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Global research

People, places, programmes

Millennials have overtaken Baby Boomers as the main consumers of self-improvement, while the pandemic has shaken everything up and created a yearning for wellbeing. Mia Mackman advises on how to respond to the challenges of the new normal…

Values, life goals and consciousness are evolving Inside Creative House/shutterstock
Pre-Covid, 94% of Millennials practised self-improvement fizkes/shutterstock
The routes to happiness vary for everyone Denis Moskvinov/shutterstock
Millennials are the main market for self improvement fizkes/shutterstock

We are living in a time of great unknowns centered around people, purpose and progress. Significant shifts on the world stage amid the pandemic continue to drive a widespread yearning for personal development, wellbeing and transformation. These highlight a range of powerful impacts related to social and global change and reframes investment tactics to secure proposition growth and returns.

Recent years have heightened investment scrutiny and accelerated increasing market diversity and development. Meanwhile, pandemic circumstances have indicated regional market value and simultaneously questioned global-hospitality and travel futures.

Flexibility and demand
Lifestyles are evolving quickly led by multiple new social, political and professional changes. This has created a substantial and prevalent focus on being healthy, happy and living with passion, energy and a sense of personal wellbeing. The natural outcome of these changes generates a profound shift in thinking.

As people become increasingly self-aware, this impacts a number of things including personal values, consciousness and life goals. This creates a powerful inflection point to examine the increasing demand for personal development, self-help philosophies and transformational spa and wellness products and services.

Traditionally, Baby Boomers have been the main consumers of self-improvement, while they still are an important group, Millennials are the future for this market, but there are fewer resources catering to them. Prior to the pandemic, a reported 94 per cent of Millennials participated in the practice of self-improvement, 84 per cent of Baby Boomers and 81 per cent of Gen Xers were engaged in personal development.

Nuance and variety
Since the definition of wellness touches nearly everything in the realm of life and hospitality from food-and-beverage line-ups, quality rooms, sleep and meeting space to spa and fitness departments, value comes into play in multiple areas. Much like the self-help market has evolved to expand its industry and audience, the wellness-hospitality market is tasked to do the same. This reveals new opportunities to curate an enormous spectrum of personal wellbeing.

The core demographics of this market are seeking new, creative, multi-generational programme creation. This also engages guests to explore personal value, through cross-department services while tailoring programmes to suit different age groups, customer types, and life circumstances.

Defining the framework
Enumerating the definition of hospitality-driven wellness raises three important questions. First, what is the perceived value of wellness and transformation for your specific guests? This is broadly different based on property type, location and concept. Urban hotels have distinctly different guest profiles than resorts or destination hotels. Knowing the pillars of what wellness means for your property, plays a critical part in customising your strategy and goals.

Second, how innovative is the property management team and ownership when it comes to developing advanced services? If the property is based on long-standing, traditional principles it may be challenging to add new, broad-minded services. In this case, it’s best to start with one or two unique offerings. These can be introduced as a special promotion and expanded on later based on interest and engagement.

Third, what are the risks associated with creating new programmes? There are always a series of risks to manage when making any programme alterations. Identifying these risks with careful planning, employee training and effective protocols for guest follow-up can help mitigate most of them. One of the biggest threats to the process of enacting new services, stems from employees not understanding them. The staff should be well versed in all of its treatments and services, but especially ones that are new unfamiliar.

Going above and beyond
Presenting meaningful experiences opens up new dialogues. While fitness and movement activities may appeal to some, fitness does not equal wellbeing for everyone. Athletically fit does not define healthy and well-balanced. Wellness is holistic. The routes to health and happiness vary for everyone. Emotional and spiritual health are frequently unchartered waters in the hospitality sector. However, these types of services often facilitate significant breakthroughs and meaningful transformations.

Suggesting new products, books, meditation tools, and so on, can offer supportive insight and encourage ongoing and future practices. Incorporating retail selections to support these types of services, not only increases the average customer spend but also provides a selection beyond traditional spa retail. These items can include a small selection of books, journals, daily rituals or positive affirmations. Items tailored to foster self-discovery are an uplifting buy and can help boost retail performance overall.

Choose wisely
Choosing to make the investment to expand programmes, spa services or new hotel overlays, becomes relative to the goals of the property. There are a number of factors to consider: what is the significance of the offering? Does it align with the property’s concept? Are management and staff committed to its success? Is it ideal to partner with outside companies or to hire and train? All of these aspects can sway the performance and impact the stability and return on investment.

Selecting the right partners and discerning quality providers is an essential part of integrating new programmes. It is also key to have premium employee training. As guest preferences evolve with greater volume and speed, it is vital to work within a flexible, yet firm, strategic plan to navigate the process.

Today’s spa and wellness investments are on a path of transformation. The wellness-hospitality sector has the capacity to impart meaningful change by going beyond general wellness ideals. These integrations can inspire people through transformational experiences, generate substantial revenue and garner unique property attention. There is a priceless, sentiment that goes hand-in-hand with any journey towards personal growth and wellbeing. As the world contends with ongoing change in a climate amid unknowns, investing in the people, places and programmes which empower and support people is light on the path.

About the author: Mia A. Mackman is managing director of HVS Spa and Wellness Consulting and principal of Mackman|ES Consulting.

Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2022 issue 1
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