Beyond the SPA

The COVID-19 crisis has ensured that we are well-versed with the need to focus on wellness. Not just a medical sort of wellness, but a holistic one, focusing on nutrition, rest, rejuvenation, and centered on everyday wellness.


Wellness is a crucial segment that offers hoteliers immense opportunities to grow in the  POST COVID world. The GlobalWellness Institute projects that wellness tourism will grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% through 2022, considerably faster than the 6.4% annual growth forecasted for overall global tourism.


Once the world opens, it is likely to be obsessively focussed on wellness and safety. Wellness will move from the realm of an additional hospitality service that helps hotels earn revenues, to the centre-stage. In hotels, wellness products are an integral part of several service verticals such as F&B menus and guestroom amenities. Historically, hotels have looked at a spa being a line item for their revenues. Most owners first build a hotel and then build a spa. But going forward hotels may need to ensure that their design and brand philosophy is pivoted on making a wellness centre and spa facility first and then building the retreat around it.


India is yet to realise the potential of this segment despite being a true-blue spiritual home of modern wellness movement. Consider its ancient practices of Ayurveda, yoga, meditation, acupuncture, naturopathy, panchakarma and holistic health, therapies that travellers will seek out, discover and want to immerse. Wellness has become a sensory experience; the more the senses are involved, the more memorable and beneficial the experience will be. Holidays will increasingly become a means of renewing one’s energy, reworking your lifestyle, understanding and picking up new food and nutrition ideas.


Detox, healthy lifestyle, right diet and home-cooked meals, meditation, yoga, organic goods etc will offer a boost to the Spa industry, Hotels worldwide are finding creative ways to implement the wellness concept into an everyday element of the guest experience, from design to operations, taking it out of the spa zone.  Few Hotels have launched concierges who focus on local jogging courses, healthy menus and cooking classes . Some Hotels offer guests a pillow menu that is inclusive of a variety of options to choose: synthetic, natural and mix natural, even leg pillows and neck pillows. Getting adequate sleep during a business trip is a challenge and hotels are optimizing their marketing strategies on such good feel factors.


Post Covid Healthcare Tourism will also create a huge demand. The importance of preventive healthcare will occupy more of the Guest’s mind. They will seek more preventive healthcare and wellness-related holidays for boosting immunity to stay safe from any kind of infections.


Despite the growth of wellness-centric resorts, many travellers come to resorts in search of a blend of experiences: heritage, adventure and wellness. This has inspired retreats to tweak their wellness offerings to go beyond the spa.  Guest needs are always evolving and a sanctuary where they can find a balance to spend time with family and friends is always high on the list. No longer is wellness about solo travellers visiting yoga retreats.


Food is a big contributor to the feeling of wellness and hence hotels have pulled in their entire arsenal: local produce from organic farms, working with the community they are based in, to create dishes and menus that are seasonal, regional and authentic in taste. Again an environment that provides guests to eat clean, fresh and hygienic food will always be on the preferred list.


As a world battered by coronavirus opens up, hotels will continue to adapt and stay ahead in the game. Wellness is not just about food or a luxury bathroom or a fancy restaurant, it is simply about creating an environment in which you can relax, bond with others, create a feeling of community and a sense of feeling where you can learn.