Wellness in hotels – how has the dialogue changed?

Yesterday morning HGEM and EP brought together a group of senior operators to discuss how food and beverage has changed in hotels.F&B is changing at speed putting pressure on hotel operations and dining offers to meet the desires and expectations of consumers. How will F&B services in hotels change to meet this need especially when there is a focus on wellness as well as a desire for indulgence?

HGEM provided some interesting insights into what hotel guest are looking for when booking a hotel visit; • 55% of business guests & 68% leisure guests will indulge themselves and 87% enjoy a drink 86% of guests consider health important with 56% having actually made lifestyle changes to improve their health 66% of guests said that they would welcome a wellness offering Food has taken on new meaning. It is no longer perceived as “fuel” but is both a key to wellness and also reflective of values and society.

A very interesting debate was held which highlighted the fact that with the speed of change being experienced, hotel operations simply cannot ignore this. Despite it being daunting and often hotels feeling pressured to cater for all, this is an opportunity to embrace the change and provide offers which guests will and do look for. It also highlighted the fact that there is a need for balance, that perhaps an entire vegan menu is not strictly necessary but that an indulgent but still dietary considerate offer will go a long way. With 75% of guests still viewing a hotel stay as an occasional treat and indulgence the offer must still support this.

The other side of the debate questioned the meaning of wellness as this too has changed in recent years. Wellness is no longer simply exercising and eating healthily but expands to include everything from treatments, dietary offerings and mental health. How can hotels change their dialogue and offer to embrace wellness as it is simply not something which can be ignored?

Our belief, rightly or wrongly, is that there is a genuine opportunity to engage on wellness to a higher level and that hotels are in a good place to embrace this opportunity for change whist still keeping indulgence and hospitality at their core.