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Health & Wellness Take Center Stage in Post-Pandemic Travel

Kristen Sullivan

As the travel industry slowly starts to recover from the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, it is time for hoteliers to begin thinking about ways to entice cautious travelers who now value health and wellness above all else. Priorities have changed and guest expectations need to be considered moving forward. Prior to the pandemic, wellness was having a moment in the hospitality space, but now the crisis has intensified this priority, putting wellness and the awareness of personal health and well-being at the forefront of guests’ minds. However, the idea of wellness has changed and is now less about superficial spa treatments and more about fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness. Below are a few ideas on which wellness-related features and amenities to highlight to attract these post-pandemic travelers.

Spa & Wellness Services

If your property already has a spa, gym, or other form of recreational center, it may be easier than you think to modify your facilities and services to meet these new expectations. For instance, rather than featuring facials and high-contact body massages at your spa, perhaps you should consider focusing more on science-based health programs such as detox body-wraps or hydrotherapy. Spa services that encourage a strong and healthy immune system are likely to draw the most attention with travelers seeking out a wellness experience.

What about those properties that do not have some form of spa or wellness center? While your hotel may have once been a hotspot for lavish, 200-guest weddings, that is likely no longer the case—at least for the time being. Perhaps you can use those spaces in a different way. Consider offering socially distanced yoga and meditation classes in your event venues. Making the most of your unused spaces while incorporating new wellness offerings into your list of amenities will likely entice health-conscious travelers to book a stay.

Onsite & Nearby Outdoor Activities

Post-pandemic beach, mountain, and lake locations where guests can maintain social distancing are particularly popular. Travelers will be looking for hotels offering organic experiences and the ability to reconnect with nature. If your hotel is located on or near any of the above landscapes, it should certainly be highlighted as part of your marketing strategy. It may even be beneficial to partner with local recreational companies to provide special packages involving outdoor activities such as kayaking, paddle-boarding, hiking tours, or boat rentals.

Additionally, consider including recommendations for local outdoor activities in your marketing emails, social media platforms, and on your website. Some ideas include picnics at a nearby park, local hiking trails, secluded beaches, and bike rentals to tour the surrounding area.

Staycations Focused on Self-Care

While air travel is certainly still beyond some travelers’ level of comfort, many people are opting for staycations at hotels within driving distance of their homes. In fact, a recent survey conducted by Morning Consult for the American Hotel and Lodging Assn. revealed that 44 percent of Americans are planning some form of leisure travel or overnight stay in the near future. Additionally, of those Americans intending to travel this year, 72 percent are planning an overnight vacation within driving distance of their home in the next five months. You can entice these guests to book a stay with holistic staycation packages involving wellness amenities, local outdoor activities, and thoughtful extras like a complimentary super-food breakfast. Your marketing efforts should target travelers within driving distance (approximately two hours) of your property and focus on providing an escape from quarantine while maintaining crucial health and safety precautions.

Nutrition-Based Menus

Whether you have an on-site restaurant, lobby bar, or simply offer room service, consider changing up your menus to offer wholesome options to entice these health-conscious travelers. Major brands such as Fairmont Hotels and Westin have been offering nutritional menus for years and are good examples of ways to incorporate these healthful options. Many other hotels are following suit and have begun incorporating unique ideas into their food and beverage programs such as farm-to-table meals with local organic ingredients, fresh-squeezed juice bars, and even personalized menus designed by an on-site nutritionist.

Whether the travel industry is changed only temporarily or for good, recovering after the COVID-19 pandemic requires some form of adaptation. A greater emphasis on healthy living, open-air recreation options, and wellness amenities will influence travel decisions going forward. Whatever changes you choose to implement in your hotel, these adjustments should be highlighted in your marketing efforts to assure travelers your hotel is the safest and most natural choice.

For additional ideas and ways to incorporate these enhancements into your marketing strategy, contact Vizergy Digital Marketing.

About the Author

Kristen Sullivan is a Senior Account Manager with Vizergy Digital Marketing. For more than 20 years, Vizergy has served the hospitality industry with leading marketing technologies, knowledgeable talent and exceptional service for clients worldwide. The company deploys complete travel life-cycle marketing solutions from conversion-optimized website design to award-winning digital marketing programs, reservation solutions, media planning and execution. Vizergy’s platform is touted as the No. 1 digital marketing system—easy to use, turnkey and SMART, and continually enhanced with tools to help hotels compete and maximize revenue.