By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky
The concept we want you to remember is ‘post-COVID stress disorder’ (PCSD), inscribing those guests who are emerging from the pandemic, and most likely vaccinated, yet still have some lingering fears about travel and their exposure to the virus. To quell these doubts, and turn a buck while at it, consider the idea of merchandising spa and wellness products within the guestroom.
As background, it’s important to note that with all the lockdowns of 2020 and repeated messaging about physical distancing and self-isolation, new habits have solidified and have caused many of us to become more introspective or introverted, even as we opt to set sail and explore the world once again. Thus, customers will expect hotels to respond to this behavioral shift with new amenities in the guestroom so that we can all still have a great hotel experience but without strictly relying upon access to onsite (and potentially high contact) facilities to achieve this.
Indeed, most of the major brands are already seizing upon this in-room wellness trend, like Accor’s All Stay Well or Hyatt Together which are both on-demand content services offering a range of exercise, meditation, mobility, sleep or yoga routines, often through partnerships with leading players in the wellness space. What we emphasize here is that if the big chains are bolstering their brand standards in this regard, then you cannot allow your property to get left behind.
The beauty therein is that wellness is such a catchall term these days that you can get as creative as your budget permits to build a unique interpretation. While you may not have the resources to put together a full-fledged app, this shouldn’t stop you from exploring your options.
Get your team together; make it a fun brainstorming exercise. Here are some ideas:
- Onsite fitness, meditation or yoga calls, kept within the new guidelines for viral safety via clearly marked attendee floor circles, strict online booking for contact tracing and the option of a video alternative for those who want to remain in their rooms
- Basic exercise equipment like yoga mats, bands, roam rollers or light weights, available in the room or at request, and always disinfected prior to delivery
- Healthy foods with nutritional tidbits, available as a surprise-and-delight welcome amenity, as part of a rejuvenated room service program or in the minibar, again abiding by sanitization rules
- In-room aromatherapy, which can encompass flowers, allergen-free materials, essential oil diffusers or branded scents
- Anything else that can bring the calming experience of an onsite spa into the guestroom such as beauty product or grooming samples
- Personal wellness consultations, conducted either in-person with physical distancing, or via your preferred platform for videoconferencing
- Mindfulness enhancers such as stimulating in-room artwork, hydrotherapy, daily haikus or thoughtful materials accessible via a phone, tablet or TV
Undoubtedly your team can come up with a myriad of incredible recommendations that are tailored to your specific region if you give them a day or two. Importantly with all of these ideas listed above, there’s the possibility for an upsell by making these prearrival purchases, add-on services at any extra cost, bundling them into a rooms package or incorporating them into a higher product tier.
Take heed, though, as right now these wellness amenities can be marketed or sold as a value-add for your brand. Similar to what we’ve seen with the rapid adoption of upgraded cleanliness and safety SOPs this past spring, these aspirational trends can have a way of quickly becoming the expectation. The more that chains embrace in-room wellness, the more likely these amenities are to be perceived as hospitality standards rather than noteworthy value-adds. To get started, it need not be something so elaborate and comprehensive. Simple is often better.