Travel TrendsWellness should not be left at the hotel check-out counter; ongoing education is key.

Why having a spa and a pillow menu is not wellness

Wellness must be etched in the daily operations and culture of a property, says Fitcorp Group GM.
Wellness must be etched in the daily operations and culture of a property, says Fitcorp Group GM. Photo Credit: AdobeStock/Ratthaphon Bunmi
About the author
About the author

Niels Steeman is the general manager of Fitcorp Group, a wellness company speclialising in sustainable health and performance, providing holistic solutions and systems for both individuals and corporations through science-based tools.

With the rise of tourist arrivals, so the marketing campaigns are catching up on lost sales after the pandemic. Supply and demand are moving towards tailoring the wishes and needs of a changed society. 

Travel is, and must be, a reinvigorating encounter with people, culture and exploration. On top of this stands the notion that travel is a means to recharge and leave aside the worries of one’s lifestyle - temporarily. 

Aside from consistency in sustainable actions, wellness has been a keyword in the world of the hospitality industry.

Yet, the campaigns venture far from what wellness truly means. As much as greenwashing in the sustainable practices of hotels and resorts, so is the inaccurate display and offers where wellness takes a central role. 

Ensuring that wellness is etched in the daily operations and culture of a property has been diluted in less-than-complete measurable results of its definition. 

Travel is a temporary escape for many, but wellness certainly is not.

The world still believes that stress can be resolved by taking a week off. Burnouts from extended periods of working from home are solved with a breakaway in nature. 

Performance and energy management are totally ignored, as well as the tools and eradicating bad habits i.e., extended amounts of scrolling mindlessly through one’s social media channel. 

When using wellness, one needs to be aware that it brings forward a certain amount of responsibility to adhere to the core of its meaning. Property management lacks the resources and knowledge to bring forward consistent measures to allow guests to take home tools to live a wellness life. 

Education and consistent implementation of what clearly is defined as wellness must be the new standards.

It is greenwashing when a property puts itself out in the market as a wellness resort to capitalise on market demands. Having a spa, a healthy menu with organic meals and a pillow menu is not wellness. Yet, the hospitality market still floods the market with these offers. 

The extremes on the lower side of the wellness spectrum go even further.

It simply does hurt the term wellness, and those consciously put practices - even after the client checks out - to become a wellness-conscious resort.

There is no denying: once a holiday is over, humanity is falling back into the same routine, believing wellness is a ticked-off check box.

What we know is that travel agents and tour operators should not take it to be face-value when a property sells itself as a wellness resort. It should be critical and ask questions. 

Crucial is that the term wellness is elaborated clearly and understood before making a move into more critical questions.

My suggestion is that properties should ditch the name wellness and start defining first what wellness means before throwing it out there in the online world. 

Hire a consultancy company that has ample experience in setting up wellness strategies in the hospitality industry. 

Make it a serious topic - the market asks for it. However, if the supply chain only offers less than half-baked solutions (and I am being kind here), the industry is also guilty of greenwashing wellness practices.

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