How hoteliers can merge wellness with technology
How hoteliers can merge wellness with technology
28 MARCH 2018 7:23 AM

Wellness is a $3.7-trillion industry and growing. As tech-savvy consumers increasingly expect wellness amenities, technology offers great options for creating a unique experience that also delivers on guest well-being. 

With innovation at every turn, which wellness tech trends and products have staying power and how can you take advantage of the most promising innovations? Let’s explore the options.

Biophilic design
Biophilic design is based on the concept that we’re at our best state when connected to nature, or close to it, and blurs the lines between interior and exterior spaces. Many hotels are achieving this through sounds, lighting, views of nature, living green walls and natural outdoor scents.

Tech advances, through vertical and hydroponic planting systems, that closely align with biophilic design can bring the outdoors in. Well-respected global players offer simple solutions for living green walls and management of living ecosystems in hotels. You can see such products in Westin and Even hotels. By integrating small water features indoors with essential oils of scents found in nature, you can blend indoor and outdoor spaces.

Nature and technology can be brought together through nature-centered art and photography to transform spaces, elevate moods and support guest well-being.

Wireless smart lighting, such as Philips Hue, can align to a guest’s circadian rhythm and enhance relaxation. Lighting design isn’t a concept new to hotels, but giving guests more control of temperature and color-changing lighting, with direct access through an app, is.

Beyond lighting, a growing number of brands are adding smart features to their apps. For example, Hilton recently announced its Connected Room platform, giving guests control of temperature, lighting and the TV from a mobile device.

Other innovations support overall guest well-being by reducing barriers and stress that often surface in two areas of travel: simplification and access.

Simplification through voice automation
With the growing popularity of Amazon Alexa and other digital assistants, voice automation is becoming mainstream. A console can offer many of the same services as a concierge and also control temperature, lighting, music and other guestroom elements. Making it easier for guests to get what they want without having to follow hotel processes or learn new systems is a great way to support customer well-being.

Access to services through partnerships with apps
Partnerships with apps give hotels options for extending services.

Apps like Uber Eats make life easier for guests by providing F&B delivery choices. Successful in-house F&B is never “one size fits all,” and the options aren’t always what guests want or need. Providing recommendations for local partners will help build trust and credibility with customers, and can be amplified with simple programs where your team recommends favorites, such as restaurants for different dietary needs. This makes the experience much more personal.

Partnering with massage on-demand apps can provide guests with certified massage in their rooms, when they want. No longer does “no spa” mean no spa services. Some on-demand massage services have developed a hotel affiliate network with referral commissions and bonuses. Both services remove the responsibility for the hotel to organize logistics, so they’re simple to implement.

Westin has a new partnership with a tech company revolutionizing “on-your-own” fitness and is bringing its new commercial-grade bike to select guestrooms.

Hotels are using self-service training coach apps like audio-based fitness guides to enhance the guest experience. With app partnerships, hotels without major fitness center real estate can up their game with improved workout choices for guests.

Digital detox
This may seem counter intuitive in an article about technology for wellness, but as our lives become more connected, the idea of “digital detox” is taking hold.

As an escape from everyday life, hotels and resorts (especially those targeting leisure stays) can capitalize on the need to decompress. What does that innovation look like? Support partial digital detoxes, rather than long-term breaks, to help guests get some time away. Consider a mobile device “bed,” an area in the safe or guestroom for locking devices away. In that area, provide printed walking and biking maps, and real reading materials in relaxing common spaces. These anti-tech moments can complement wellness forward tech amenities and help guests find balance.

There are numerous small-scale and robust options for incorporating wellness-focused technology into the guest experience, for existing property improvement, new projects or major renovations. One option is clear though – ignoring the wellness needs of guests isn’t an option. Wellness is part of our everyday lives. With a plethora of choices, technology plays an important role in creating programming that supports guest well-being.

If you aren’t sure where to start, consider working with a company that specializes in designing wellness experiences that will resonate with guests. Whether you’re a small boutique or big hotel, there are multiples ways to capitalize on the convergence of technology and wellness.

Adam Glickman is the principal of Parallax Hospitality, a trusted partner in bringing memorable hospitality brand concepts to life. With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, he has a passion for creating premium, distinctive and wellness-forward brand concepts and helping non-hospitality companies navigate the complexities of the hotel industry to form partnerships and grow.

The opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Hotel News Now or its parent company, STR and its affiliated companies. Bloggers published on this site are given the freedom to express views that may be controversial, but our goal is to provoke thought and constructive discussion within our reader community. Please feel free to comment or contact an editor with any questions or concerns.

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