• Contact Us
  • Member Login
  • Get Listed Today
Posted by The Spa Hub on 04/16/2019

2019 Hotel Spa and Wellness Business Trends

2019 Hotel Spa and Wellness Business Trends

This 2019, we will see more inclusive and fully integrated business models, as the lines between hospitality and wellness cross paths and the crossing will be a blur. The wellness-oriented hotel manager and a renovated focus on sustainable wellness offerings is foreseen to see growth and a steady momentum this year as well. 

Let’s take an in-depth look at the Top 8 hotel spa and wellness trends for 2019. (Be sure to take notes and explore how your business can optimize its approach to edge the competition and remain competitive and relevant. 


1. Foster a sense of community

While hotel spas have long been open to locals, the experience has been hampered by the spa being difficult to reach and low off-peak offers that convey a sense of locals “filling in” unpopular times. 

It’s a good experience for your guests to have an opportunity to interact with the locals. It will provide a sense of community for the guests. This is one of the best practice that should be implemented whether you are managing a restaurant, a hotel or even a spa. 

At Firmdale Hotels for example, they hold a weekly film club and they invite hotel guests and locals to dine at the hotel’s restaurant before watching the film of the week. Not only do initiatives like this establish warmer links with the community and generate a sense of authenticity, they encourage new visitors to the hotel, and ultimately, its spa. 

While hotel spas have long been open to locals, the experience has been hampered by the spa being difficult to reach and low off-peak offers that convey a sense of locals ‘filling in’ unpopular times.

This year and the coming years, it is expected that we will see hotels adapt their wellness businesses to this trend in increasingly collaborative ways. Some examples of this initiative will be integrating creative exterior wellness experiences into services through initiatives like visits to local farmers’ markets, or to local healers for truly indigenous therapies and remedies.

These initiatives allow both the guests and the hotel to connect with the local community in a more meaningful and more memorable way, as well as encourage more interactive experiences. As hotels (those with and without wellness facilities) design purpose-built wellness offerings in this way, they will ultimately boost their top and bottom lines.

2. Consumers act as active co-creators of their wellness journey

Hotels are now becoming facilitators, instead of manufacturers, of their guests’ wellbeing experiences. 

It is a given fact that consumers nowadays are very wellness savvy. Many have already tried and followed a number of wellness services and products and they know what works for their lifestyle. Above all, they know what wellness experiences they are looking for and where to find them with the help of social media. 

This year, we will increasingly see consumers become active “co-creators” of their own wellness experiences in such a way that consumers take a leading role in picking and choosing their own wellness journey. Guests are expected to demand the ability to pick and choose wellness services, from food to treatments, both a la carte and off-menu and so it is highly important to make these available for the discerning guests.

This is already evident with companies like Health and Fitness Travel, experts in health and fitness holidays, who offer consumers the opportunity to tailor-make their wellness retreats from spa, detox, yoga, weight loss and sports - all in a luxury setting.

Hotels are now becoming facilitators, instead of manufacturers, of their guests’ wellbeing experiences. 

3. Wellness hotels are fast becoming popular

Wellness tourists are consistently spending more on average than the typical traveller. 

The hospitality sector now recognizes the benefits and profitability of wellbeing. An example is Hyatt’s acquisition of wellness brands Exhale and Miraval. 

Wellness tourists are consistently spending more on average than the typical traveller. The GWI predicts that “wellness tourism will grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% through 2022,” where overall global tourism is only expected to grow by 6.4%.

Hotel brands like Starwood’s Westin (with its tagline “Empower your well-being. Signature wellness offerings that help you rise”), and IHG’s EVEN (with its tagline “where wellness is built in”) are already catering to this demand. It is predicted that in 2019 other hotel chains, both small and large, will be eager to jump on board. However, as these large players improve their wellness offering, more traditional hotels will have to think about how they can develop new offerings with their specific audience in mind. 

In 2019 we will see the rise of more ‘Wellness Hotels’ or hotels incorporating a fully integrated wellness offering across their properties, from F&B and Rooms to design.

4. Venturing beyond the spa: Multi-use spaces

There is no reason for wellness experiences to be confined to the spa. 

Following today’s retail leaders, the hospitality industry is recognizing the importance and benefit of multi-use spaces, allowing hoteliers to squeeze all they can out of every square metre, particularly in pricier urban locations.

These multi-purpose areas allow guests to stumble upon a diverse range of experiences and activities. In Accor’s Mama Shelter, for example, wellness has been incorporated into the ‘work’ spaces in a more creative way with fun, stress-busting activities like ping pong and table football. 

And the concept is set to become more popular in 2019 as hoteliers wake up to the opportunities dynamic, multi-use spaces provide. The main one being a minimal financial outlay. 

5. Tourism with a conscience 

The burden high numbers of tourists, including wellness tourists, put on local communities and environments has become a pressing issue for many destinations suffering the consequences of overtourism. 

In 2019 and beyond, we expect to see more travellers choosing community and environment-conscious destinations and taking an active part in positive wellness activities. Most tourists and hotels are already aware of the huge impact of tourism on the global plastics phenomenon, and their clientele’s increased focus on wellism is set to result in a more sustainable wellness offering. This phenomenon has even lead Airbnb to launch their Global Office of Healthy Tourism.

Costa Rica is a great example of this as a destination with sustainable projects such as Rancho Margot La Fortuna, which pushes the “pura vida” lifestyle. Rancho Margot generates well over half of all food consumed by workers, residents and guests onsite, and it produces most of energy through onsite hydroelectric generators, complex composting system and bio-digesters.

To counteract the negative side-effects of over-tourism and irresponsible travel, we will see more hotels seriously consider every aspect of their offerings to ensure the environment and local community are treated with integrity.

6. The evolution of wellness architecture: from environmentalism to wellism

Buildings today now need to be more than sustainable or carbon neutral. 

As per the GWI’s recent report, concerns regarding chronic diseases and environmental issues are dominant factors driving “accelerated consumer interest in wellness”.

As Veronica Schreibeis Smith, CEO and founding principal of Vera Iconica Architecture, advocated in the GWS 2018, establishments now need to not only produce energy and resources, but they also need to be regenerative by becoming living systems and being symbiotic with the natural world.

In 2019, we predict a move beyond environmentalism into 'wellism', as consumers call for services and establishments which “nourish the soul and elevate mankind”, in addition to promoting human and planetary wellbeing.

Soneva Jani’s Villas, for example, enhance their wellness experience through design features such as retractable roofs, allowing guests to stargaze and connect with nature. The increasing cross-sector popularity of this movement means we will see hotels paying more attention to design with wellness architecture in mind—and properly investing in developing their too-often neglected spas. 

7. The post-experience era: strengthening of core services 

No hotel spa is going to see any improvement unless they are great at their core offerings. 

Nearly everything in nearly every industry is marketed as an 'experience' nowadays. And particularly so with hotels and their wellness offering - treatment rooms, gyms and hydrothermal areas including standard hotel rooms are now packaged as “experiences”. Wellness insiders are now imagining what a ‘post-experience’ era would look like, and how hotel spas can differentiate themselves when everything is marketed the same way.

In 2019, we expect the notion of strengthening core services to become a strong trend, with hotel spas reevaluating their core values to stay in touch with their main goals and target market.

An example is the Skylonda Lodge in California that returned to its roots in 2018 as the destination for all-inclusive retreats with focus on nutrition, fitness and relaxation. “Current owner, Ray Blatt, restored the unique combination of indoor and outdoor activities, pampering spa services and impeccable cuisine in a setting of perpetual tranquility.”

No hotel spa is going to see any improvement unless they are great at their core offerings. Tinkering at the edges is never enough!

8. The hunt for Hotel General Manager 3.0: the Wellness-Oriented GM

“One of the challenges to hoteliers looking to roll out wellness offerings is finding general managers who believe in wellness and embrace a wellness lifestyle.” Neil Jacobs. 

Industries across the board are becoming more aware of the importance of wellness, and as wellness continues to take centerstage, we will see an increasing demand for wellness-oriented hotel general managers.

While a hotel may wish to introduce new wellness experiences, and incorporate any number of the previously mentioned trends, the success of their venture comes down to execution.

As Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses resorts, explains, “one of the challenges to hoteliers looking to roll out wellness offerings is finding general managers who believe in wellness and embrace a wellness lifestyle.”

For the wellness trends of 2019 to be successfully integrated into a hotel business, while maintaining the integrity of its framework and the quality of its core services and products, the general managers involved must have sufficient wellness relevant training, or at a minimum believe in and genuinely embrace a wellness lifestyle. 

If hotels can get this right, the industry is extremely well-positioned to ride the global wellness wave, up its game and allow transformational well-being experiences to take place.


Some parts reworded and edited for brevity. Original author - Sonal Uberoi (Founder of Spa Balance Consulting)

Contact This Member

Join Our Newsletter - Today