Recently, IHG® (InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG)), announced that it has been experiencing growth of its EVEN® Hotels brand – a hotel brand that it says was created with wellness at its core and woven throughout its entire DNA. Initially launched in the U.S., EVEN Hotels welcomes wellness-minded travelers at 11 open properties in cities such as New York City, Miami and Seattle, with an additional 24 properties currently under development globally.
Julienne Smith, Senior Vice President, Development, IHG, comments, "Our EVEN Hotels brand continues to be a highly differentiated product for owners developing in diverse markets to tap into the rapidly growing global health and wellness travel segment. We know that wellness is more than a trend; it is a way of life for millions of consumers. EVEN Hotels will continue to thrive wherever travelers seek an upscale hotel experience by empowering our guests to prioritize staying well and being balanced on their terms while they travel."
Part of its success can be attributed to its hotels near business and technology-driven districts, coupled with health and wellness amenities. For example, its EVEN Hotel Ann Arbor is a 107-room hotel located close to the University of Michigan, one of the preeminent research universities in the U.S. Ann Arbor is a national tech hub, and the hotel is in close proximity to various biotechnology, healthcare, consumer product and technology companies.
What’s more, each EVEN Hotels property features the Athletic Studio, a gym three times the size of a standard hotel gym, with best-in-class fitness equipment. Guest rooms feature in-room exercise zones that include exercise equipment and on-demand fitness videos, as well as a premium sleep experience with evening tea service, plush high-thread count linens, and color LED mood lighting to create a relaxing and calming environment. All EVEN Hotels offer nutritional and indulgent food options through the brand's signature Cork & Kale™ Café and Bar with 24/7 Grab-and-Go marketplace.
Also investing in the health and wellness movement, Accor has also been at the forefront of the wellbeing movement, leading the way to integrate health and wellness into all aspects of the guest experience. And in fact, in its new white paper, "It's a Wellness World: The Global Shift Shaking up Our Business," Accor explores the fundamental societal shift currently underway as the lifestyle goal of feeling healthier has moved out from beyond the walls of the spas and gyms and entered the mainstream. The report goes on to discuss the opportunities the wellness movement provides for hoteliers, and some of the unique ways that Accor brands will deepen their commitments in this vital area throughout 2020 and beyond.
"As the wellness movement matures, and wellness offerings become a standard expectation within the hospitality industry, we are seeing a growing emphasis not only on healthy food options, relaxation and movement, but on such fundamental health necessities as clean water and air," says Anne Dimon, CEO & President of the Wellness Tourism Association. "The mindset of wellness has evolved beyond spas and workout spaces, challenging the hospitality industry to consider how it integrates other health considerations such mindfulness and time spent in nature, along with environmental concerns – such as reducing indoor pollution and eliminating plastics - into its daily operations."
The report also delves deeper into this tailored approach and showcases several examples of how some of Accor's hotel brands are uniquely evolving with the wellness movement. For example, Pullman Hotels & Resorts delivers Power Fitness to guests who want to achieve peak physical performance, in between working and having fun. The hotels feature energetic power fitness zones; video on demand exercise classes; Power Up food and beverage menus for optimal nutrition; and a global ambassador fitness program to keep workouts fresh and inspired.
Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts continues to expand its Vitality Room concept. These customized suites include circadian lighting technology; in-room yoga stations; wellness walls with fitness training modules; black-out blinds; air purification systems; shower lighting and scent customization; and high vitality snack and superfoods bars.
Investing in the Right Wellness Tech
While it’s no secret that hotels are diving right into health and wellness as it becomes more mainstream, they are now starting to achieve growth from this strategy. Why? At Accor, “our goal is to have guests experience a sense of wellbeing during their stay and that they leave feeling better than when they arrived; better rested, more nourished and in a happier state of mind," says Emlyn Brown, Global Vice-President, Wellbeing, Luxury & Premium Brands, Accor. "A delighted guest is naturally more inspired to return. Therefore, by investing in holistic wellness experiences that help our guests feel good throughout the customer journey, we are establishing a model for strong revenue growth through return bookings, word-of-mouth referrals, and positive social media presence, contributing to a steady and sustainable business for years to come."
As guests start to expect more amenities to support this trend, naturally hotels will invest in more of the technologies to help support it such as:
- Guest text messaging platforms that leverage conversational AI.
- “Scent branding” to evoke emotions such as those with relaxing or calming benefits.
- Micro-hotel units that can be reserved on a smartphone app for travelers to nap on demand.
- Mobile check-in, digital key and mobile check-out using smartphone for convenience and sustainability.
- Upgraded guestrooms with the ability to use a tablet or smartphone to control lighting and room settings for added comfort or relaxation.
- Environments to promote collaboration and innovation.
- Neuroscience-based subscription services for guests to promote concentration.
By welcoming travelers to experience thoughtful amenities that support health and wellness, this trend will continue to transform into an expectation for guests. But for now, as hotels continue to update and upgrade their properties, the aforementioned technologies (and some that aren’t even out yet), should continue to become more mainstream, and a major factor for continued growth.