Wellness Hotels: A Booming Hospitality Trend

The global wellness tourism market is expected to reach USD 2.1 trillion by 2030. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 12.42 per cent from 2023 to 2030. The global wellness tourism market was valued at USD 814.6 billion in 2022.

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If your idea of wellbeing in hotels is limited to spas and massages spanning an hour or two, this is probably a trailer to the film that you have yet to experience. 

Today, it is commonly acknowledged that a higher quality of life encompasses physical, emotional, and mental health. The hospitality industry has demonstrated a significant need for well-being services that go well beyond spas and fitness to include things like health, nutrition, and technology. Experts convey that well-being will be the driving force in leveraging the hotel industry. 

With people focused on health and wellbeing, providing a deeply relaxing and wellness-focused hotel experience that puts nature at the centre is likely to be valued more than ever before. 

The global wellness tourism market is expected to reach USD 2.1 trillion by 2030. The market is expected to expand at a CAGR of 12.42 per cent from 2023 to 2030. The global wellness tourism market was valued at USD 814.6 billion in 2022.

Prior to the pandemic, India was the fastest-growing market for wellness tourism. Traditional Ayurvedic resorts, destination spas, and wellness retreats are among the expanding number of hotels and resorts in India that offer a complete package of treatments, experiences, and travel. Various places like Kerala and Uttarakhand are being developed as unique places for wellness tourism. 

The report by Research And Markets also conveyed that Indian government is increasing its spending on the tourism sector with all types of new regulations and subsidies to help attract more tourists. As a result of this, domestic visitor spending across India is increasing. Domestic visitor spending across India in 2021 amounted to about 151 billion U.S. dollars, a significant increase from the year 2020. 

In fact, consumers spanning 48 countries and territories revealed in a consumer survey by the World Tourism Association that over 24 per cent of consumers would be extremely likely to book a wellness vacation within the next two years, and 78 per cent indicated they already add wellness-specific activities to their itineraries when travelling. 

Revenue from wellness services 

According to the Global Wellness Institute, the number of spa establishments worldwide increased by 7.3 per cent from 149,252 in 2017 to 160,100 in 2020. There are now 35,099 hot springs establishments across 130 countries. Very strong 18 per cent annual growth is expected through 2025. This, in turn, has resulted in a rise in employment opportunities. 

"The proportion of revenue generated by wellness services may differ based on the particular hotel or hospitality business. Nevertheless, the integration of wellness services has become an increasingly popular trend within the hospitality industry. Hotels can meet the growing demand for health and wellness experiences among travellers by providing wellness services. This strategy can attract a broader range of customers, improve guest satisfaction, and potentially boost revenue by creating new sources of income," said Shiv Bose, General Manager of DoubleTree by Hilton Goa Panaji. 

Furthermore, Bose conveyed that incorporating wellness offerings can differentiate a hotel from competitors and establish it as an appealing destination for guests seeking relaxation, rejuvenation, and holistic experiences during their stay.  

Wellness services for improved employee wellness   

The Covid-19 pandemic, with its travel bans, instructions to stay at home, country closures due to visitor bans, international airline bans, and business closures, had not only impacted the wellness tourism market but also devasted the workforce in hospitality. Employees encountered layoffs, pay cuts, late salaries, etc. 

Commenting on this, Anish Rajan, Operations Manager at The Bheemili Resort, delineated, " the emphasis on wellness services in the hospitality industry brings about dual benefits. Firstly, it ensures full employment opportunities for individuals working in the hospitality sector. Simultaneously, it creates ample employment opportunities for wellness professionals. This symbiotic relationship between the hospitality and wellness sectors fosters their collective growth and development. Furthermore, those who invest in these two sectors can expect to reap high profits, given the increasing demand and popularity of wellness services within the hospitality industry." 

"Prioritising wellness services in the hospitality industry can have a positive impact on employee well-being. Hotels and hospitality businesses are increasingly acknowledging the significance of supporting their employees' wellness. By providing wellness programmes specifically designed for team members, hotels can foster a favourable work environment, enhance employee satisfaction, and ultimately increase overall productivity," Bose stated, acknowledging the importance of employees' wellness. 

Financially sustainable wellness amenities 

Hospitality is a capital-intensive sector because of its enormous holdings of real estate, land, buildings, and equipment. These fixed assets may be used as collateral for loans, which may result in high levels of liabilities and a high leverage ratio in the capital structures of hospitality and tourism companies. 

Sunil Narang, General Manager at Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai, explained the importance of finding a balance between offering desirable wellness amenities and ensuring that they are financially sustainable. He mentioned that this can be achieved by conducting thorough market research, optimising operations, focusing on high-margin services, leveraging technology, and partnering with experts to provide the best possible service to their customers. Additionally, he added that the guest values the quality of these experiences and is willing to spend more for the same. 

"Hotels can find a balance between offering desirable wellness amenities and maintaining financial sustainability through various approaches like strategic pricing, targeted marketing, partnerships and outsourcing, flexible offering, operational efficiency, and monitoring revenue and costs for cost optimisation," Bose conveyed. 

Quality Compliance 

Following the arrival of COVID, several hospitality brands have focused on not only enhancing but also expanding their wellness offerings with wellness specialists as well as customised and preventative well-being programmes. It is imperative that this expansion be in accordance with the requisite regulations and quality standards. 

Delineating the compliance procedures that hotels adhere to, Narang stated, "Hotels take a comprehensive approach to ensuring the quality and safety of their wellness services, from hiring trained professionals to complying with regulations and collecting guest feedback. Additionally, regulatory bodies such as local health departments also oversee and regulate the safety and quality of wellness services offered by hotels." 

On compliance with industry standards, Bose mentioned that hotels adhere to industry standards and best practises for wellness services, which may include guidelines for cleanliness, hygiene, equipment maintenance, and safety protocols. 

"Hotels may seek certifications or accreditations from recognised organisations that specialise in evaluating and ensuring quality in the hospitality and wellness industries. Examples include certifications for spa services, fitness facilities, or wellness programmes. Moreover, hotels conduct regular inspections and audits of their wellness facilities to identify any potential issues or areas for improvement. These evaluations help maintain quality standards and ensure compliance with safety regulations," Bose delineated.   

The future of wellness in hospitality 

Today, there is this shift in approach towards success from the post-depression era, where the idea focused on working recklessly to reap the benefits of the American dream, to the post-pandemic idea of wellness as success, where wellbeing is an absolutely tailor-made thing. However, for hotels, this must permeate every aspect of the visitor experience. 

Highlighting the requisite approach in the future, Bose mentioned that, overall, the future of wellness in hospitality will involve a holistic and integrated approach that goes beyond mere amenities. Furthermore, it will focus on creating transformative experiences, embracing sustainability, leveraging technology, and promoting overall well-being for guests. 

"We will increasingly witness synergy among wellness offerings like holistic wellness experiences, technology integration, sustainable wellness with wellness design and architecture, wellness retreats and packages, and collaboration with wellness experts to achieve mental health and wellbeing," he remarked. 

"Wellness presents a significant opportunity to elevate the core of hospitality. It doesn't always demand a substantial financial investment; rather, it requires creativity and a focus on content-driven approaches. Going forward, we can foster a positive connection with the local culture by promoting holistic initiatives that encourage engagement and well-being. By embracing these strategies, we can enhance the overall hospitality experience and cater to the evolving needs of our guests," commented Widiyanti Siti, Director of Spa by JW at JW Marriott Bengaluru Golfshire Resort & Spa. 



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