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Wellness has become the trend du jour across the hospitality industry as of late — there’s been no shortage of brands sporting imagery of a guest thoughtfully “zenning out” in a yoga pose or at a hotel spa in the last few years. But Hyatt believes true well-being goes way beyond some updated branding and a few healthy food options. Hyatt is making a promise to care for its guests and colleagues both inside and outside its hotel properties.
SkiftX spoke to Mia Kyricos, Hyatt’s senior vice president, global head of wellbeing, about how the company is integrating wellness into not only its spas, menus, and fitness centers, but its larger brand values and business philosophies.
SkiftX: Where does wellness fit into the equation for Hyatt?
Mia Kyricos: Hyatt’s growing focus on wellness is unique in the marketplace in that it did not stem exclusively from a particular product or service, or the wellness brands we’ve incorporated into our organization. We view well-being as more than spas, fitness centers, and healthy food options on an in-room dining menu. We offer these types of amenities and options, but well-being at Hyatt is ultimately driven by our purpose –– we care for people so they can be their best.
We think of wellness as the road and well-being as the destination you hope to reach, and this journey is personal to each and every one of us. There are detours, of course, like work, the weather, the environment, or even politics, but we empathize with these realities and aim to positively impact how our guests and customers feel, fuel, and function every day.
SkiftX: What exactly does a “global head of wellbeing” do?
Kyricos: At Hyatt, this role is about realizing our purpose, and that comes to life by building on our current foundation to further incorporate well-being into our DNA. Commercially, that means considering the value proposition of our brands, the cultures we work in, and the needs of our most loyal guests and customers. It also means looking at the traditional wellness areas of our hotels, like spas and fitness centers, while also considering how to make wellness transcend the four walls of our hotels, and the relationship we have with our guests both during and in between their stays.
Internally, it’s about focusing more on how we work, rather than what we do, and making the culture of care and well-being something that can be felt across our workforce. The fact that Hyatt has created a dedicated position to set the vision and strategy for well-being, both internally and externally, speaks volumes about how seriously Hyatt takes its purpose.
SkiftX: How is Hyatt integrating wellness options into its World of Hyatt loyalty program?
Kyricos: Amy Weinberg, senior vice president, World of Hyatt & consumer insights, has been very focused on integrating well-being into the World of Hyatt loyalty program. One example of how we’ve brought this to life for members is by providing access to complimentary Exhale fitness classes when staying at our hotels. Additionally, we’re making Exhale On Demand, a platform to stream Exhale fitness and meditation classes, available for guests to access in over 19,000 Hyatt Place and Hyatt Regency hotel rooms in the U.S.
We’re also committed to our members’ well-being when they’re not traveling, evident by the recent integration of Exhale into World of Hyatt, where members can earn and redeem points for Exhale fitness classes and spa therapies. This is the first integration of its kind and was a collective effort with the World of Hyatt team and Exhale CEO, Annbeth Eschbach.
World of Hyatt also recently launched FIND, a new well-being experiences platform, which was shaped by consumer interest in experiences over “things” and transformative travel. Through this platform, eligible World of Hyatt members can earn and redeem points on a curated selection of well-being experiences, both in and outside of hotel stays. FIND allows us to provide members with more value and care while aligning with our overall well-being focus.
Well-being is also part of the new World of Hyatt credit card, which allows cardholders to earn twice the points on fitness and was the first of its kind to reward self-care. These are all examples of how Hyatt thinks and approaches wellness and well-being differently in the marketplace, and stands to make wellness and well-being a greater part of our overall DNA.
SkiftX: What else is Hyatt developing in the wellness space?
Kyricos: We have a lot of exciting things in the works. Internally, we’re piloting a program to help colleagues find their own paths to well-being. We’re also working with a partner company to help colleagues learn how to better manage their energy, whether at work, home, or play.
Commercially, we’re piloting new products and services with our wellness brands, Miraval and Exhale, to learn how to have the most positive impacts on the health and well-being of our guests and customers. Creatively expanding those brands within our portfolio continues to be a priority, as is leveraging the decades of expertise they offer in the areas of spa, fitness, mindfulness, and holistic well-being in other ways.
SkiftX: How do you determine the return on investment of well-being?
Kyricos: We focus on what’s in the best interests of our colleagues, guests, and customers. We also look at data and research from organizations like the Global Wellness Institute, that provide insight into the business of wellness to prove that these investments are indeed worth pursuing in the travel industry.
For example, wellness tourism is growing twice as fast as global tourism. And we now know that wellness tourists are spending between 50 percent and 180 percent more than their average counterparts. So the the opportunities and demand for well-being are there –– and it’s clear that they’re here to stay.