As awareness continues to increase among consumers about the benefits of health & wellness, particularly when traveling, the opportunity for hotels to increase both guest satisfaction and revenue has increased as well.
As such, PURE Solutions, NA, has continued to evolve its offering from the allergy-free rooms that debuted in 2005 to the PUREwellness rooms of today, which include a host of different healthy amenities.
Brian Brault, CEO, PURE Rooms, talked about what he referred to as a “natural pivot” for the Buffalo, NY-based company.
“The base technology is the same, but what we’ve recognized is the emergence of this whole focus in the world around wellness…We don’t think it’s going to be a fad and we don’t really anticipate it going away anytime in the near future, especially since it’s really the millennials driving a lot of it,” he said, later pointing out that wellness tourism is a roughly $563 billion industry.
In creating its PUREwellness rooms, the company employs a seven-step patented process, which incorporates its medical grade air purifiers. But Brault noted the rooms—which are sold to guests at a premium rate—now feature an added level of enhancements. For example, feather free hypoallergenic pillows have been added as well as feather free duvet inserts.
“The room is not only treated in a way that makes it nearly impossible for viruses, bacteria, mold, and mildew spores to survive in the room, but also it’s completely feather free,” he said. Brault further noted the rooms also feature a new inline shower filter designed to filter out chlorine and other hard water deposits that can be rough on the skin.
Brault explained the needs of some guests for rooms and the overall health benefits they offer.
“Most people’s bodies adjust to whatever is going on in the environment around them, but people with allergies just don’t adjust the same way or adapt so that’s why their body reacts to a foreign environment or foreign substances. When your body doesn’t have to fight off the environment the same way you’re able to sleep better and deeper and therefore you are better rested the next day. The technology is amazing and the experience inside of a PURE room really does give people a better night’s sleep,” he insisted.
According to the American Lung Association and Center for Disease Control, nearly one in four people in the U.S. have respiratory allergies or asthma. “From a hotel’s perspective 25 percent of the guests walking into the property have a specific need for a more comfortable environment,” emphasized Brault.
He also cited a recent Cornell study that pegged the number of bookings in search of a more comfortable room at some 41 percent as a result of most rooms having multiple occupants.
Furthermore, Brault noted the wellness trend extends well beyond those with health issues. “There’s a broader appeal to what we do than just people with allergies and asthma. Who wouldn’t want to stay in an environment where viruses and bacteria and mold and mildew spores and other allergens just aren’t going to survive?” he said.
According to Brault, the company has implemented its wellness solution in roughly 200 hotels and some 3,000 rooms to date and is working towards securing as many as 40 additional properties by the end of 2018. He noted that major branded properties in the mid-tier to upscale sectors have been the “sweet spot” for PUREwellness rooms. However, he added the company is in the process of developing an approach for the economy sector and is adding enhancements for the luxury sector.
Brault underscored the importance of continuing to forge those relationships. “The goal would be to partner with a brand that understands the opportunity to market it in a manner that shows the guest the value of staying in one of these rooms,” he said.
Brault explained that PUREwellness rooms typically take up anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of a hotel’s inventory. Depending on the size of the property, the rooms could comprise an entire floor or in some cases a wing of a floor. He noted the most common premium for the rooms is in the $20 range, but the overall average is actually $24 due to some high compression markets.
Bill Bretches, general manager, Dallas Marriott Suites, touted the offering. "Our PURE suites are in very high demand due to many guests having asthma and/or allergies. You immediately know when you open your suite door your in a PURE environment. It’s like an intake of oxygen which leads to a fabulous night’s sleep," he said.
Hotels have a couple of options in terms of implementing the PUREwellness rooms. They can buy the rooms in two-year increments and essentially charge whatever premium they want. The company also offers a revenue share option where hotels can install the rooms at no cost. After an initial investment hurdle is met, the hotel receives 60 percent of the revenue generated from the premiums.
“It doesn’t take a lot for a hotel certainly to return their costs just through the premiums. If you get a couple of guests a month even coming to your hotel because you offer those rooms as a point of differentiation, then you apply the whole rate in terms of ROI,” said Brault.