Strategies for taking wellness beyond the hotel spa
Strategies for taking wellness beyond the hotel spa
30 JANUARY 2018 8:17 AM

Wellness undoubtedly belongs beyond the four walls of a spa—and the hotel guest room is the perfect place to start.

The pursuit of well-being is so much more than receiving a pampering facial or a relaxing massage.

In our current age of hyper-connectivity, the lines between our personal and professional lives have become increasingly blurred. As a result, consumers are taking a more holistic approach to their health and wellness, and working to fit it in anywhere they can, whether that’s at the gym, the spa, the office or in their hotel room.

Travelers are increasingly seeking hotels with integrated offerings and accessible experiences to help them manage their stress and perhaps even enhance their overall well-being. The magnitude of the wellness movement is undeniable, with the global wellness economy now representing a rapidly growing $3.7-trillion industry.*

With that in mind, wellness undoubtedly belongs beyond the four walls of a spa—hotels can and should do more to position wellness at the forefront of their offering. Even the best spa and fitness facilities within a property fall short of capturing 100% of guest traffic. Integrating wellness design and programming considerations into the guestroom product is one guaranteed way to effectively communicate a greater commitment to wellness. Not only will you make a meaningful impact on the health and satisfaction of your guests, these inclusions can boost both your average-daily-rate potential and average guest spend.

Let’s examine what is arguably the most important zone of all within your guestroom suite—that which is dedicated to sleep.

Creating a sleep haven
Getting a good night’s sleep while travelling will forever be one of the top priorities of hotel guests. The current concentration on sleep transcends industry lines and is a much-needed reaction to the harsh reality of today’s world, where on average 82% of American adults report trouble sleeping. Chronic sleep deprivation or a lack of restful sleep is closely linked to a host of health concerns and the increased prevalence of several preventative diseases. 

Influencing elements such as lighting, acoustics, materials and personalized programming in the sleep zone can not only get your guests that sleep they so desperately need, but also creates tangible upgrades to the guestroom product so you can boost your ADR, too.

Changing up the bedside lighting to reduce exposure to blue light in the evening helps to support the gradual and natural deceleration process needed to ease into a restful sleep. Blue light—the type that is emitted by our phones and devices—has been linked to decreased melatonin production, the all-important sleep-inducing hormone.

Swapping in lower-level warm light in the evenings, preferably on dimmer switches, and offering a gradual exposure to brighter light in the morning—mimicking that of the rising sun—works in harmony with the body’s circadian rhythms. Other simple initiatives include offering personalization on varying levels of opacity in guestroom window treatments, like black-out blinds vs. sheers depending on individual preference; gentle reminders for guests to turn devices to sleep mode; and a one-touch button for ‘lights-out’ so guests don’t have worry about getting up and searching for switches.

Beyond orienting the bed away from noisy corridors, ensuring there are enough soft materials within your guestroom to absorb sound is one of the easiest ways to create an environment free from acoustical noise.

Materials such as area rugs, drapery, and wall coverings are just a few examples of design elements that help to absorb sound. Ensuring there is a tight gasket at the base of the door to the corridor is another simple way to minimize sound transfer from a busy area.

Programming can assume a very important role here—the sleep zone is a perfect space to introduce some unique offerings such as guided meditations or visualizations, sound therapy, or vibrational resonance that mirrors sounds of nature. (Think tidal rhythms of the ocean which our breath naturally harmonizes to when we are by the sea.) Your guests might just depart with some new bedtime rituals to take home and incorporate into their everyday life. What better way to leave a lasting impression?

Minimizing clutter
The overall layout of a space can have a tremendous impact on our emotional state. The presence of visual and physical clutter is known to have negative effects on our stress levels, focus and mental clarity.

Coming up with creative storage solutions will ensue that your guests have adequate space to tuck away their personal items such as clothing, suitcases, toiletries, and work papers. The simple act of removing clutter will help to create an environment that is conducive to relaxation.

Finally, getting to know your guest and their preferences through a simple pre-arrival outreach program shows you really care.

Understanding whether they would choose tea or hot water with lemon before bed and if they prefer a relaxing essential oil or bath soak instead can go a long way. Offering a choice of pillow type and layered bedding options so guests can control temperature will all demonstrate that you have gone the extra mile for their comfort and well-being. It’s often the little unexpected touches that have the potential to leave a lasting impact on the hearts and minds of your guests.

An engaged guest is a satisfied guest, and satisfied guests are ready and willing to pay more. Considering some simple design and programming initiatives that clearly demonstrate added value will allow you the potential to create upgrade packages or even an additional room category for your property.

* Global Wellness Institute 2017: Based on economic and industry sector projections from the IMF, ILO, Euromonitor, and GWI’s data and projection model.

Jennifer Findlay is the founder of Core Essence, a Design and Consulting Firm specializing in Spa & Wellness. Core Essence works within and beyond the traditional spa environment with an approach that examines design, development and ongoing operations concurrently. A member of the Global Wellness Institute’s preferred consultants and the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Jennifer can be contacted at

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