Wellness is not a new concept in the hospitality industry. Hotels have sought to offer amenities such as modern fitness centers and luxurious spas as well as promote sustainability and local experiences for decades.
At the same time, the desires and expectations of travelers are continually changing and hotels have needed to adapt their wellness services accordingly. Here are a few ways wellness travel is expected to evolve in the coming years, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Changing definitions of health and wellness. It is important that hotels are clear about what they mean by “wellness”. In the past, this may have meant promoting relaxation, self-improvement or just a generally active lifestyle. Today, hotels should refine their definition of wellness to include what travelers care most about, including touchless technology, social distancing and hygienic standards.
- Continued focus on sustainability. The other looming crisis of our time is climate change. Because this may pose an even greater threat over the long-term, look for hotels to ramp up efforts to protect the health of guests as well as the health of the planet. Initiatives that reduce energy consumption, minimize environmental impact and conserve water or other resources will continue to be important.
- New expectations for experiential travel. While guests may be understandably wary about sharing cultural and social experiences in unfamiliar spaces, they are also eager to get out and explore something new. Look for creative ways to maintain these offerings, whether by bringing local experiences on-site or by partnering with like-minded businesses that are equally committed to traveler safety.
- Advances in technology. It is clear that technology will play a large role in helping all of us stay safe and return to a sense of normalcy after COVID-19. Contactless solutions for doors, elevators and entertainment systems can help along with high quality video-conference capabilities for meetings and other events. Consider how your hotel can enhance the guest room experience through digital programming and in-room delivery options.
- Longer work/leisure stays. The ability to work remotely as well as anxieties about frequent, back-and-forth travel may lead many guests to increase the duration of their stay, including combinations of business and pleasure trips. To capitalize on this trend, hotels should find ways to accommodate longer stays with services and amenities that encourage travelers to extend their visit.