With the traditional hotel and spa industry at risk of losing touch with what matters to younger generations, hotels are rethinking how they can complement the lifestyles and habits of today’s guests – many of whom place healthy-living as a top priority. We spoke to Matthew Lesko, Project Director of EVEN Hotels, Australia & New Zealand, about the brand’s approach to wellness and how it stays on top of the changing trends.

LM: How does EVEN’s offering differ from traditional wellness experiences offered by hotels?

ML: EVEN Hotels is the first and only global hotel brand with wellness at its core.

The EVEN Hotels brand was home grown by IHG based on an understanding of the consumer shift toward holistic wellness – especially as it relates to travel. Best-in-class fitness facilities, in-room exercise zones and simple, fresh and organic foods (including a few indulgent but healthy options!) are the cornerstones.

Beyond food and exercise the brand offers initiatives that build on the bigger wellness picture, such as:

  •       Revitalising sleep experience: Plush bedding with natural linens, high-quality mattress and pillows, colour-changing mood lighting that energises and relaxes, evening tea, and aromatherapy amenities to kick-start your day
  •       Design that invigorates: Fresh, natural and modern design; bringing the outdoors inside and offering playful and energising spaces that balances sensory stimulates and rejuvenation
  •       Inspiring you to be true to yourself: Our team encourages guests and colleagues to be true to who they are and supports their wellness commitments

LM: As individuals’ wellness routines can differ hugely, how are you able to ensure that you help each guest maintain their specific routine while traveling?

ML: EVEN Hotels caters to holistic wellbeing, and we recognise that wellness means something different everyone.

People feel their best when they are able to keep to their routines, which is why we include wellness options in part of their day.

It might be having access to a great gym to maintain their workout regime, healthy versions of typically indulgent menu items, an inspiring space in which to finish a work project, some encouraging words from the hotel team, or simply a great night’s sleep while on the road.

     “We’re heralding the ‘age of the healthy traveller’, where people don’t need to be unhealthy when they travel. Our goal is to create an experience where people feel a sense of wellness simply as part of staying at an EVEN Hotel.’’

                                                                                                

LM: With food and fitness being so trend driven, how do you stay on top of it all? Does EVEN try to incorporate current trends or does it stick to food and fitness practices that resist fluctuation?

ML: The EVEN Hotels team is fanatical about wellness, so keeping up to date with the latest trends is what inspires them to come to work every day!

Our food and fitness partners are the specialists in their field and they also help keep us at the forefront of innovation, which means our dining and exercise activities will always be influenced by the latest trends and research.

Centennial Health Club will provide consulting services to help develop the EVEN Hotels Athletic Studio Experience Directives which define the differentiated EVEN Hotels fitness experience. This experience will be delivered via a state-of-the-art, multi-functional zoned gym and flex space for small group fitness classes, and in-room fitness elements.

Food will be provided by THR1VE, the food experts who are focused on extraordinary health, deliciously simple. They provide nutritionally-designed menus and delicious, ethically-sourced food that is constantly updated to meet the tastes and dietary needs of guests.

Importantly when it comes to food, it’s not all kale and quinoa! For those who want to treat (but not cheat) themselves, we will offer healthy versions of favourites like fish and chips or a cheeseburger.

LM: Is your fitness program one that’s intended to be permanent or will it evolve with consumer taste?

ML: Trends around fitness evolve all the time. EVEN Hotels will offer flexible fitness options so the guest can keep fit how they want, when they want.

For example, if someone prefers to run outside instead of on the treadmill, we help them to map a route that’s the right length, difficulty, and scenery for their run. Or if the guest is short on time, they can do a quick 15-minute workout using the training channel on their in-room TV.

LM: What’s next for wellness in your opinion?

ML: Travel can play havoc with our mental and physical wellbeing. So many of us spend hours at the gym, watching our diets or taking early morning yoga classes, only to see all the great results fly out the window when we board the plane.

Increasingly travellers are realigning their priorities to put wellbeing first in today’s over-scheduled and ‘always on’ culture. As they increasingly endeavour to stick to good routines on the road, ‘wellness travel’ has flourished, outpacing regular travel by 50% and reflecting the need for travellers to recharge, refresh and rejuvenate themselves to maintain a healthy life balance.

We’re heralding the ‘age of the healthy traveller’, where people don’t need to be unhealthy when they travel. Our goal is to create an experience where people feel a sense of wellness simply as part of staying at an EVEN Hotel.

LM: Do you believe corporates increasingly appreciate the importance of their employees maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and how do you align with their needs?

ML: Companies are starting to understand that a healthy employee is a happy employee, which in turn drives higher profitability and reduced costs. Many are seeing the benefit of incentivising employees to be healthy, even going as far as to employ health officers or wellbeing consultants.

With employees increasingly travelling for business, the spotlight will naturally turn to how the workforce can be healthy while on the road. We’re confident that a hotel with wellness at its core will be highly regarded by companies that put a spotlight on staff wellbeing.  

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