Hoteliers often hear their guests say, “I really have a hard time staying in shape and eating properly when I travel.” Well, research points out many travelers feel this way. According to Joel Eisemann, chief development officer in the United States for Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG), “Our research showed that 17 million travelers in the United States find it hard to stay active and eat right, and they ‘fall off the wagon’ when traveling.”
Providing wellness solutions for travelers may become one of the biggest revenue generators in hospitality in recent memory. Skift, an online travel-industry intelligence platform, shows that wellness is a $494-billion business and growing. The industry was up 12.3% between 2014 and 2015.
To capitalize on the wellness need, hotel franchisors are developing health-centric brands and incorporating wellness standards into existing brands. IHG launched its EVEN Hotels brand in 2012 as the first health-centric brand in the hotel industry. The brand’s website features a woman in workout gear on its home page. Its motto: “We set out to defy the idea that travel needs to be a total disruption to your routine. While travel is always a departure from the ordinary, EVEN Hotels helps you embrace wellness and even renew your motivation by giving you choices designed to help you stay on track. Whether dropping in for a short stopover or longer stay, keep active, rest easy, eat well and accomplish more every day.”
Westin Hotels and Resorts is promoting its “For a Better You” philosophy to recognize the importance of wellness for travelers. According to Sarah Lipton, director of global brand management, Westin is “rooted in wellness, dating back to the game-changing debut of the Heavenly Bed more than 15 years ago.”