Going Long for Hotel Longevity Part IV: Getting More Wellness Revenues from Men | By Larry and Adam Mogelonsky – Hospitality Net

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The longevity revolution holds a lot of promise, but with labor challenges, supply chain nuisances and a looming recession that may handicap the current travel recovery, hotel brands need practical solutions for the here and now. Per the title, let’s think in terms of taking what you have and tweaking your services or messaging to ramp up select demographics.

In the interim between the current post-pandemic revenge travel and the launch of radical new antiaging treatments, traditional wellness and spa services like massages, facials and mani-pedis continue to be a profound growth vertical for hotels. Still, the totality of ‘wellness’ goes far beyond the four walls of your spa treatment rooms, incorporating F&B, in-room amenities, public space elements and curated activities, meaning both more work for you to appease this demand as well as huge profits when done right.
The pandemic has only accelerated this trend as people have been compelled to explore the broad concept of mindfulness, reorient their workout routines, cook healthy homemade meals or learn about the benefits of good sleep habits. For the decade ahead, these at-home adjustments will seep into guest expectations, with many travelers looking for transformative wellness programs first as a value-add but eventually as mandatory in their hotel selections.
There are many opex and capex decisions to be made in order to take advantage of this burgeoning trend, but for now we ask what you are doing to activate the other half of the population that is likely to be underserved by your current wellness amenities. Before embarking on an elaborate upgrade to your spa or implementing a new plant-based food menu, there are many tweaks you can make to increase revenues from men. As we will see, these will also serve the dual purpose of differentiating your brand in the face of inbound competition as everyone else looks to get in on the wellness craze.

Men as the New Wellness Profit Center

To give you a sense of the potential here, let’s outline some stats:

  • According to ISPA data (2019), men are more likely than women to choose body services (30% compared to 24% of women), fitness or sports services (29% compared to 10% of women) and hydrotherapy (20% compared to 11% of women)
  • A British market survey found that men in their thirties lead the spending on male grooming products, ahead of men in their forties, who part with an average of £70 ($115 USD) a month
  • Recent 2022 reports have shown that 49% of spa-goers in the US are men, with these figures up from the 29% of men using spas in 2005
  • Forecasted by a study from the American Med Spa Association (2018), men are going to go from 10% of the marketplace to 30% in the next decade due to the rising spending power of male millennials, with the data suggesting men are outspending women by 13% in med spas
  • According to the Wellness, Spas, Health and Travel 2030 survey, solo men have made it to top three in terms of key target segments for wellness in the Middle East and in Asia

As you can see, not only is there an opportunity from motivating more men to use your spa services or select your property due to its wellness program, but there’s also an even bigger fish in the worldwide growth of this industry.
Hinted at from the previous mention of the pandemic-born lifestyle changes, one of the largest contributors to the ever-blooming TAM (total addressable market) for wellness will be its convergence with longevity and preventative science – treatments, foods, supplements, exercises and activities proven to counteract advanced-stage diseases like cancer, diabetes, blood flow disorders, arthritis, dementia and visual signs of aging.
Hotel brands are primed to get in on this longevity revolution as we have the resources to develop synergistic programs that bring together multiple beneficial programs under one roof. To learn more about how hotels can get this off the ground, we collaborated with Laszlo Puczko, founder of HTWWLife, an international intelligence and advisory group focused on wellness travel.
“Gone are the days of ‘pampering’ and similar verbiage that seldom appeals to the more masculine orientations,” started Puczko. “To start, reframe your existing spa nomenclature to focus on the health and wellbeing benefits in terms of destressing, bodily rejuvenation, vitality, mental clarity, muscle recovery or improved sleep. This also extends to your visual messaging and advertisements by ensuring that all genders and a greater diversity of demographics are represented, not just women aged 25 to 45. Note that men prefer to choose offers that have clear outcomes and results. In this sense the term ‘spa’ may represent only some space in the hotel and not what it can functionally do for men.”
As an extension of this, think couples and mixed groups. With evidence overwhelmingly supporting the notion of communal experiences enhancing personal wellbeing, leisure guests will be looking for those amenities will social aspects included. Conversely, the solo corporate traveler and remote worker are yet two more untapped segments for wellness where specific services aimed towards a ‘quick recharge’ or ‘midday mindset reset’ can generate incremental demand.

Protecting Then Growing Your Brand

Beyond this core repositioning, expansion and evolution will inevitably involve building out a plan, recruiting more specialized labor and devoting budget for a serious renovation. While these upgrades can heighten demand, facilitate more cross-selling and boost ADR, understand that they are foremost a defensive measure. Due to both the lucrative size of this space as well as shifting guest expectations in the wellness direction, your competitors will also be forced to chase this cash cow.
Hardly a zero-sum game, part of the reason why the TAM for wellness will continue to grow is because of a customer-accessibility positive feedback loop where more entrants in the industry will in turn elicit more awareness and demand, then more overall consumption will draw in more entrants and lower costs through economies of scale. Still, it’s up to you to be first past the post and to differentiate your brand through new wellbeing-oriented services that aren’t offered by the hotel down the street.
Luckily, there are manifold prospects available nowadays to serve this need under five wide categories:

  1. The spa will persist as the cornerstone of any holistic wellness program, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t explore new treatments, cutting-edge equipment, trending ingredients and gift shop sales opportunities. Local partnerships are expected, but now global supply chains can let you source niche longevity-promoting products previously unavailable.
  2. You can go the route of advanced stem cell injections or related clinical therapies like platelet rich plasma treatments, but these have both a substantial setup cost and serious labor restrictions. More attainable might be those programs addressing the modern conveniences of consistent temperature controls and junk light from computer monitors. Consider ice baths, infrared saunas, hyperbaric chambers, red, yellow or blue light immersions or sound-dampened meditation pods, all of which are gaining popularity.
  3. The awareness for feeding high-octane fuel into our engines has peaked, meaning that F&B is a mandatory element of this conversation. People want to eat cleaner, know where their foods are sourced and are going plant-based both for health and to protect the environment. Beyond servicing the vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians, you can value-add existing menus by offering supplements, freshly blended juices or spice-integrated shots designed to boost the immune system.
  4. As the restorative effects of a good night’s sleep are beginning to be understood on an anatomical level, so too are the in-room features progressing. Think circadian-attenuated smart lighting, vitamin-infused showers, napercise classes or even something as simple as ensuring that calming herbal teas are available.
  5. Group of private classes for yoga, meditation, mindfulness and physiotherapies are seeing swells in demand. But also think about the experiential side, where travelers are increasingly valuing the calm of serene beach setup or guided nature hikes to let them get those forest-bathing benefits.

Male-Oriented Wellness in Practice

As you tell, wellness has a litany of possible revenue verticals for your brand to capitalize upon; it’s more a matter of developing a congruent slate of features across a variety of operations for a cohesive brand identity. Key towards getting revenues from men, though, is to state all these amenities in terms of their health benefits.
To close, Puczko offered one such example from South Korea. The Dr. O & Ananti private clinic at the Ananti Cove in Busan, Korea offers personalized treatments on well-aging and both internal and external wellbeing. This nation has long valued skincare, grooming and healthy lifestyle choices as we see in the products that reach our Western shores, but it’s important to note that these values exist equally for both women as well as men. Hence, the guest journeys at Ananti Cove are tailor-made for each guest, with the wellness programming itself being gender-neutral.
Looking at the current slate being introduced to attract men to the wellness world, there are indeed some great innovations. You may find it to be unexpected that men actually opt in for such experiences, but a slight twist or tweak – like beer and stretching, eco spas or kilted yoga led by a couple of Scotsmen – may be just the ticket for big revenues in the near-term.
Larry Mogelonsky
Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited
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