Hotel Wellness Has Moved Beyond the Spa

SAN FRANCISCO — Wellness has developed into a must-have component of both leisure and business travel, but it is not sufficient anymore for hotels merely to have one area dedicated to health. Rather, hotels must incorporate it into every aspect of the hotel’s design, space and offerings.

Speaking at Accor’s Global Meeting Exchange, Meenaz Diamond, Accor’s senior vice president of sales worldwide, said well-being is now at the center of much that Accor is doing. That trend was accelerated by the pandemic, and the push to healthiness has an economic value to it as well as a health-related one.

Mansi Vagt, global brand leader and vice president for Accor’s Fairmont brand, said “well-being travelers spend more.”

According to Accor’s in-house research, among US stays there is 53% more spend on wellness from international guests and 178% more from domestic ones, said Magdaleena Nikolov, the company’s general manager of spa, wellness and retail.

Emlyn Brown, Accor’s global vice president of well-being, said there are several areas of health that hotels can bring together holistically for guests: nutrition, design and hotel environment, physical activities and sports, spas and treatments, mental health and mindfulness, and digital well-being.

He said an example of the last pillar is having people detach from their smartphones and social media accounts, live in the moment and enjoy it.

The higher the hotel or brand in the rate chain, the more opportunity there is for seeing higher revenue from physical and mental health offerings.

Patrick Mendes, Accor’s group chief commercial officer, said the France-based global hotel company has the second-largest luxury hotel asset count in the Americas, with 107 properties, one more hotel than IHG Hotels & Resorts has in that sector.

With Accor’s push to lifestyle and legacy, the company recently divided into two distinct parts, a reshuffle due to be completed by Oct. 1. Its luxury and lifestyle brands are to be divided into distinct brand sets such as Ennismore; Fairmont; Raffles/Orient-Express; and Sofitel/MGallery/Emblems, each section with its own CEO or co-CEOs and many of the brand founders still on board.

“We aim to provide the most consistent yet differentiated and locally relevant hotel portfolio in the industry,” Mendes said. “In the luxury and lifestyle arena, we are providing high-end, tailor-made hotel experiences to guests.”

The move has garnered interest from the investment community, Mendes said.

“Since we announced the split of the company into two, we’ve seen attractiveness from investors. It is a deep transformation,” I said. “It has provided clarity and consistency, and it gives a better idea as to who we are globally.”

Wellness is part of that differentiation, which is even more important to younger guests. Brown added that “72% of Gen Z travelers say mental health is the most important type of health for them.”

“Accor is able to tap into a specific moment of well-being, which is so much more than a spot in the spa. We see travel well-being as starting the moment you start traveling, from the moment you pop in the ear plugs,” he said.

In an accompanying news release, Brown said hotels must be active participants in promoting better mental health among guests.

“Physical, emotional and mental well-being are now widely recognized as contributing to a higher quality of life, and for hotels, this must permeate the entire guest experience,” he said in the release.

Accor CEO and Chairman Sébastien Bazin said the pandemic has changed guests’ and hoteliers’ attitude to hotel offerings, including wellness.

“Now, it is important that we protect brand passion, not so much brand standards,” he said.

Editor’s note: Accor paid for all travel expenses to San Francisco, including airfare, amenities and hotel accommodation. Complete editorial control was at the discretion of the Hotel News Now editorial team; Accor had no influence over the coverage provided.

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