Expert Advises Hotels on Future-Proofing Strategies Amid Economic Squeeze and Changing Travel Market

As the travel industry grapples with the economic impact of the pandemic, hotels face the challenge of adapting to changing travel patterns and customer preferences. Sonal Uberoi, a renowned business and wellness expert from Spa Balance, offers valuable advice to hotels on how to future-proof their establishments and navigate the ongoing economic squeeze.

According to Uberoi, the business travel segment is not rebounding as strongly as before, while leisure travel remains buoyant, with customers embracing a “live once” mindset. In light of this trend, she shares her top tips for hotels seeking to thrive in the current market and ride out the recession.

Sell an experience: Uberoi emphasizes the importance of offering more than just a bed to sleep in. Hotels should focus on providing an emotional, psychological, and experiential connection with guests. By placing wellness at the forefront and creating a deeper connection, hotels can engage customers on a profound level.

Make your space a retreat: A retreat doesn’t have to be limited to yoga sessions and smoothies. Uberoi suggests positioning hotels as a welcome break from everyday life. With concerns over the cost of living and financial worries, guests seek a different experience through wellness. By conveying the hotel as an escape, hotels can tap into the desire for a transformative experience. Uberoi cites Birch Community as an example, where guests can work, sleep, eat, and retreat, offering a place to find “mojo and magic.”

Differentiate yourself: Uberoi urges hotels to identify their unique selling points beyond price. Instead, they should differentiate themselves based on the value of the experience they offer. Guests are more interested in the hotel’s values, purpose, community engagement, and how wellness is integrated into the overall fabric of the establishment. By creating a sense of belonging and a shared identity, hotels can foster a loyal guest following.

Build a community: Uberoi advises hotels to connect with local suppliers, such as food vendors, wineries, or running tour operators, to provide guests with a holistic experience beyond the hotel premises. By creating bundled wellness packages and collaborating with local businesses, hotels can enhance their offerings and increase revenue without reducing rates. This approach, known as “rate obscuring,” has proven successful for hotels, leading to increased average daily rates and occupancy rates.

Invest in your teams: Acknowledging the current staff shortage in the travel industry, Uberoi highlights the importance of investing in employee well-being. Happy and healthy staff members can create an atmosphere where guests also feel content. Hotels should prioritize training, support, and foster a culture where wellness is embedded in every aspect of the operation.

Hyper personalization: With diverse generations seeking unique experiences, a one-size-fits-all approach won’t suffice. Uberoi encourages hotels to cater to multiple generations and their distinct well-being goals and lifestyles. By utilizing wellness tools and tailoring services, hotels can provide personalized experiences that make guests feel special and unique.

Think beyond international: Uberoi advises hotels to position themselves as go-to destinations for both local residents seeking a break and international tourists. By broadening their audience profile without diluting their brand, hotels can attract guests from various backgrounds. Tailoring marketing strategies to target local guests can expand the hotel’s customer base.

Think circular to be better: Beyond sustainability, Uberoi advocates for hotels to give back to people and the environment. Reducing waste, considering well-being at every stage of the guest journey, and actively supporting the community can create a positive impact. By incorporating well-being principles into brand strategy, hotel architecture, and service offerings, hotels can be places of wellness

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