How Hotels Can Meet the Global Demand for Wellness with Design

Wellness Design

The pursuit of wellbeing is about so much more than receiving a pampering facial or a relaxing massage. Travelers are thirsty for wellness, and these guests are no longer satisfied with the standard issue hotel gym and generic spa services. According to the Global Wellness Institute, the number of wellness trips between 2013 and 2015 reached 691 million, growing the global wellness economy by 10.6 percent during that two-year period. In 2015, the overall global wellness market was valued at $3.72 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute. Consumers are increasingly seeking hotels with robust wellness offerings—both within and beyond the spa.

Today’s booming wellness industry has incredible potential to generate revenue from multiple streams as well as create memorable and perhaps transformational experiences for guests. From simple solutions to innovative programming, here are some design strategies that will help hoteliers accommodate the global demand for wellness in a meaningful and authentic way.

Taking Wellness Design Beyond the Spa

Even the best and most progressive spa facilities fall short of capturing 100 percent of guest traffic. Integrating wellness design and programming considerations outside of a property’s spa facilities and into the guestroom and communal spaces is a powerful way to communicate to guests that the hotel truly cares about their health and wellbeing.



Focusing on Communal Spaces

The shift away from the hotel bar as the primary hub or meeting place to the inclusion of meaningful spaces that are designed to feel warm and inviting for collective gatherings is essential in this new wellness economy. One of the most popular forms of this movement is the inclusion of in-house yoga studios, but hotels are also expanding to include juice-bars, outdoor fire pits with integrated programming such as lectures or guided meditations, communal harvest tables for shared meals, and spacious spa amenities such as steam rooms, sanariums, and relaxation lounges. All of these areas invite guests to come together and connect with one another.


Integrating Wellness Design Principles into the Guestroom

Integrating wellness design principles and programming into the guestroom is a powerful new way to create meaningful engagement with guests that can not only impact their satisfaction but their health as well. Consider the impact that the most common design elements such as lighting, acoustics, and materials can have on a guest’s health and wellbeing. Some examples of these design features include creating specialized lighting controls designed to support the body’s circadian rhythms; ensuring that there are plenty of soft materials such as area rugs, window treatments, and wall coverings to absorb unwanted sounds; and offering an upgraded bathroom design inspired by spa experiences such as hydrothermal circuits and aromatherapy rituals.


Adding Wellness-Focused Programming

Beyond guestroom design considerations, wellness-focused programming offered outside of the spa is another way to create an impact. Re-think the standard mini-bar inclusions and move towards healthier options such as energy bites and fresh-pressed juices; include a wellness zone with curated yoga and meditation programming and equipment; or offer guests a specialized sleep kit including relaxing essential oils, a sleepy-time tea, and a guided meditation designed to elicit deep restful sleep.

Positioning wellness at the forefront of a hotel’s offering impacts more than the guest’s experience—it can have a positive impact on the property’s occupancy, boost the bottom line by increasing average guest spending, and, with sophisticated design enhancements, allows hoteliers to create an additional tier of guestroom suites at an increased ADR.


About the Author
Ashley Holly McEachern is a global wellness consultant at Core Essence, a design and consulting firm specializing in spa and wellness. Core Essence works within and beyond the traditional spa environment with an approach that examines design, development, and ongoing operations concurrently.


Photo credit: Lauren Miller


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