Hotel companies are making big hiring moves to better position themselves in the wellness space. With so much momentum in the sector at the moment, this makes sense. How much investing in wellness actually adds up financially, though, is up for debate.
The Skift Wellness newsletter is our weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.
Long gone are the days when a hospitality group would declare its commitment to the health of its guests, then simply upgrade its hotels’ treadmills and be done with it. Now, major hotel companies are not only taking innovative approaches to wellness (like Hyatt’s acquisition of Exhale), they’re backing up the talk with strategic hires.
Case in point: AccorHotels just appointed Emlyn Brown as vice president, wellbeing for its luxury and upper upscale brands (he was most recently global design director at Resense Spas).
Hyatt also made a big hiring announcement: Mia Kyricos has joined the team as senior vice president, global head of wellbeing. She’s been tasked with integrating World of Hyatt members with Miraval and Exhale and shaping the brand’s global well-being strategy.
It’s hard to know for sure whether all these hirings will pay off. As discussed in our first story below, it’s difficult to measure how much of a return on investment hospitality groups gain from enhancing their well-being services. If wellness is baked into the design of the hotel and (literally) into the food it serves, how does a company measure its monetary value? Hospitality groups may need to figure out a new equation.
We think a hotel company’s success in executing wellness depends largely on who’s running the show. If the directive from the top is that “wellness matters,” odds are greater that wellness will be done right.
— Leslie Barrie, Skift Wellness Editor
Is Investing in Wellness Worth It for Hotel Brands? It’s complicated: Wellness can be hard to quantify. As Andrew Gibson, co-founder of the Wellness Tourism Association, put it, “If you measure return on investment strictly through average daily rate and nothing else, then wellness is going to have a hard time proving its worth.” At the same time, it’s easy for brands like Canyon Ranch and Six Senses to see the investment value because they have wellness embedded in their DNA. But for other hotel brands that don’t, it’s too soon to tell whether investments will actually pay off.
Luxury Camping Is Back, and Business Is (for the Most Part) Good: The term “glamping” may be cringeworthy, but the concept makes sense for what many high-end travelers want today. More of them are seeking a closer connection to the great outdoors and an opportunity to disconnect –– but aren’t ready to give up the amenities of a high-end hotel. When the luxury camping trend initially took off, it centered primarily on African game parks. But you can now find top-tier tent outfitters in places such as Utah, Costa Rica, Cambodia, the Maldives, and even New York City.
Oh My Green Receives $20 Million in Funding: Offices Are About to Get a Whole Lot Healthier: Say goodbye to the M&M’s and Starbursts that currently fill your work cupboards. The corporate nutritional wellness company, which stocks office pantries with healthy goods, manages company cafes, offers catering, and even has a machine learning service that provides personalized suggestions, just got an injection of funding. The extra cash will help it expand its healthy offerings in the U.S. and abroad (it already has about 200 clients, including Lyft and Apple). We see a niche for Oh My Green to fill, considering all the sad vending machines currently taking up space in office kitchens everywhere.
Food & Drink
Panera Bread Tries to Get Customers to See Sandwiches as Healthy: The sandwich and salad chain wants consumers to fear not about carbs, as it invests in a marketing campaign (including a digital video series featuring chef Marcus Samuelsson in its first episode), highlighting the health benefits of whole grain bread. It might be a smart move –– bread is in the company’s name after all. Plus, it’s a good way to further differentiate itself from its struggling competitors, like Subway and Quiznos.
Quaker Jumps on the Oat Milk Bandwagon: It makes sense that the brand synonymous with oats would want to take advantage of the growing alternative milk trend. Its market rival, 25-year-old Swedish brand Oatly, has gained popularity among coffee aficionados since launching in the U.S. two years ago (the consistency is extra-creamy, so it’s a good fit for lattes). Quaker is aiming to overtake Oatly with its large distribution power, thanks to parent company PepsiCo. It’s unclear, though, whether the hip, healthy set will make the switch to this legacy brand.
Vitamins & Supplements
Wellness Supplements Take to the Subscription Model: Subscriptions work for the beauty industry –– why not for vitamins and supplements, too? The Nue Co., an ingestible wellness brand, is cashing in on the subscription service trend. Customers take a quiz describing their woes, then get suggestions of products to receive each month based on the results. The company has already seen over $1 million in revenue since launching in 2017. Other brands like Care/of and Binto have found success with the recurring revenue model too, proving subscription services are here to stay (at least for now).
Oura Sleep Ring Gets a Royal Boost: Prince Harry stepped out in Australia wearing the Oura sleep tracking ring, perhaps unknowingly providing some free marketing for the wearable brand. The sleep industry is booming, and wearables are projected to become a $25 billion dollar industry by 2019. Thanks to this extra publicity, Oura now seems to have the upper hand in the activity tracking ring category. Its rival Motiv might need to find a celebrity of its own to cozy up to for some press.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [email@example.com] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.
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Photo credit: A woman is shown relaxing near the sea. Top hospitality groups including Hyatt and AccorHotels are making guest wellness a priority and are making strategic hires to prove it. @simonmigaj / Unsplash