By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky

If you’ve spoken to either of us in the past couple years, you know that we’re very bullish on the growth of wellness for hotels. Still in its nascent years is a growing body of scientific research to support the notion of uber-wellness in the form of lifespan extension. And this can have profound implications for hotels in terms of ‘customer lifetime value’ (CLV).

First, how we derived the term in the title:

  • Escape velocity is used to describe the speed at which a rocket ship must attain in order to break through the pull of the Earth’s gravity to achieve orbit
  • Renowned futurist Ray Kurzweil then coined ‘longevity escape velocity’ to describe the point in the future where medicine advances so much that people can escape the gravity of death itself
  • Loyalty escape velocity is a play on Kurzweil’s principle in that as healthspans get elongated through a combination of advanced medicine and wellness practices, so too does the monetary value of your lifelong customers (provided you can keep them!)

Futurist forecasts aside, though, what can you do right now? That is, if this is a trend that will be proven and commonly accepted in the 2030s or 2040s, what can your hotel organization do today to prepare for this and possibly turn a buck in 2023?

First, know that the relentless march of scientific progress will most likely lead to numerous antiaging breakthroughs in the coming years and decades, and this will more significantly benefit the members of the current millennial and centennial generations as the recipients of this cumulative knowledge. We already see this taking effect insofar as the increasing number of young people who are vegan, vegetarian, don’t smoke cigarettes, drink less, regularly exercise, take longevity supplements, or engage in other life-extension activities.

If Gen X+Y are the most probable long-run beneficiaries of the longevity revolution, you must start cultivating their loyalty today before they cement their brand of choice.

This isn’t to exclude the boomers and Gen Xers from the discussion. They also have access to the same medical treatments, supplements, and instruction as their more youthful counterparts, in addition to a treasure chest of disposable income to throw at a well-marketed wellness resort, spa or any other longevity products you attempt to cross-sell.

So, what you can do in the here and now is to outline the entirety of the guest value chain then look for ways to enhance personalization, loyalty growth and vehicles for promoting your wellness vertical. Technology is a necessity for your teams to automate repetitive tasks to free up their time for better service delivery as well as to start imbuing predictive analytics to the total customer experience.

With the guest value chain mapped out, you can start looking at all the touchpoints to see where real-time software platforms can either enhance the relationship or at least give you more data to know your guests better for future interactions. Fill in or upgrade the gaps one by one or look for ways to consolidate your tech stack and data, both of which make it easier for future enhancements.

Above all, we stress with the concept of loyalty escape velocity that with the prospects of slower aging comes more travel options. It’s not exactly a direct relationship between augmenting average mortality and increases in CLV. Guests will be harder to impress because of their prolonged youthful attitudes, and you’re going to need to step up the level of service and relationship-building to stand apart as a memorable brand. And the time to start is now because, well, we aren’t getting any younger.