Okay, there’s a lot of ground to cover with the hypothesis stated in the title, so let’s start with some bullets for easy digestion:
- The population is getting older, which for advanced economies means more retirees or late-stage salaried workers with the disposable income to afford expensive hotel packages;
- As people get older, health considerations will increasingly factor into travel decisions;
- Travel insurance will be a central topic of discussion as will medical tourism and traveling with ‘dependents’ as in multi-generational travel where working age couples bring along a parent who is dependent on them for care due to an end-of-life progressive disease like dementia;
- Concurrently, there’s an increasing awareness around various wellness practices as a means to prolong both lifespan (total years lived) and healthspan (total healthy years lived);
- Altogether, this means more people of means and of need for wellness amenities at hotels.
Two important phrases to drill into your memory at this point are, “If you don’t make time for your wellness, then you’ll be forced to make time for your illness” and “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
What these both get at is the changing of one’s overall lifestyle to incorporate more wellness practices as a means of preventing or delaying the onset of everything from joint pain and heart disease to Alzheimer’s and various types of cancer. As people do at home, they will expect hotels to not only accommodate but to inspire with amenities, activities and experiences they wouldn’t normally consider.
Thus, this whole wellness vertical is as lucrative as they come for hotels. Now is the time to start mapping out how the various aspects of wellness can work with your brand. As you research your options, you’ll see that nearly every hotel brand can do something that works with their target customer, budgets and spaces.
For instance, luxury resorts will come to incorporate advanced medical treatment centers and facilities that have cryochambers or stem cell injections. But economy or select-service brands can still incorporate more healthy food options or build a naturopathic supplement menu. Sleep programs, mindfulness programs—ranging from yoga and meditation classes through to breathwork or qigong and sound therapy headsets—and in-room workout equipment can be applied nearly universally.
In the future, hospitals will be for ‘sickcare’—when you are critically ill and need immediate attention— whereas hotels will be for true ‘healthcare’ or the preservation and restoration of body, mind and spirit. Right now, it’s all about the roadmap. There are almost too many options to choose from so it’s about narrowing down what will work, all while knowing that you have to do something.