A guest enjoys a heated stone massage or a morning meditation class – and then what? The journey’s been disconnected. Time to weave and assemble into a seamless adventure.
Health is not a binary condition. It’s a journey with physical, mental, and spiritual elements. As in the case of any immersive journey, no one wants to be disconnected from it – especially when they’re on vacation.
It’s why the hospitality industry is moving toward offering deeper and longer immersive stories for guests. They’ve heard the grumbles. Sure, a guest enjoys a heated stone massage or a morning meditation class but then what?
Wellness travelers of all ages are hungry for authentic experiences, where they have an immersive opportunity to live locally. It’s not just observing what’s local. It’s inserting yourself into the storyline. It’s undertaking activities that deepen connections to wellness.
Sounds a bit like role-playing, right? It is.
Immersive role-playing as part of a narrative-driven adventure attuned to wellness themes is a fast-growing trend. It’ll blast off big-time next year in Orlando when Disney’s Star Wars-themed hotel opens to offer each guest missions aboard the spaceship-shaped property.
JW Marriot Phu Quoc Emerald Bay Resort’s Spa Chanterelle has taken their own approach to giving today's wellness traveler a new experience. Their design is inspired by mushrooms stemming from local culture mixed with Alice and Wonderland. The mushroom shape is incorporated throughout the spa: in the furnishing, artwork, and ceiling illustrations all adding to an immersive guest experience.
Our quest for wellness goes beyond exercise, food, and introspection. We’re looking for ways to rehabilitate our sense of emotional adventure, too. Restaurants are out ahead and leading here. It’s no longer uncommon to participate in meals where you participate in a thematic story.
A sense of story
What’s authentic about a fantasy dinner or rubbing elbows with Chewbacca aboard an interstellar spacecraft? It’s all about immersion. Wellness is a transformative experience that can be facilitated through the powerful medium of storytelling.
Wellness travelers are expecting more of a mashup of the previous experiences that had them popping in and out of a journey. Why not reenact the American Indian ceremony of heating stones before they’re used for your message?
One of the biggest contributors to this craving for story and performance as part of the wellness experience is our general change in focus. Travel to renew and rejuvenate used to be a focus on the self, but now we’re more interested in shared experiences. We want to memorialize it with our spouse, or maybe just a close friend.
Guests want life-changing wellness journeys that are smooth and continuous, rather than the disjointed classes, treatments, and programs they are used to getting. They want to enter and stay in character until it’s time to depart.
A richer tapestry
Wellness travel is no longer just about the attainment of better health. It’s also about acquiring perspective by taking part in what may seem like theater but is more about reconnecting with narratives and stories that give us a sense of place. Even if that place is somewhere we’ve never been.
The next generation of successful wellness destinations will be praised as much for their ability to engage guests’ imaginations as for the ability to rejuvenate their bodies. The growing trend of taking a wellness holiday following the breakdown of a relationship reflects our desire to use the transformative power of travel to deal with the stress and anxiety caused by major life changes.
Streaming through it all is the role that technology plays in our quest for wellness. Spa and fitness technology is advancing in sophistication – but in interesting ways. Few things are as old as meditation, yet we may learn during our wellness vacation to find its true value with the help of technology-aided biofeedback. It’s no longer physical. We’ve redefined wellness as an immersive adventure to be shared. Technology will be the thread that weaves a richer tapestry for these adventures.
At Beachwood Custom, we are committed to quality and design in the hospitality industry. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can enhance your design project, contact our team. We would love the opportunity to walk you through your options to help connect design with a true sense of place.