Spa towels with stones stack on top of each other

By Adam and Larry Mogelonsky

The core revenue stream for every hotel brand will always be heads in beds. But increasingly for luxury, premium and upscale properties, a strong reason to visit is required to convince customers to select your hotel as opposed to your competitor. With the OTAs, metasearch, short-term rentals and a litany of other travel resources, guests have near-endless optionality for accommodations. Your hotel must forge a striking identity, with the wellness industry now assuming a central role in a brand’s strategy for attracting guests and commanding above-market rates.

Not just as a reason to visit to feed the rooms-revenue ledger, the sheer broadness and flexibility of the term ‘wellness’ allows nearly any brand to play in the space. Within the word’s comprehensive definition as products or services that enhance an individual’s health or well-being, there are applications for traditional spas, the guestroom, F&B, M&E and activities. As such, having a long-term wellness strategy is critical for RevPAR growth (revenue per guest including all ancillary spend) as well as that of a hotel’s overall profitability mix and asset valuation.

What we’re seeing as a trend within this trend is the proliferation of the concept of ‘wellness floors.’ Another term with some ambiguity, two main categories can comprise these floors, and it’s up to you to decide which has the most feasibility for your brand, your property and your capital budget.

The first definition of a wellness floor is a straightforward re-branding of the spa. The traditional ‘spa’ connotes massages, facials, manicures, pedicures, treatments, sequences of different treatments (now commonly called rituals) and a calming atmosphere with high-end finishings. While guests still want those services, a wellness floor can incorporate whatever the owner or designer wants and any number of the latest health crazes. Moreover, these upgrades can help to sell day passes to locals to further bolster the revenue mix.

Currently, mineral bathing, contrast therapy and sauna circuits are popular, so a renovation can look to build out cold plunges, ice baths, steamrooms, halotherapy (salt) rooms, infrared saunas or even cryo chambers. And speaking of advanced treatments such as spending three minutes in a -150C tube, there’s also hyperbaric oxygen treatment (HBOT), cyclic variations in adaptive conditioning (CVAC) systems, deprivation tanks, soundscapes, neuro-acoustics and more to awe guests with the latest sci-fi devices. 

Wellness can also mean fitness, with hotels investing in state-of-the-art exercise equipment as well as looking for yoga, breathwork or dynamic movement practitioners who can lead group classes or provide guidance on in-room workout programming for guests. Finally, wellness most certainly means food, with many of these re-designed floors also including a bespoke food outlet with a health-conscious menu likely built around more informal dining and plant-based items that don’t require a full kitchen to prepare.

The next key pillar of well-being — sleep — brings us to the guestroom and the second categorial definition of a wellness floor. Like the club-floor concept, this is when a hotel upgrades one or two guestroom floors to generate wellness-oriented inventory as a means of introducing another product tier for enhanced packaging, upselling and rewards. 

Many hotels are highlighting sleep with single-floor or single-section renovations by incorporating temperature-controlled beds, circadian lighting, a pillow concierge, black-out curtains, vitamin-infused showers, sleep-inducing stretching routines on the TV and more.

Wellness floors don’t need to be themed solely around sleep though. Hilton’s Five Feet from Fitness and IHG’s EVEN Hotels, amongst others, have both tapped into a lucrative niche by designing exercise-centric rooms alongside a myriad of other onsite services for the traveller who wants to maintain their at-home fitness routines but may not necessarily have the time for a full gym session. Even more niche, you can outfit certain room stock ahead of arrival with heightened F&B, such as wellness-oriented mini bars, elaborate coffee service, on-demand supplements or all the requirements for a multi-day juicing detox.

Which path do we recommend? That depends entirely on your brand vision. But because each brand is different and because wellness can mean many different things to different people, when done right, your hotel can realize tremendous success from this burgeoning industry. 


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