Social & Environmental Factors

Environmental and social factors such as modernized living and an increase in chronic diseases, stress, depression, and anxiety have been driving the rise of wellness during the last few decades. People are becoming more attentive of their physical, mental, and emotional health because of a growing knowledge of sustainability. At the highest level, there is a desire to temporarily escape our mortality by living a longer and more fulfilled life. The catastrophic coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 has fueled the global wellness movement and caused the globe to reconsider how we live, consume, work, and travel. Interest in health and wellbeing is at an all-time high.

The global wellness sector was valued at US$4.5 trillion in 2018, according to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), and it continues to surpass global economic growth. The wellness tourism market was worth US$639.4 billion in 2017, and it is expected to increase at a 7.5% annual rate between 2017 and 2022.

As the notion of wellness becomes more widely acknowledged and embraced, basic fitness center and general hotel spa offerings are frequently insufficient to fulfill the expanding requirements and expectations of increasingly wellness-aware visitors. Hoteliers throughout the world are experimenting with new methods to engage with this trend and capitalize on this ever-growing economy, both at the property level and through corporate-level branding tactics.

Evolution of workout options

Aside from providing healthy and organic food and beverage (F&B) options, jogging concierge services, and culinary workshops, more hotel brands and properties are making fitness options more accessible to tourists who want to keep up with their workout routines while on the road.

Westin partnered with the training equipment and media business Peloton in 2017 to deploy its cardio bicycles in the health centers and select bedrooms of U.S. hotels as a pioneer fitness-and-wellness-focused brand, offering workout gear rentals with its Heavenly fittings. In the same year, Hilton debuted its “Five Feet to Fitness” guestroom idea, which included the installation of eleven various pieces of workout equipment and accessory options, as well as 25 in-room fitness tutorials.

Apart from adhering to brand standards, some hotels take the initiative and seize the latest trends and technology to further differentiate themselves. The Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley partnered with the gym technology company Tonal in January 2020 to offer select fitness-oriented guestrooms with an intelligent fitness system and personal trainer, integrating expert coaching and innovative equipment for various guided workouts such as yoga, cardio, and strength training. Other hotels and operators are rethinking their fitness programs in order to add a more flexible and technological approach to basic offerings.

Wellness-centric hotel sub-brands are on the rise

To fully embrace the health movement, prominent hotel corporations have continued to add wellness-oriented brands to its portfolio during the last decade. InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) developed the EVEN Hotels brand in 2012, with wellness at its core, and strengthened its strategy in 2019 with the acquisition of Six Senses (a brand known for its focus on wellness and sustainability). As of this writing, IHG has 15 EVEN Hotel properties in operation across the world, with another 28 in the planning stages. The brand recently made its Asian debut, with a second store opening in Nanjing, China, in June 2020. In addition, the hotel group intends to extend the Six Senses brand from 18 to 60 locations during the next ten years.

Hyatt Hotels Corporation purchased two wellness brands in 2017: Miraval Group and Exhale, with aims to integrate their offerings into the Hyatt guest experience. Miraval Group is a health resort and spa operator based in New York, best known for its flagship wellness destination location in Tucson, Arizona. Miraval’s portfolio in the United States has recently extended to include new locations in Austin, Texas, and Lenox, Massachusetts. Exhale is a lifestyle fitness center franchise that offers boutique fitness courses and spa services. Canyon Ranch is another world-class destination health pioneer. Canyon Ranch also has a flagship property in Tucson, Arizona, and has recently expanded in the United States with the addition of a new facility in Woodside, California.

Destination Spas are taking Wellness to the Next Level

Many hotel corporations are increasingly interested in differentiating their hotel product offerings through wellness-oriented facilities and amenities, or by introducing new wellness-focused brands into their portfolio. However, some experts from established destination spas (also known as wellness resorts or wellness retreats) may be unconvinced that these regular hotel management businesses can pull it off. Creating personalized wellness trips with carefully designed health and wellness programs differs fundamentally from what standard hotels may provide, as it necessitates a thorough understanding of the operational complexities of the spa-and-wellness sector. Furthermore, these destination spa facilities must follow a different growth strategy than traditional hotel and resort models.

The GWI defines wellness tourism into two broad segments: primary and secondary wellness travelers. The former refers to tourists whose trip or location selection is largely motivated by the wellness offering provided, whilst the latter refers to travelers who seek to maintain their own wellness routine or partake in wellness experiences while traveling for leisure or business. Well-being propositions are at the forefront of the contemporary travel and tourism atmosphere. With transient leisure and recreational components as key focal points, demand and interest in the primary wellness category is increased.

Destination spas are created to appeal to primary wellness tourists, delivering an immersive experience with the sole intention of assisting them in developing or maintaining their own long-term healthy lifestyles. A destination spa is also defined by the International Spa Association (ISPA) as “a facility with the primary objective of encouraging individual spa-goers to build healthy habits.” Needless to say, not every visitor fully transitions to a healthy lifestyle following their visit; however, exposure to these programs frequently demonstrates considerable wellness advantages and aids in the development of new lifelong habits and program involvement.

Changing Global Market Dynamics

In the global market for spa and wellness properties and programs, there are significant variances. Many Asian and European countries have strong historical traditions and long-standing cultural norms associated with the idea of well-being and spa experiences. The breadth and length of these objectives frequently result in more inclusive visitor experiences, facility use, and engagement. Many parts of the world have long recognized the health benefits of nature, hydrothermal experiences, and bio-dynamic prevention and treatment. However, there are global spa-and-wellness businesses that have primarily focused on luxury and manual aesthetic services. The differences between these markets can be traced back to their adoption of modern-day ideals; for example, while some parts of the world have added spa services to supplement an existing cultural foundation of well-being, others have created programs targeting well-being atop aesthetic and beauty services to meet emerging new demand.

Today, fresh global wellness-hospitality industry prospects can be found almost anywhere. There are several approaches to this, and the characteristics of well-crafted wellness centers necessitate a certain level of competence and foresight. The extensive benefits of well-being are natural and can give meaningful self-care solutions, particularly during times of intense thought and distress.

The global supply of destination wellness spas currently available includes a variety of integrative health and wellness offers, medical services, and lifestyle components. These establishments often comprise a wide range of concepts, cultural themes, treatment and service specializations, and so forth. Wellness real estate development is appearing across all sectors, from hotels and resorts to mixed-use and residential, in addition to worldwide spa-and-wellness development.

Europe has a higher number of comprehensive destination spas, particularly in Austria, Germany, and Italy. Over 60% of the 50 properties examined are holistic wellness destination spas, while over 40% are medical spas with a strong science-backed and evidence-based medicinal focus; additionally, the European market has the highest proportion of listed medical spas. Nonetheless, Rancho La Puerta, Canyon Ranch, Miraval, Lanserhof, SHA, Ananda, Chiva-Som, and Kamalaya are among the world’s long-established and leading destinations spas, with varying levels of targeted well-being.

Destination spas are taking health to the next level with their distinct services as specialized wellness-hospitality complexes continue to flourish. We go into more detail below to help you understand what distinguishes a destination spa from a typical hotel or resort, as well as the crucial success factors for these types of initiatives.