Skift Take

Canyon Ranch is pretty relaxed about its market status in the wellness space. It's keeping its head down while adding partnerships and locations at its own pace.

Travel's most forward-thinking insiders will gather September 18–19 for our annual Skift Global Forum in New York. In just a few years, Skift's Forums — the largest creative business gatherings in the global travel industry — have become what media, speakers, and attendees have called the “TED Talks of travel.”

Skift Global Forum 2019 will take place at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall in New York. This year's Forum speakers include CEOs and top executives from Booking Holdings, Delta Air Lines, Expedia, Air France-KLM, Marriott International, Amtrak, and many more.

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Industry trailblazer Canyon Ranch preaches wellness through healthy eating, physical fitness, and relaxation to its guests.

The 40-year-old hospitality company currently owns two resorts in Lenox, Massachusetts, and Tucson, Arizona, with a third location set to open this fall just north of Silicon Valley in Woodside, California. The upcoming location will feature the brand’s first stand-alone retreat model and will offer guests personalized, immersive luxury wellness experiences.

In addition to its resort and retreat properties, Canyon Ranch has also formed lucrative partnerships over the years in all corners of the travel industry. The company currently runs spa facilities on 22 cruise lines, as well as The Venetian Resort in Las Vegas.

Canyon Ranch in 2018 also partnered with Singapore Airlines to bring its wellness expertise on board aircraft. Its offerings include healthy menus and stretching exercises to make long flights more pleasurable for travelers.

Canyon Ranch CEO Susan Docherty will be speaking at Skift Global Forum in New York City on September 19.

Skift Editor’s Note: This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

Skift: What are some of the biggest wellness trends that stand out to Canyon Ranch today?

Susan Docherty: Each year, the Global Wellness Institute identifies new trends that will have a meaningful impact on the $4.2 trillion wellness industry. This year, the GWI has identified multiple trends that speak directly to the core programming at Canyon Ranch.

For example, a trend taking over 2019 is the prescription of nature and connecting oneself back to the outdoors as a mechanism of healing. At Canyon Ranch, connecting with nature has always been in our DNA. We are continuously incorporating the local environment into our guest experiences with activities such as rock climbing, hiking, biking, kayaking, snowshoeing, and more. From this same immersive point of view, we embarked on our latest addition to the Canyon Ranch portfolio at our retreat in Woodside, California, amid the ancient redwoods in Silicon Valley, well before the prescription of nature was considered a trend.

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Another trend that we’ve been watching is the growth of wellness real estate, expanding at 6.4 percent annually to $134 billion on a global basis. Canyon Ranch Living, our wellness real estate brand, was well ahead of its time. We began building homes at our flagship resort in Tucson, Arizona, decades ago.  We now have 100-plus homeowners who have access to all the amenities that Canyon Ranch has to offer. We were ahead of the game when we recently added 19 high-end Canyon Ranch Living condominiums to our wellness resort in Lenox, Massachusetts. They sold quickly with only three units remaining. And we’ll be ahead of the curve with partnership agreements in place for luxurious urban adult living communities that we’ll be announcing soon.

Susan Docherty, CEO of Canyon Ranch. Photo: Canyon Ranch

Skift: The veteran hospitality company is involved in multiple partnerships. But this year, Canyon Ranch will open another location in Silicon Valley. What are the company’s expansion plans going forward?

Docherty: In addition to our acquisition of the Woodside, California, retreat, we are increasing our commitment, not only to preserving the mission, but also our physical spaces in Tucson, Lenox, and Las Vegas. In the past 24 months since Canyon Ranch has changed hands to the Goff Family, there has been a significant investment of capital dedicated to enhancing our entire portfolio.

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In terms of expansion, there are incredible opportunities for growth at our core resorts and wellness real estate as well as portfolio adjacencies on land, at sea, and in the air. Our brand is poised and open for growth opportunities.

Skift: How does the company leverage its own expertise in the wellness space to both attract and retain talent?

Docherty: People who are connected to the mission of improving people’s lives and providing a sincere bond, that is unique and rare in today’s world. Emotional intelligence and connection in a team is hard to find, but when you do, you can harness and grow it with limitless possibilities. This is the best retention tool.

Our guests appreciate our staff and know many of them by name as they return to our properties year after year. Our founder set the standard that we must hire people with natural kindness, generosity of self, and a deep belief in our mission. We don’t always get it right, and sometimes need to course-correct, but we constantly use this as our gauge because securing and retaining the best talent is paramount to best serve our guests.


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Tags: canyon ranch, resorts, sgf2019, singapore airlines, skift global forum, the venetian resort las vegas, wellness

Photo credit: A treehouse accommodation at the soon-to-be-opened Canyon Ranch Woodside in California. Canyon Ranch

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