Getting in on the Health Kick: Wellness for Independent Lodgings


In our recent post about hospitality trends for 2015, we included a focus on health and wellness. The general population is increasingly seeking a healthy lifestyle, not only in daily routine, but while traveling too. Both leisure and business travelers are looking for experiences that support and enhance their personal health regimes when away from home, and, more and more, are using such criteria to choose accommodation.
A hotel gym alone just doesn’t cut it anymore; health and wellness is not only about physical fitness, it’s about nutritional and mental health too. Today’s vacationers are traveling to rejuvenate body and mind. Big players InterContinental Hotels Group and Starwood Hotels & Resorts have embraced the growing wellness travel sector by creating the healthy-lifestyle brands EVEN Hotels (InterContinental) and Element (Starwood).
While we’re definitely not suggesting to shift your brand focus, almost everyone appreciates having healthy options. Wellness-based offerings can help your property stand out and earn glowing reviews. You don’t need to renovate for more natural light or make room for a fitness center; here are a few simple ways independent properties can put a health and wellness spin on the guest experience…
The Indoor Environment
Stagnant, musty air is not only unpleasant, but it can be a real health concern for asthma and allergy sufferers. Thorough cleaning and good air circulation are important for keeping rooms fresh. Any mold or mildew problems (typically occurring in bathrooms) must be eradicated, and ventilation systems need to be serviced regularly.
Consider hypoallergenic cleaning products to help decrease indoor air contaminants, and offer guests allergy-friendly pillows and bedding for better quality of sleep.
The Las Vegas MGM Grand steps things up with “Stay Well” rooms that feature vitamin C-infused showers (the vitamin C neutralizes the chlorine), light therapy, air purification, water filtration and optional aromatherapy.
Go Greener
You are probably already implementing some green practices at your property — after all, they make sense for both the planet and your property’s bottom line. TripAdvisor conducted an eco-travel survey last year that showed travelers are growing greener too, making more eco-conscious travel decisions. Good for the planet and, therefore, good for us, environmentally-friendly and sustainable actions are part and parcel of the wellness tradition.
Towel and linen reuse programs, recycling programs, energy-efficient lighting, low-flow shower heads, composting and non-toxic cleaning products are all simple ways to reduce your property’s environmental footprint, save money, and make your guests feel good about staying with you. Did you know that cloud property management systems are greener too?
On the Menu
If your property offers on-site dining, consider using organic, locally-sourced ingredients in your kitchen. Not everything has to be organic and local, but make sure your menu highlights what is. Take a look at your menu — does it offer a variety of healthy choices, including vegetarian and vegan options? With food allergies becoming so widespread, it’s important to cater to these guests now too. Gluten-free options are popping up on menus everywhere.
Even if your property doesn’t have a restaurant, you can still offer your guests healthy nutritional choices. Some ideas include offering a range of wholesome selections for breakfast, complimentary in-room or lobby fruit bowls (you can wrap washed fruit with safe cling wrap) displayed with a card that says “help yourself to a fresh, organic apple!,” organic fair-trade coffee, and healthy vending machines.
Physical Pursuits
Your property doesn’t need to have a gym to support your guests’ physical routine. More and more hotels are offering in-room “fit kits” containing yoga mats and props, stability balls, resistance bands and the like. Couple these with on demand fitness programming or a selection of DVDs guests can borrow from the front desk. If your location is safe for cycling, consider offering guests complimentary bikes for exploring the area — you could even provide maps marked with cycling and jogging routes.
Reassess your space: are there any underutilized areas indoors or out? Perhaps you do have a small, unused, well-ventilated space that could suit a couple of fitness machines, or an open, flat outdoor area where you could set up a badminton net.
Consider developing a partnership with a nearby gym or fitness studio to provide free or discounted access for your guests.
Relaxation for Body and Mind
Because wellness is about a healthy body and mind, it’s important to provide guests with opportunities to relax both. Create quiet, tranquil spaces for reading, contemplating the scenery or even meditating. Uncluttered spaces with comfortable furnishings and plenty of natural light can be accentuated with greenery and quiet, soothing background music. Well-maintained outdoor hot tubs do wonders for this writer.
Properties with on-site spas should have relaxing experiences down pat, but for the spa-less, consider the possibility of outsourcing in-room massage services or on-site meditation instruction, depending on your typical guest profile (business travelers and honeymooners, for example, are likely to appreciate this).
Healthy Work Habits
Whether your property offers in-room workstations or communal areas, work spaces should be comfortable, calm and conducive to productivity. Ergonomic chairs for good posture, stand-up desks, healthy snacks and plenty of water are some components of healthy work spaces found in hotels today. And fast, reliable Wi-Fi goes without saying – you want to relax, not frustrate, your guests!
Package It All Up
Help guests make the most of the great outdoors by partnering with local tour operators to offer guests exciting packages that get them out and active. Activities running near your property, from surfing lessons to trail rides to hiking to canoeing, can be packaged with stays to add value (and fun) to the guest experience.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of ideas. As long as you remain true to the unique character of your property, and relevant to your particular guests, you can get as creative as you wish! Generally, the more creative you are, the more you will stand out. And, finally, remember to promote any wellness initiatives on your website and social media.