A wellness offering doesn't equal authenticity, says report

Hotels and resorts with a wellness offering must increase their authenticity to compete with wellness-centric properties.

A report by Horwath HTL Health & Wellness said clarification was needed around wellness terms and definitions owing to the industry's exponential growth in the leisure and tourism realms.

The report focused on the differences between “wellness-themed resorts” and “authentic” wellness retreats that incorporate wellness hospitality into every part of service. It defined the latter as “about the impact the experience at the property has on the guest’s wellbeing – during the stay and beyond.”

In-room features at authentic wellness retreats should include elements that help extend the healing process, such as vitamin C showers or ozone-enriched air and no in-room snacks, says the report, whereas a wellness-themed resort would likely offer guests in-room fitness equipment and supplements or shakes in minibars.

Services such as custom food and beverage plans win out as more all-encompassing than simply giving healthy choices, and a personal wellness concierge is the next level up from running concierge services and private and group fitness classes.

The report also said that to be considered wellness-centric sustainability initiatives are no longer enough; these are outshined by biophilic design standards that incorporate nature into architecture and the use of “healthy” materials throughout.

Location could now be considered of secondary importance for wellness retreats, with guests travelling for a specific purpose and for an authentic and genuine experience rather than luxury.