Foresight and innovation in
the global hotel industry

Reviewing the Welltech and Sleeptech Available to Grow Your Brand

Partner at Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd.
Partner at Hotel Mogel Consulting Ltd.
Larry Mogelonsky darkLarry Mogelonsky lightAdam Mogelonsky darkAdam Mogelonsky light

Rather than start with some glowing statistic to show the growth of wellness worldwide across various markets or industries, here’s a more profound statement: If you don’t make time for your wellness, you will be forced to contend with your illness.

Each day, millions of people are acting on this principle by upgrading, updating, adjusting, tweaking and honing their lifestyles with more wellness products, habits and services in order to stave off the trip to the doctor, while also realizing other benefits like better mood, increased cognition and fat loss. It’s perhaps the biggest win-win for any individual nowadays. Critically for hospitality, though, as one does at home, one will expect at their chosen hotels.

Yes, investing in wellness is a defensive play to protect a hotel’s brand equity over the long run, but it’s also a tremendous value-add in terms of growing ancillary revenues, inducing direct bookings through wellness packages, encouraging longer length of stay, improving booking pace or even carving out a new room type for upselling. That said, there’s a huge scalability challenge. Most hotels don’t have spas and retrofitting space is a prohibitive cost. For those that do, spa practitioners and therapists are in perennially short supply.

The solution then is to look to welltech, a portmanteau of ‘wellness technology’, with other related compressions like spatech, sleeptech, fittech and others. The justification for welltech is threefold:

  1. Allows a brand to expand wellness footprint with relatively low additional labor requirements, making it highly scalable
  2. Comes in many sizes and flavors, allowing hotels to pick their own adventures insofar as what welltech to deploy and where, albeit with a bit of shopper’s paralysis
  3. As this is within the realm of technology, there is the promise of data accumulation that, with the right integrations, can add to a guest profile for future modeling and personalization

To dwell on the first point, yes there are numerous forms of welltech that require lots of specialized labor such as medispa treatments, any form of injection administration or diagnostics interpretation. But there are numerous other paths that hotels can take where, for instance, spa treatment rooms can be configured for a 30-minute session with the guest left alone besides the beginning and end or devices left in the guestroom as a welcome amenity.

For those hotels with a preexisting wellness center, there are lots of fancy equipment that can be set up so that treatment rooms effectively operate like a multiplex cinema; one therapist moves like a theater projectionist from room to room, setting up treatments at specific intervals on a programmed rotation. Think red light therapy (RLT), infrared (IR) saunas, pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF), cold chambers, deprivation tanks, meditative soundscape pod, vibroacoustics, lymphatic drainage suits or combining several of these modalities into one multisensorial experience.

That’s the spatech, but not all hotels have spas and not all guests have time to use the spa. Every guest sleeps (hopefully!), so this is perhaps the top area where hotels can excel. Indeed, sleep tourism has emerged in just the past few years as a buzzy way for urban hotels to get an edge by deploying a cluster of sleep hygiene amenities and sleeptech to help guests improve their nightly recovery.

For those traditional amenities, there are the customary pillow menus, pillow concierges, blackout curtains, sleep masks, blue light blocking glasses, herbal teas, aromatherapy and turndown snacks that can induce sleep like a shot of tart cherry juice (one of the rare foods to naturally contain melatonin). Sleeptech, on the other hand, presents a way for hotels to tremendously augment their in-room sleep programs by giving guests an experience they can’t get anywhere else just yet.

Here are some options that fall under the purview of sleeptech:

  • Circadian lighting that’s app or television-integrated and perhaps motion-activated, dimming in the evening and adjusting to the red-amber color spectrum to imitate a setting sun
  • Wearable rings and bands that track one’s sleep to highlight any deficiencies as well as other specifics like blood oxygenation, possible apnea or heart rate variability (HRV)
  • New types of noiseless HVACs with enhanced air purifiers to improve the air quality in the room
  • Advanced climate controls that can adjust the room temperature to be optimized for both deep sleep and REM cycles
  • Mattresses and bedding technologies that now have built-in temperature and moisture controls or mats that wrap around the bed to provide those attributes as well as electrical grounding
  • On-demand yoga, stretching, journaling or mindfulness programs accessible via the in-room television or app-integrated
  • Shower technologies that can range from vitamin-infused showers to new systems that tell you temperature and time for those that want in-room contrast therapy
  • While mentioning melatonin, there are plenty of other sleep-enhancing supplements that can be delivered to the room efficiently via on-demand ordering systems (and maybe delivery robots)
  • Calming soundscapes from speaker systems or other meditation-oriented apps
  • Vibroacoustic and gravity wave installations under the mattress that can deliver relaxation and lymphatic drainage while one rests

There are a handful providers who can help with all of these amenities, so it is a matter of planning what direction you want to go in with your sleep program. Indeed fitness also plays a role in the sleep that one gets, so we cannot exclude fittech from the conversation. But good sleep is the foundation of foundations for good health and that’s also the primary reason why most guests need a hotel room, so an enhanced sleep program with sleeptech is the best place to start. Beyond this, there’s a whole world of other welltech at your disposal worth exploring to see if they are applicable to your brand, so keep learning and keep upgrading your hotel’s wellness programming.