A New Health and Wellness Approach for Hotels

By Bob Caputo Founder, Bob Caputo Living Well | August 06, 2017

I have three words for hotel executives, which may as well be the title of their collective mission: Health and Wellness. Which is to say, the new approach to hospitality – the experience every vacationer deserves to enjoy, and every business traveler has a right to receive – is a healthy atmosphere, a place that exudes the virtues of fitness and nutrition; be it an urban property or a resort location, a boutique destination or a five-star hacienda amidst lush acreage and the soft winds of a turquoise sea; be it a high-end spot or a workaday building, suitable for conferences or company meetings, where a health and wellness expert can consult with a hotel executive – or speak directly to guests – about how to achieve these goals.

Please note: This undertaking goes far beyond the status quo, where a hotel may have a gym – I use that word loosely, as many such places house nothing more than an stationary bike and some barbells – or a breakfast buffet in which chafing dishes hold, respectively, scrambled egg whites and scattered slices of cantaloupe, strawberries, bananas and honey dew melon.

That is not a display of health and wellness. Nor is it a way for hoteliers to distinguish themselves from the competition because, the more we conflate quality with decadence, which may as well be a synonym (within the hospitality industry) for gluttony, the more we assume that a holiday from work will become a regrettable respite from nutrition – what with the sight of pastries, cakes, pies, rolls and loaves of bread – the worse guests will feel, physically and psychologically, and the less likely they will return for another visit. Recognize, too, that I do not suggest hotels should do away with these things.

I believe hotels have a responsibility to inform guests – in a dynamic and intelligent manner – what health and wellness should be; that it should not be – indeed, it must never be – obligatory, like taking a spoonful of medicine or doing something with a sense of resignation; that the perception people have should not be – and again, it must never become – a negative one, as if health and wellness are lifeless rather than lively.

It is a hotelier's duty to show the truth of this story by having someone tell this tale with an emphasis on enlightenment and excitement. In other words, health and wellness can be fun – it is very fun for me – provided guests learn they have options. Explaining those options, and doing so with eloquence and effectiveness, is critical to transforming this category into something people want to do.

This investment is also more an issue of discipline than dollars, meaning, by having a health and wellness expert consult with a hotel executive – by having that professional customize an exercise and nutrition plan, one that highlights an active and robust lifestyle – a hotel can create a personality that attracts new and repeat business.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.