An Integrated Wellness, Training and Relaxation Opportunity Missed in Hospitality Today
By Richard Fawell Design & Managing Principal, VOA Associates Incorporated | June 15, 2014
The wellness experience in hotel amenity spaces can and should be developed to create a single total integrated health experience consisting of fitness cross-training, relaxation, nutrition education, entertainment, and spa. This experience should not only exercise and relax the entire body and mind, but it should also be easy to organize, schedule and partake in. Instead of buried in a dim basement, the experience needs to take place in a space which connects nature with natural light and invokes an association between wellness and the organic world. The guest should be able to customize the time and nature of the experience with trained but inconspicuous guidance (as much or as little as the patron desires) to support them through the total experience. Often however, these amenities, when they exist, are not well thought-out, are self-service and are poorly integrated into the guest experience. The wellness experience represents a unique opportunity to connect with the patron. When it is manifest in an afterthought, even an aesthetically well-designed one, it is likely a missed opportunity. Done properly the synergistic wellness experience generates revenue and changes the way patrons think of hotels and resorts.
The Status Quo
As hotels and resorts continue to re-brand and re-think their guest and patron services in existing facilities as well as in their planning of new hotels and resorts, a great opportunity exists. Often, however, a passive approach misses the mark in terms of developing an engaging wellness amenity program. By applying some creative thinking, these programs can be an inviting and healthy alternative to the typical, humdrum fitness/pool/spa centers.
The mind loves variety, the body craves routine, and this routine often breaks down when patrons are traveling. The appeal of international brands for the modern traveler is an expectation of a specific level of quality in their routine wherever they go. But if the wellness amenities are not ulitlized, patrons will often crave the relaxation and entertainment of their personal health and wellness workout when they return home. If hotels can understand the patron's needs and provide a more customized experience, the patron will feel better about spending precious time and money to visit a specific hotel or resort.
Pools can be a magnetic draw for hotel and resort properties. Contemporary fitness centers developed in tandem with popular pools can include state-of-the-art multimedia workout centers as well as entertainment and relaxation facilities. Spa operations range widely in quality --from luxurious, don't miss experiences, to very passively marketed inaccessible ones. When inconvenient or intimidating with their exclusivity, spas are sure to become a financial drain, their inactivity ensured by the design itself.
The Hotel Business Review articles are free to read on a weekly basis, but you must purchase a subscription to access
our library archives. We have more than 5000 best practice articles on hotel management and operations, so our
knowledge bank is an excellent investment! Subscribe today and access the articles in our archives.