The hospitality industry is undergoing a transformation fueled by evolving consumer preferences and technological advancements. As the landscape shifts, the need for innovative strategies to provide exceptional guest experiences becomes more crucial. Among the numerous trends reshaping the industry, the fusion of fitness, wellness, and spa services are merging with technology as a driving force.
In this blog post, we’ll explore how global wellness trends are impacting fitness and the future of the hospitality industry, with a focus on live and in-room virtual experiences, on-demand services, and mobile app offerings that guests are increasingly demanding.
As people increasingly prioritize their well-being, hotels and resorts are reimagining their offerings to meet the evolving needs of guests. Emlyn Brown, the Global Senior Vice President of Well-Being at Accor, a world-leading hospitality group, sheds light on the macro wellness trends that are reshaping hospitality guest experiences. He was interviewed recently after the Fit Summit in this Philstar Global article Why Hotels and Resorts Should Invest in Wellness.
The Wellness Revolution
The COVID-19 pandemic forced people to reevaluate their lifestyles, sparking a wellness revolution. Emlyn Brown acknowledges this shift, stating, “COVID-19 further accelerated the global thirst for healthy living and wellness.” Travelers now seek experiences that not only provide relaxation and escapism but also contribute to their overall well-being.
Embracing Wellness as the New Standard
Wellness is no longer an optional amenity in the hospitality industry; it’s the standard that today’s guests expect. Brown highlights that four out of five guests are taking daily steps to improve their health and well-being. These steps encompass various aspects, including diet and nutrition, physical activity, and stress management. As Brown puts it, “Being healthy is a daily ambition.”
Moreover, investing in wellness pays off for hotels and resorts. Wellness-oriented guests spend 56 percent more than leisure guests, and properties that offer wellness activities tend to leave guests more delighted.
““Wellness seekers spend 56% more than leisure guests. Data also shows that when wellness activities are involved, more delighted customers leave the property.”
~ Emlyn Brown, Global Senior Vice President – Well-Being at ACCOR ~
Meet the Next-Generation Wellness Customer: “Henry”
To cater to the evolving wellness-focused clientele, Brown introduces the concept of “Henry” – High Earner Not Reach Yet. These individuals are city dwellers, well-traveled, health-conscious, educated, and curious about wellness. What sets them apart from traditional guests is their pursuit of tangible results in health and wellness, a focus on self-improvement, and a desire to recharge and prevent burnout. “Henry” values sustainability, eats healthy, seeks inspiration from social media, appreciates both solo “me time” and community “we time,” and prefers a more casual environment over classic luxury experiences.
Brown shared how Accor is also focused on helping guests eat like athletes, recognizing that wellness and biohacking are not limited to Gen Z. High-spending, high-net-worth individuals from Gen X are also seeking ways to improve their well-being, and Accor is eager to provide these experiences within its club offerings.
Macro Wellness Trends Redefining Hospitality
Macro trends refer to major shifts in consumer behavior that will direct the business landscape in the long term. They have a cross-industry impact and evolve over time.
1. Personalized Fitness and Wellness Experiences
In the era of personalization, guests expect more than a generic stay; they desire tailored experiences that cater to their unique needs. Hotels and restaurants are leveraging the power of data analytics and artificial intelligence to gather insights about their guests. With access to data, diagnostics, and health trackers, hyper-personalization is achievable. Guests expect tailored wellness experiences based on their health data. By understanding preferences, nutrition requirements, and fitness goals, establishments can curate personalized fitness and wellness offerings. Whether it’s a customized workout routine or a personalized in-room meditation session, these experiences leave a lasting impression and foster guest loyalty.
2. Hyper-Local Fitness and Wellness Experiences
The rise of hyper-local experiences reflects a shift in guest preferences towards authenticity and cultural immersion. Establishments are collaborating with local vendors, offering regionally inspired fitness classes, and providing wellness activities that connect guests with the destination’s unique attributes.
Aside from physical fitness, the lines are blurring between wellness, spa, and fitness services. Wellness tourists want services such as stress reduction, relaxation, and spiritual activities to be a vital part of their travel experience. They may also seek treatments through traditional and alternative medicine either at or nearby the hotel. This trend not only enhances the guest experience, but also contributes to the local economy and community.
3. Technology Integration for Fitness and Wellness
The integration of technology into the guest experience is undeniable. From streamlined online bookings to virtual concierges, technology is transforming how guests interact with hospitality services. Fitness and wellness offerings are no exception. Hotels are implementing virtual fitness classes accessible from in-room devices or personal devices, while mobile apps provide guests with on-demand fitness and wellness content. However, while technology adds convenience, maintaining a human touch is essential to preserving the warmth of hospitality.
4. Health and Wellness as a Priority
The growing emphasis on health and wellness is reshaping how guests choose their accommodations. Fitness facilities, in-room virtual fitness classes, and mobile fitness apps are no longer mere amenities; they’re expectations. Health wearables and apps for personal fitness tracking enable guests to maintain their routines while traveling.
Moreover, mental health is taking center stage with guests seeking ways to reduce stress and support mental well-being. Hotels are offering virtual and on-site meditation sessions, therapy services, outdoor experiences, and tools to disconnect from digital distractions.
“Being healthy is a daily ambition. Guests) take steps in daily life to stay healthy, such as eating in moderation, getting exercise, managing stress.” So to keep up with rising guest expectations, wellness is not an option within the hospitality (industry). It’s the standard today’s guests expect.”
Emlyn Brown, Global Senior Vice President – Well-Being at ACCOR
5. Flexible Spaces For Fitness And Wellness
Flexibility is a hallmark of modern hospitality. Travellers seek adaptable spaces that cater to their diverse needs. Hotels are responding by creating multifunctional areas that serve as fitness studios in the morning, co-working spaces during the day, and event venues in the evening. Such versatile spaces accommodate guests’ evolving requirements and enhance their overall experience.
6. Collaborative Social Spaces For Recreational Wellness
The modern traveler craves connection and community, even within their accommodations. Recreational wellness hotels offer vacationers the chance to meaningfully unwind with a variety of relaxing physical, mental, and spiritual activities. Collaborative spaces for fitness and wellness areas foster social interactions between guests and locals alike. These spaces provide a platform for guests to network, share experiences, and forge meaningful connections, contributing to an enriching stay.
7. Culinary Fitness and Wellness Experiences
Culinary tourism is gaining momentum, with wellness retreats becoming a pivotal aspect of the travel experience. Culinary experiences are a core part of health and wellness. Some wellness retreats offer fitness activities, spa treatments, culinary experiences, and clean-living detoxification programs. Hotels and the on-property restaurants are capitalizing on this trend by offering unique fitness, nutrition, and wellness experiences that showcase local food and activities.
8. Sustainable Eco-Friendly Wellness Initiatives
Environmental sustainability, leading hotels to adopt eco-friendly practices. Eco-friendly fitness and wellness practices include new ways to reduce energy and water usage and focus on using products safe for human and planet health. Marketing your brand as a good environmental steward can elevate and differentiate you from your competitors.
Further, green practices not only minimize your costs, but attract an emerging demographic of Millennial and Generation Z consumers who are willing to pay an extra 11 to 20% for a product or service that aligns with the values and issues they care about. Using eco-friendly gym supplies and equipment, reducing water consumption, using natural and eco-friendly products, providing filtered water, and installing more efficient lighting and temperature control lets guests appreciate the alignment with their values and are more likely to choose businesses that demonstrate environmental responsibility.
Hospitality Industry Evolution
As the hospitality industry continues to evolve, fitness and wellness are becoming pivotal elements in shaping the guest experience. From personalized offerings and eco-conscious practices to technology integration and collaborative spaces, establishments are redefining what it means to provide exceptional service. By aligning with the trends outlined above, businesses can position themselves at the forefront of the industry’s transformation, ensuring that they meet the evolving demands of health-conscious and experience-driven travelers.
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Emlyn Brown, the Global Senior Vice President of Well-Being at Accor-Linked In Post