This story is brought to you by InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).
At the beginning of the year, many of us make New Years’ resolutions to stick to fitness goals, especially while traveling away from home. As more travelers seek to maintain their routine and balanced lifestyle while on the road, incorporating wellness into a guest’s experience has become more critical now than ever before.
Wellness is not just a passing fad or an afterthought—it’s become a new way of doing business to cater to the health-conscious, wellness-minded traveler. Guests want to rest and eat well, stay active and find ways to get work done in a flexible and comfortable environment while traveling. They are not satisfied with a cramped hotel fitness center or getting free bottled water in their rooms. They want more personalized experiences and options to meet their wellness needs—and catering to these needs can offer big returns for owners and investors.
According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the global wellness tourism market generates $563 billion in annual revenue and global wellness tourism revenues grew 14 percent between 2013 and 2015. Further, guests are willing to pay a premium for products and services that align to a wellness lifestyle. GWI’s latest research revealed that a domestic wellness tourist spends about 164 percent more per trip than the average domestic tourist.
In response to this growing demand, hotels now offer various health-conscious options, from yoga mats in guest rooms to healthier food selections at their restaurants to upgraded bedding and fitness equipment.
Guests now expect more options for choosing how they want to integrate wellness into their routines. They are looking at ways to stay active in their own rooms, how lighting and ergonomic design in guest rooms can help them sleep and work better, and how to find a healthy beverage or snack without leaving the hotel. When incorporating wellness, personalization and taking a holistic approach should be at the forefront of those decisions. It’s about incorporating wellness into the entire hotel experience, from food and beverage and lobby design to common areas, lighting, guest rooms and bathrooms. It’s about training the staff to offer personal recommendations.
As an example, IHG launched EVEN Hotels—a brand with wellness at its core—to meet the desires and needs of wellness-minded travelers. Our research showed that there are 17 million wellness-minded travelers in the U.S. who find it hard to stay active and eat right, and that they “fall off the wagon” when traveling.
All EVEN Hotels offer nutritionally designed menus with fresh and organic meals; natural linens and bath products and in-room fitness equipment in all guest rooms; flexible and productive work environments; and fitness-savvy staff who recommend their favorite run and bike routes or host group activities. These personalized touches have resulted in outstanding guest reviews and increased interest from the development community in building and owning an EVEN hotel.
Since the first EVEN hotel opened in 2014, the EVEN Hotels brand has been widely recognized for helping guests stick to their fitness and lifestyle goals while traveling. Guests rave about the exercise area with resistance bands, a stability ball and yoga mat, which are offered in each guest room, and the varied food options at the hotels’ Cork & Kale restaurants.
Recently, the EVEN Hotels New York—Times Square South was recognized by TripAdvisor as a winner in its 2017 Travelers’ Choice Awards for Hotels. The property ranked No. 14 among the top 25 hotels in the United States, and it was the only branded hotel to make this list. This award is meaningful because it is based on guest feedback.
Ultimately, what makes wellness work is that it’s not a once-a-year goal, but it’s something that is incorporated holistically, year-round. Wellness creates the opportunity to deliver personalized products and services that offer wellness-minded guests the flexibility to choose what works for them, which in turn generates a premium return for the owner.
About the Author
Joel Eisemann is Chief Development Officer for the Americas at InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG).