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WELLNESS SERIES – PART 2 : WELLNESS IN HOSPITALITY 13th April 2020

Introduction: Our Wellness Series

Consumers are increasingly pursuing products and experiences that encourage wellbeing and healthy habits, with today’s “wellness” referring to holistic, healthy lifestyles reflected as physical, mental, social, and spiritual wellbeing. Wellbeing has become a pivotal aspect of peoples’ lives and has subsequently affected various industries. Acknowledging the broad meaning of wellness and its ties to consumer lifestyles – Here we analyse 3 core sectors: Finance, Hotel & Travel and Food & Beverage to explore how brands are catering to this ever-growing consumer expectation. This second part will explore wellness through the lense of hospitality encompassing tourism, hotels and travel.

Whilst hospitality along with many other sectors have taken a major hit amidst the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe wellness will only increase in importance following this crisis. People are experiencing a fearful phase on the wellbeing front, from health to financial concerns; brands have an opportunity through their communication approach and initiatives, to enhance and introduce a sense of safety, wellbeing and calm, which we think will be most welcomed by consumers.


“Wellness tourism is growing at twice the rate of general tourism.”

“World travellers made 830 million wellness trips in 2017, 139 million more than in 2015. According to the Global Wellness Institute, if the upward trend continues — as experts predict — in 2019, the numbers could reach 1 billion.”

It’s undeniable that there is a demand for wellness; what is particularly interesting is how tourism brands are choosing to shape their wellness and sustainability offerings. We all know the majority of consumers today see value in experiences, wellness ties into this demand.

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Green, eco-friendly, sustainable tourism intrinsically connects with wellbeing. Being kind to our environment and kind to oneself through responsible travel fosters an ecosystem on which wellness relies.

According to the United Nations World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism, ‘meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future.’ With the principles of wellness rooted in connection with nature, travel-related brands will need to align with policies that are sustainable, eco-friendly and rooted in natural environments.

The Triple Bottom Line

Hospitality isn’t the only industry to embrace a triple bottom line approach, which means that not only profit but also the people and the environment are taken into account when measuring company performance.

Businesses that incorporate sustainable or charitable initiatives integrate wellness into their bottom line. Hotels and tourism companies are integrating formats that are good for people, profit and the planet. Hospitality with heart – is the order of the day.

The Good Hotel with properties in London and Amsterdam offers guests “premium hospitality with a cause”. The group’s “rebelling for the GOOD” service model combines offerings with broader initiatives that help both the local community and the planet.

The company’s training programme helps unemployed locals build a new future, a portion of the revenue goes towards educational programs for kids from low–income families living in Guatemala and all ingredients, materials and labour are all locally and ethically sourced.

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Image Source: The Good Hotel, London

The 11 Howard Hotel in New York City donates to an international education organisation through their Global Poverty Project each time a guest booking is made directly through its website and provides Guests with the option to pre-order a stocked minibar with health food from the nearby Thrive Market, who subsequently follows the one-for-one business model.

For every purchased membership, Thrive provides a grocery membership to a low-income family.

A triple bottom line philosophy can be considerately integrated into hotel and tourism business models, providing a holistic user experience and ensuring that all customer touchpoints reflect the company brand values held by the ‘triple bottom line’.

“HOTELS AND TOURISM COMPANIES ARE INTEGRATING FORMATS THAT ARE GOOD FOR PEOPLE, PROFIT AND THE PLANET. HOSPITALITY WITH HEART – IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY.”

I-AM Insights

Environmental Retreats

There is a great opportunity for wellness travel and destinations offers located in isolated areas and in places that don’t attract hordes of travellers – spreading and increasing tourism across regions, rather than already saturated areas.

The Romagna region in Italy launched the “Visit Wellness Valley: The land which makes you feel well” campaign while certifying spas and accommodations. Highlighting their natural landscape that one can “go from yoga by sea to hiking in the mountains in only an hour,” Barbara Candolfini, Marketing and Media Relations for Wellness Valley, helped increase the number of visitors. The campaign, aimed at travellers “who’ve already seen the often overcrowded locations of Rome, Florence and Venice” and want to escape to experience an authentic and relaxing Italian environment.

Aro Ha, an eco-friendly retreat surrounded by 8.5 hectares of land overlooking Lake Wakatipu in New Zealand is a unique concept that limits the capacity to only 32 guests and is 100% solar and hydro powered. Built to inspire, stimulate and vitalize mind and body, the architecture and interior design features seamlessly blend into the natural environment, to reconnect guests with nature.

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 Image Source: Aro Ha, New Zealand

Six Senses, the leader in combining luxury, sustainability and pioneering wellness – proposes “since inception, we understood that business is dependent on preserving and conserving the environments, cultures and communities in which they operate, as it is a core component of the crafted experiences provided to guests.”

Resorts & wellness spas located in paradisiac environments can take advantage of their location by reshaping their community and sustainability offering.

The wellness movement has bolstered the Hotel Spa sector with new treatments and broader experiences integrating health and diet, mindful and therapeutic activities (yoga, meditation, sleep enhancements).

We’re seeing the integration of ‘soft’ wellness integrations that are re-defining the pre-existing ‘hard’ wellness features such as spa centres, jacuzzies, pools, gym and beauty salons.

“RESORTS & WELLNESS SPAS LOCATED IN PARADISIAC ENVIRONMENTS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THEIR LOCATION BY RESHAPING THEIR COMMUNITY AND SUSTAINABILITY OFFERING.”

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Active Stays

The wellness trend fundamentally relates to people prioritising their health, translating into increased physical activity. With people wanting to keep up their health and therefore, their fitness routine during travel, many fitness and wellbeing brands are entering the hospitality market or are forging partnerships with hotel and travel brands.

Equinox, the luxury American fitness franchise, entered the realm of boutique hotelier launching a fitness-focused brand intended for the health-conscious traveller. Equinox opened two hotels in New York City and Los Angeles, with plans to expand further, to match the number of their gyms. Their New York City location includes a flagship gym (and the largest in their portfolio) with over 60,000 square feet, outdoor and indoor pools.

The James, a boutique hotel in lower Manhattan, partnered with Chaise Fitness, a local boutique fitness company, to provide in-room, on-demand boutique fitness classes—and the equipment to do it. Guests can try a variety of 20-minute workouts designed to strengthen, improve posture and for maintaining fitness while travelling.

While physical fitness and sustainability contributed to the wellness trend, wellness has permeated into all aspects of lifestyle; including retreats and travel packages that appease, heal and improve mind, body and soul.

“WHILE PHYSICAL FITNESS AND SUSTAINABILITY CONTRIBUTED TO THE WELLNESS TREND, WELLNESS HAS PERMEATED INTO ALL ASPECTS OF LIFESTYLE; INCLUDING RETREATS AND TRAVEL PACKAGES THAT APPEASE, HEAL AND IMPROVE MIND, BODY AND SOUL.”

Holistic Wellness

Luxury hotel brands COMO Hotels and ResortsKamalaya, Aman ResortsBelmond and Six Senses Hotels & Resorts have led the way in ‘healing holidays’, ‘restorative retreats’ and ‘wellness-focused getaways’

Wellness-led luxury environments beautifully balance bespoke, holistic treatments with nature-inspired settings. Programmes address modern stress management, weight loss, nutrition and life transitions for physical, mental and spiritual renewal.

Experiences range from physical and meditative activities to customisable wellness screenings and private consultations, including yoga, fitness, meditation, acupuncture, massages and hydrotherapy. Biohacking, sleep retreats and bespoke nutritional support ranging from detoxes to bespoke programmes are also available.

Many hotels and countryside retreats in the United Kingdom have evolved their wellness offering to include sound healing, spa treatments, and specialists ranging from nutritionists to therapists to fitness trainers.

The Beaverbrook, a quintessential British Country Estate in Surrey, offers a 3-day renewal retreat, the Essex Glass House Retreat, offers activities centred on rest and recuperation as for The Bamford Wellness Spa in the Cotswolds it has expanded into Central London as well as abroad with their first spa opening at South Beach’s 1 Hotel in Miami.

“WELLNESS-LED LUXURY ENVIRONMENTS BEAUTIFULLY BALANCE BESPOKE, HOLISTIC TREATMENTS WITH NATURE-INSPIRED SETTINGS.

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Image source:COMO Hotels & Resorts

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Urban Retreats

Wellness retreats are usually ‘back to nature experiences’ evolved into a more convenient format with urban retreats, allowing consumers a staycation experience dedicated to wellness.

Inhabit’, a new boutique hotel in London’s Paddington, focuses on restorative stay-packages as well as urban wellness retreats. It is positioning itself as more than a hotel, as a hallmark of London’s wellness community, offering sleep packages, yoga, meditation, sound baths and health-focused workshops.

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Source Image (right):  Inhabit Sleep Retreat Guide.    Source Image (left): Mandrake

On the other hand, the Mandrake Hotel in central London focuses on spiritual wellbeing, offering weekly programmes that include bespoke shamanic ceremonies, sound healing and energy cleansing work – all in the aim of creating an antidote for the stress of city life.

Six Senses, hotel, wellness club and spa, is scheduled for a 2023 debut in London’s former Whiteleys Department Store. The hotel with 110 guest rooms and suites, 14 branded residences, includes space for modern living, bespoke interior design, concierge services, dining, housekeeping and a regular wellness programme.

A little off the beaten track yet showing how one can enjoy wellness no matter their whereabouts is ‘Otherness’ – the first online platform in the UK centralising various wellness activities and events that tackle mind, body and soul.  Specialising in everything to do with wellbeing, it curates various events, venues and online guides whilst also representing spiritual wellbeing talents and helping brands organise their wellness programs  – from masterclasses, livestream breathwork and Reiki to online gatherings…

The urban wellness concept is also seeping beyond overnight stays, hotels and resorts and creating spaces and convenient membership services.

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Source Image: Otherness.co

One-Stop-Shop Wellness

One-stop-shop wellness destinations, offer wellness-inspired spaces with a variety of activities and personalised solutions. These emerging spaces follow models similar to health clubs, but offer unique solutions. Upgrade Labs, the brainchild of Bulletproof Founder and “father of biohacking”, Dave Asprey, and Next Health, the world’s first health optimisation and longevity centre, both located in Los Angeles, offer personalised, new technologies and programs to boost health and body. The Well in New York City is a modern wellness club that integrates Eastern and Western healthcare under one roof, including a full-fledged spa, fitness facilities and retail space.

The appeal of going to only one place that offers all the different holistic modalities that we’d normally have to drive all over town for not only feeds people’s need for convenience, but it also creates a community within each of these centers,” said Serena Poon, celebrity chef, nutritionist and founder of Just Add Water.

One-stop-shop wellness destinations offer wellness-inspired spaces with activities for cognitive and physical performance and personalised solutions based on needs, as well as to unify various aspects of wellness under one roof.

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Source Image:  The Well NYC

“ONE STOP SHOP WELLNESS – THE APPEAL OF GOING TO ONLY ONE PLACE THAT OFFERS ALL THE DIFFERENT HOLISTIC MODALITIES (…)NOT ONLY FEEDS PEOPLE’S NEED FOR CONVENIENCE, BUT IT ALSO CREATES A COMMUNITY WITHIN EACH OF THESE CENTERS”

Sarah Poon, Just Add Water

In the last 5 years, London has seen a surge of wellness inspired spaces, clinics, elevated gyms and members clubs opening.

With the likes of the Wellness Clinic in Harrods, offering dermatology to beauty acupuncture, full-body cryotherapy to mindfulness, a series of bespoke services combining technology with natural healing techniques to optimise health and wellbeing.

Cloud Twelve, founded in London in 2018 by herbalist, naturopath and former fund manager Jenya Emets, is a luxury wellness-oriented club for families. Equipped with play & learn area for children, a ‘Family Space’, spa & salon and a brasserie; a full wellness team from nutritionist also supports the club to an acupuncturist.

E by Equinox, another addition to London’s member club scene, introduces the latest in bespoke fitness tech and body optimisation activities, including 100 high-octane group classes, a cryotherapy chamber and customised treadmills that emit oxygenated air to boost endurance. Post-workout, members can enjoy complimentary laundry service, eucalyptus-infused towels, macro-focused meals from Munch Fit and discreet booths for making business calls.

The above are only a few emerging examples and excluding all the in-hotel & spa concepts, with wellness spaces as well as the new boutique concepts promoting spiritual wellbeing and mindfulness-themed sessions increasing across London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

Airside Delights

Wellness is making its mark on new hospitality and retail spaces, but there is also specific opportunity to offer wellness for travellers. From airport offerings to in-flight services, “wellness travel is taking flight as travel, hospitality, and well-being are converging in the broader wellness tourism market. Industry spend is expected to reach $919B by 2022, and airports are becoming wellness destinations in their own right.” – CB Insights

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Source Image:  Como x Singapore Airlines

ROAM Fitness, a luxury gym’s first location opened in 2017 at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, offers pre-flight workouts, including a full gym and features showers, healthy food, workout clothes (to rent), its flight-tracking boards and vacuum sealing for (your own) clothes.

As for in-flight wellness, since 2017, Lufthansa has implemented lighting designed to fit passengers’ day- and night-time biorhythms. Virgin Australia partnered with Smiling Mind,

one of the leaders in wellbeing and mindfulness meditation, a tool to combat travel-related stress.

Singapore Airlines is offering “wellness cuisine” – “as part of this initiative the airline collaborated with wellness house Como Shambhala, where the latter’s world-famous wellness cuisine will be integrated into inflight menus. As more and more frequent flyers become conscious of healthy eating, airlines.

The infusion of wellness into hospitality has converted resorts into retreats, endorsed new destination concepts, advanced the hotel offerings to consider mind, body and soul and provided a platform for curated consumer experiences centred around being good to yourself and the environment. The wellness trend has permeated into hospitality, and that will continue as people seek to better themselves physically and mentally to deal with life stresses and have more control over their wellbeing.