will cost big dollars.

Leverage Partnerships

Partnerships are a great way to explore wellness. For example, if your property doesn’t have room for a full-service spa, consider partnering with a local spa. Can they offer a signature experience, only available to your guests? Partnering with massage on-demand apps, such as Soothe, is another way to provide guests with certified massage — in their rooms, when they want. No longer does “no spa” mean no spa services! Soothe even has a hotel affiliate network, with referral commissions and bonuses.

Partner with local fitness facilities, such as a yoga studio that offers aerial or TRX training, or even a sound-bathing or meditation class. Expand the options for guests and start the journey of crafting programming by developing relationships with proprietors of small, locally owned studios with high customer reviews and ratings. Consider bringing in a local trainer who can work with guests one-on-one or in small group classes. These don’t have to take place in a fitness room or gym. Offer programs outdoors in a courtyard or in any of your property’s suitable outdoor spaces.

Another option? Try partnering with a nearby restaurant focused on locally-sourced, healthy foods. A partnership might include a cooking demonstration or a special tasting menu just for your guests.

Think Outside of the Box

Sometimes wellness comes from shifting perspective on things you’re already doing. Adding one or two new food choices is an easy way to give guests healthier options. If your hotel offers a paid breakfast buffet, feature several fresh fruits and veggies and set up a “make your own smoothie bar” with low sugar fruits, veggies and vitamin-rich mix-ins. Consider investing in a single, high-quality blender and offer healthier choices such as avocado and antioxidant-rich frozen dark berries, leafy greens, dates and almonds.

You can also change the way you think about grab-and-go by replacing some soda variations with pre-workout energy drinks or post-workout protein shakes. Consider locally sourced products such as low-sugar sweet and savory energizing treats – granola bars, pea crisps, dried fruit mixes. Don’t forget to promote these options with marketing that highlights your intention behind locally sourced products.

Create Spaces for Relaxation and Wellness

As our lives become more and more connected, guests may want time to unplug completely. You can capitalize on this need to decompress with digital detox areas that options give guests technology downtime. Consider an area in the safe or guest room for locking devices away. In that area, provide printed walking and biking maps. These device-free moments can complement wellness forward amenities and help guests find balance.

Or, give guests a quiet space to relax. Create a relaxation zone and incorporate features such as plants, dim lighting and comfortable seating. Use signage to highlight the space as a relaxing, quiet area where guests can escape the noise of the lobby or hotel bar and curate lists of apps with calming music, white noise, simple meditation or sleep stories (all at zero cost to you and guests).

With a shift in perspective and a little creativity, you can get in the wellness game. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a company that specializes in designing wellness experiences that will resonate with guests. Whether you are a small boutique or big hotel, you don’t have to spend a fortune to capitalize on wellness.

Adam Glickman is the principal of Parallax Hospitality, a trusted partner in bringing memorable hospitality brand concepts to life. With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, he has a passion for creating premium, distinctive and wellness-forward brand concepts and

helping non-hospitality companies navigate the complexities of the hotel industry to form partnerships and grow.  

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