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When hotels operators take care of their guests

Taking care of oneself requires time, time that we do not always manage to find in our daily lives, often punctuated by work, transport and family obligations. However, it is essential to cultivate a healthy mind in a healthy body, as the saying goes. Hotel stays can offer a break from this stressful everyday life with the development of offers and products focused on well-being. A growing trend that more and more hospitality actors are capitalising on to diversify their revenues.

A market that does not experience the crisis

The wellness market is experiencing exponential growth that is not about to slow down according to the latest study published on ResearchAndMarkets.com. The study looks at the size of the current market, the major trends driving it and how it will evolve over the next five years. In 2021, the global wellness tourism market will be worth $822.44 billion. The study forecasts the market to reach a value of $1,250.27 billion by 2027, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.23% during the period 2021-2027.

The market is mainly driven by a significant increase in travel and personal wellness spending. In particular, the health crisis has intensified this need to discover new horizons while taking care of oneself in a time-out bubble. As a reminder, wellness tourism takes the form of travel that assists in strengthening and maintaining a person's personal well-being. It also helps to enrich the mental and physical health of individuals. If fitness centres and hospitals are included, it is hotels that today group together a large part of the facilities serving these different objectives.

While wellness used to be synonymous with massages, thermal cures and spas, the term now encompasses much more. Moreover, wellness tourism is not only about physical wellness as many people think. Mental wellness is becoming an equally important component of the new offerings with the widespread use of mind-body activities such as yoga or meditation. Practices originating in Asia that have gradually found their way into the Western world, proving their benefits time and again.

A wellness trend in the hospitality sector corroborated by Accor, which according to its own research reveals that wellness spending for stays in the US is 53% higher for international guests and 178% higher for domestic guests. According to Emlyn Brown, Accor's global vice president of wellness, there are several areas of health that hotels can holistically package for guests:

  • Nutrition
  • Hotel design and environment
  • Physical activity and sports
  • Spas and treatments
  • Mental health and mindfulness
  • Digital wellness

Wellness is also part of this differentiation, which is even more important for younger guests. According to Emlyn Brown, "72% of Generation Z travellers say that mental health is the most important type of health for them. However, the challenge is to get guests to unplug from their smartphones and social networks in order to live in the moment and enjoy it to the full. 

Accor is able to harness a specific moment of wellness, which is so much more than a seat in a spa. We believe that travel wellness starts from the very beginning of the journey, from the moment you put in your earplugs. [It is now widely recognised that physical, emotional and mental wellbeing contribute to a better quality of life, and for hotels this must permeate the entire guest experience. 

Emlyn Brown, Global Vice President of Wellness at Accor

Wellness in small steps

Wellness can be found in many forms in hotels. It is not necessary to have a spa to offer guests a relaxing break, many other experiences can be offered. There is no single form of wellness, on the contrary, the sector has been evolving in recent times with the rise of personal development. Well-being and mindfulness are two of the major trends in recent years. It is no longer just a matter of pampering the body but also of taking care of the mind.

This trend has not escaped the hotel operator Akena, which has teamed up with the online yoga platform "Chez June" to offer yoga, meditation and Pilates classes to its guests. Through the AKENA YOGA CHEZ VOUS platform, guests will be able to select the class that suits them, choosing their level, discipline and the body part they wish to work on. Thompsons Hotels is following suit by unveiling a new collaboration with CorePower Yoga, one of the largest yoga studio brands in the US. The aim is to offer a series of rooftop yoga classes unlike any other. Classes that are rooted in mindfulness and designed to transform the mind and body of participants. The offer is aimed at both brand guests and locals. 

At Thompson Hotels, we seek to create valuable experiences that align with our guests' priorities, and that includes how they stay fit and healthy on the road. We are thrilled to team up with CorePower Yoga to meet guests where they are in their wellness journey with distinctive offerings that enhance their stay. 

Crystal Vinisse Thomas, Vice President and Global Brand Manager, Lifestyle and Luxury Brands at Hyatt

Accor has decided to call on the services of Su-Man, a world-renowned and award-winning facialist. She will begin a residency at the Sofitel London St James from the start of this autumn. To coincide with her arrival at the property, she will launch a brand new treatment, the Ultimate Glow Facial, which will be exclusive to the five-star hotel, as well as a series of movement masterclasses to complement her existing list of treatments. In particular, Su-Man has spent many years honing her craft, training in traditional Chinese massage, Pilates and various healing arts, to develop the unique approach to skin care for which she is renowned. A wellness expert who brings her experience to the table by offering unique treatments to Accor guests visiting London.

Treatments based on ancient traditions are popular, as evidenced by the latest experience unveiled at the spa of the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo. Guests can now try the Turkish hammam, a ritual that has evolved over thousands of years since the Ottoman Empire. It consists of a traditional bath used for cleansing, skin exfoliation and relaxation. The treatment begins with a steam bath followed by a body scrub, a foam massage and a full body massage with a choice of coffee, clay or brown sugar scrub. The benefits include stress reduction and treatment for back pain. Through this ritual, the property intends to revive this great tradition and offer its guests a purifying and relaxing experience after a long day of exploration.

The choice of beauty products is equally important, which is why Ovolo Hotels has partnered with cruelty-free beauty brand The Body Shop for National Wellness Month. The two companies have collaborated on a wellness package that focuses on a quality sleep experience, with an exclusive The Body Shop Sleep Deep pack, T2 sleep tea bags, and sleep advice from the European Sleep Centre. Ovolo and The Body Shop are also introducing an experiential experience at the Ovolo Woolloomooloo. The Sleep Deep Experience includes a personalised sleep consultation with renowned sleep expert Olivia Arezzolo, a sound bath and a 'sleep-friendly' dinner designed by Ovolo chefs in partnership with Olivia Arezzolo. One of the aims of this initiative is to assist Australians to look after their health and well-being by getting enough sleep.

Putting wellness at the centre of its offer

Other hospitality actors are taking this a step further by transforming their properties into real temples of well-being. The aim is to offer a stay away from the stress and bustle of everyday life so that guests can recharge their batteries in a setting conducive to relaxation.

The Meliá Punta Cana Beach Resort is being transformed into a fully immersive wellness property, with new facilities and services designed to enhance a "360 Wellness Experience". The property's 360 Wellness Platform offers activities and rituals designed to assist guests in their physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, social and environmental development through the resort's five wellness spaces - Social, Silent, Sensory, Culinary and Personal. This wellness experience will now be enhanced with new daily programming, revamped social spaces and refreshed culinary offerings. Through the Meliá app, guests can create custom itineraries based on their needs, among other things. As an added bonus, The Level guests will continue to enjoy a deeper wellness experience with The Level Wellness Suites by Stay Well, which include one spa treatment per day per person, a personal wellness concierge and private pool areas. 

Today, more than ever, guests are seeking a fully immersive wellness experience that enriches the mind, body and soul. We are therefore delighted to develop our unique 360° wellness experience to meet this demand. By transforming into an immersive wellness property, Meliá Punta Cana Beach, an Inclusive Wellness Resort, truly differentiates itself in the Caribbean and we believe that visitors to the Dominican Republic looking to unlock total wellness will find no other wellness experience quite like it. 

Derryl D'costa, Hotel Manager, Meliá Punta Cana Beach

Meliá is also interested in emerging trends such as forest bathing. Forest walks have taken on a whole new dimension since the 1980s, when shinrin-yoku (forest bathing) was introduced in Japan. The practice has become more widespread over the years as people seek an antidote to too much time spent online. Like relaxing in a bath, forest bathing is about living mindfully for a moment. Among other things, this practice helps to reduce blood pressure and strengthen the immune system. Located in 108 square kilometres of protected natural forest in Ba Vi National Park, Melia Ba Vi Mountain Retreat is one of the first properties in Vietnam to offer this practice. The guided experience involves walking with intent through the resort's surrounding rainforest to a hidden stream.

Hyatt is also getting into the wellness business with the recent signing of a management agreement with The Red Sea Development Company to bring Miraval The Red Sea, a 180-room luxury wellness resort, to the ground. Wellness and mindfulness are at the heart of this new project, which will be the brand's fourth property worldwide. The Life in Balance Spa, expected to be the largest in the Red Sea destination, will be the heart of the property, with nearly 3,700 sqm and 39 treatment rooms. In addition to classic treatments, Life in Balance Spa at Miraval The Red Sea will offer innovative new treatments, destination-inspired experiences and a series of groundbreaking wellness programmes that pay tribute to the rich local culture and heritage of the Middle East. The luxury wellness centre will also feature a variety of culinary offerings, including a central dining room, the Life in Balance healthy kitchen and a market with healthy, thoughtful cuisine. In addition, various cooking classes and workshops will be offered. 

We are honored to elevate the Miraval brand to a global level with the project of the brand's first property outside of the United States. We are especially grateful that this property will continue the brand's mission to bring authentic, inclusive and immersive wellness experiences to new customers and audiences, enabling them to develop a conscious journey towards a balanced life. 

Susan Santiago, Director of Miraval Resorts

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