Skift Take

Arguably, no one else in the hospitality industry has made wellness as much of a priority and focus as Hyatt has. Our latest research suggests there's a lot of opportunity for the company to tap into this quickly growing segment to drive increased customer loyalty.

Hyatt is making a dramatic push into the wellness segment. The company is increasingly focused on tapping into a quickly growing segment at the intersection of tourism and everyday life by developing offerings for its employees to maintain their well-being and for its customers to be able to continue their wellness and mindfulness practices from the comfort of Hyatt’s hotel rooms.

Our latest Skift Research report, A Deep Dive Into Hyatt 2019: Making Waves in Wellness and Hospitality, provides an overview of Hyatt’s increased focus on wellness to drive stronger customer loyalty as well as the company’s asset disposition program and corresponding shift to a more fee-based business.

In the excerpt below, we offer a look into what Hyatt is doing to increasingly focus on wellness and why and assess the market opportunity.

Last week we launched the latest report in our Skift Research service, A Deep Dive Into Hyatt 2019: Making Waves in Wellness and Hospitality.

Below is an excerpt from our Skift Research Report. Get the full report here to stay ahead of the trends.

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Hyatt first began the conversation on wellness at its investor day in November 2016. “We think about wellness as an opportunity,” CEO Mark Hoplamazian said. “First, to fulfill our purpose which is to care for people so they can be their best. And we begin with our colleagues because we believe if we can help our colleagues lead lives that are — with well-being and promote well-being for them that we can actually then translate that into the guest experience.”

Then came news in January 2017 of Hyatt buying Miraval Group, a provider of wellness and mindfulness experiences, for approximately $215 million with plans to invest $160 million more in wellness over the following two to three years.

Hyatt also went on to buy Exhale, which offers boutique fitness classes and spa services, in August 2017. The company has also carved out roles dedicated to enhancing guest engagement and hired top talent in the wellness space. In particular, in August 2018, Mia Kyricos joined Hyatt as its first senior vice president and global head of well-being, responsible for developing strategies for guest and employee well-being. Kyricos previously ran Kyricos & Associates LLC, which provided guidance to wellness-driven hospitality, tourism, and lifestyle companies.

Kyricos noted to Skift Research a new aspect of the loyalty program that caters to wellness. “We are looking at wellness to drive more value for our customers and guests beyond traditional hotel stays … In addition, with any well-being initiative we launch, we are constantly listening to our guests and customers’ feedback to understand how our experiences and offerings are resonating,” Kyricos went on to say. “And in the end, if they choose to stay with us because they believe that we will care for their well-being better than others, then we have successfully done our job.”


Wellness is a quickly growing industry with considerable opportunities for hospitality to get more involved, and we believe Hyatt very much recognizes this. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) sizes the wellness tourism industry at just under $640 billion as of 2017, making up approximately 15 percent of the entire wellness economy. Wellness tourism is one of the fastest growing segments in wellness, with a two-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.6 percent, which is the second highest CAGR out of all categories included in the GWI’s sizing of the wellness economy.

Wellness travelers also generally spend more than average travelers do. International wellness travelers spend 53% more than average international travelers, and domestic wellness travelers spend a whopping 178 percent more than average domestic travelers. Given “wellness travelers are willing to spend between 50–180 percent more than their average counterparts on travel that is good for them, … [this] translates to positive impacts on both ADR and RevPAR,” Kyricos explained.

We note that while these numbers for wellness related expenditures and trips are large, we expect this is likely due to the GWI including domestic (travel occurring within the home country) spend and trips on wellness as well as secondary wellness travelers (tourists who incidentally seek wellness while traveling, but not for the primary reason of wellness). In our view, not all spa-related expenditures are specifically for the intentions of wellness, thereby making wellness a difficult industry to measure. Nevertheless, and with these caveats in mind, we think the research done by the GWI is helpful to assess overall trends in the wellness space.

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We performed a couple analyses to assess how Hyatt’s portfolio and pipeline line up with current wellness tourism geographic demand dynamics as well as what percent of the wellness tourism industry Hyatt is currently taking. For these analyses, we use GWI data for the overall assessment of the wellness tourism industry.

Our research showed that Hyatt’s current portfolio is highly exposed to the Americas where the majority of current wellness tourism expenditures are occurring. Nevertheless, Hyatt’s pipeline (as of Q4 2017) has a high exposure to the Asia Pacific region as the company branches outside of Europe and the Americas. While the Asia Pacific region currently has the lowest percentage of expenditures, the GWI forecasts it to have the highest growth rate over the next five years, with a five-year CAGR of 13%.

In our other analysis, we estimated that Miraval is currently only capturing only a tiny fraction of wellness tourism related lodging revenues.

Obviously, many travelers who stay in Hyatt properties partake in various wellness-related activities, and this can show up in Hyatt’s financials in a number of ways. However, the point still stands: there is a considerable amount of opportunity for Hyatt to start taking more share of the quickly growing wellness industry and offering ways for its customers to enjoy wellness on property.

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This is the latest in a series of research reports, analyst sessions, and data sheets aimed at analyzing the fault lines of disruption in travel. These reports are intended for the busy travel industry decision maker. Tap into the opinions and insights of our seasoned network of staffers and contributors. Over 200 hours of desk research, data collection, and/or analysis goes into each report.

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Tags: asset-light, hospitality, hotels, hyatt, skift research, wellness

Photo credit: Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo offers numerous wellness offerings for guests. Hyatt / Andaz Costa Rica Resort at Peninsula Papagayo

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