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Hotel Health

If your business is hotels, your business needs to embrace wellness

By Sonal Uberoi, author of The Wellness Asset

Many industries are embracing the idea of wellness as they reshape their processes, philosophies, and products. Hotels need to do the same. To put this in financial perspective data from the Global Wellness Institute is clear: In 2018, wellness expenditures were more than half of all health expenditures, coming in at $4.3 trillion. Of the ten markets analysed, between 2015-2017, revenue growth leaders were the spa industry (9.8%), wellness tourism (6.5%) and wellness real estate (6.4%). 

How can you provide the wellness focus your guests are looking for?

Leadership is key

First of all, take a look at yourself. You may have a crack team with superb facilities, but that will all be undermined if there is not clear and constant commitment from the top. You need to ensure that every aspect of your hotel business is included in your wellness strategy. The quality of the service, the food, even the décor all have a part to play. If you miss out areas, you will very likely miss the huge revenue-generating opportunities wellness adds to a hotel’s offering. If you don’t believe in wellness, you are wasting your time.

Wellness cannot be segregated 

To help explain this, consider that we often see ‘wellness’ and ‘wellbeing’ mistakenly being used interchangeably. However, there is a subtle yet important difference we must get right. 

A simple way to view it is: wellness is the tool; wellbeing the goal.

So, wellness provides us with the tools that allow us to access different types of wellbeing goals, e.g. physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. These tools include therapies, alternative medicine, fitness activities, meditation and mindfulness, a balanced diet and a gamut of other services designed to enhance our mental, physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing.

This means that wellness is no longer confined to a specific activity or a physical space such as a spa, a studio or a gym. The definition of wellness is broad and involves anything that enhances overall wellbeing.

So, quite simply, when we incorporate wellness into our lifestyle, or into our product ecosystem as businesses providing wellness services, we provide the stepping-stones towards better wellbeing.

Work down – the wellness of your team

Today, many employees have the option to work where they want and how they want, to create a sense of work–life balance. This is not the case for the hospitality industry, where staff face gruelling and antisocial hours that aren’t conducive to wellbeing. Companies worldwide have been forced to integrate the wellbeing of their staff into their employment packages and working conditions to retain their talent. 

As soon as you accept that you can’t solve your guests’ wellbeing problems with a team that is ‘unwell’ itself, you can start to explore options to make your people’s working hours more friendly and conducive to a balanced lifestyle. This needs to work for employees across different generations and different life situations. 

Accept that wellness is a moving feast

Wellness, as we know it, is a relatively new and rapidly growing industry. What was relevant a few years ago might not be important in three or four-years’ time. This became even more evident in the pandemic: overnight, people began consuming wellness services in a very different way.

As soon as you accept that some of your products and services will no longer be relevant to your guests, and that you will need to innovate constantly (these can be small tweaks),

you won’t feel disheartened when some of your offerings become irrelevant. Instead, you’ll keep a strategic eye on how to improve your offering while keeping your guests’ needs front and centre.

Don’t expect specialist staff to do everything

Wellness, like medicine, is a diverse field with a broad range of specialities. Just as we don’t expect a general practitioner to be a specialist in every aspect of medicine, we can’t expect a personal trainer to know about beauty, or an energy healer to know about high-intensity interval training programmes. 

You don’t expect your sushi chef to jump in and cook dishes in your Indian restaurant, so don’t expect your physiotherapist to jump in and perform pedicures.

The field of wellness has many different specialities, and you need to use the expert practitioners in the roles they have been trained for. If you ask your massage specialist to be able to help a guest with an unrelated beauty treatment you are asking for trouble – the guests will soon notice the lack of expertise and the reduction in quality of advice etc.

Don’t fall for vanity metrics

Wellness done well will increase the value of your hotel and attract investors. It generates direct revenue through products and services, as well as indirect revenue through higher occupancy, average room rate, average spend and length of stay – the tangible aspects of your business. When done right, it also builds a stellar reputation for your hotel and fosters brand loyalty and trust with all stakeholders – the intangible aspects of your business. 

As soon as you accept the tangible and intangible value of your wellness offering, you stop looking at the vanity metrics that may make you look good in the short term but fail to identify what really matters for your future. Instead, you can focus on building your wellness asset and consolidating your asset ecosystem to increase its value and that of the entire hotel.

Wellness cannot be treated as a commodity

Particularly as we come out of the pandemic looking for additional revenue, it is easy to fall into the trap of searching for quick fixes. However, wellness cannot be put into this category, it is not a commodity.  Putting wellness at the heart of your offering means growing it over time. It takes commitment, steady work and an outlook focused on the long-term both for growth and profits.

Given this, it will come as no surprise to learn that there is no magic wand you can wave to create and implement the perfect wellness strategy instantly. Making the decision to adopt wellness is the first step on a journey. You will need to develop your knowledge of the wellness business, take on the task and meet the challenges of developing the concept that will work for your hotel, all at the same time as running your core business, managing costs and motivating your staff.


Sonal Uberoi is a global wellness expert and founder of Spa Balance, a boutique consultancy working specifically with hotels to help them tap into the full potential of their wellness offering. Sonal has worked with major hotels across the world enabling them to attract a more discerning guest, build a loyal and committed customer base, attract and retain quality talent and increase profitability, without breaking budget.  Sonal is author of ‘The Wellness Asset’, a practical book, full of essential information for any hotel owner.