Industry Update
Opinion Article 7 July 2020

Getting Wise on Wellbeing: Nurturing Guests During & Post-COVID

Emotions are running at an all-time high, and caring properties can step up to help visitors & guests on the road to higher levels of happiness.

By Samantha Hardcastle, Founder at The Storied Experience

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While many properties are still trying to figure out the best way to ensure the physical safety of their guests, we can't ignore that this pandemic has hit people's wellbeing hard. Travel has always been a 'cure for what ails you', but if you haven't noticed - people are changing. Values are evolving. Over the last 15-20 years, we have experienced a massive paradigm shift, and we now stand in the aftermath of it.

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Wellbeing is something all properties should be intentional about, regardless of your brand's positioning. Because when you focus on creating an experience that caters to wellbeing, what you're really saying is: we care that our guests are flourishing. Not just in this moment, but even after they leave our doors.

Focusing on wellbeing is the most lucrative way to add value to guests.

There is no one way to integrate wellbeing. It is a subject with deep roots, and this article aims to scratch the surface. Positive psychology gives us the frameworks of what contributes to happiness, but it's up to each property to integrate these theories into their experience narrative.

So as you start to get into a groove with your safety protocols, dedicate some time to exploring how your experience narrative is contributing to your guests' wellbeing. Such as..

Connection

Why now: COVID has wreaked havoc on many relationships. People need help reconnecting with their loved ones and re-establishing their place in society to feel a greater sense of belonging.

We are tribal beings who need other people. When our ability to connect authentically is inhibited, we lose a sense of ourselves. This is because we learn a lot from observing people and immersing ourselves in the ways of life of others.

In addition, younger generations are losing the aptitude to interact face-to-face due to technology. Social skills are eroding, and meaningful in-person interactions are declining. But our industry has the ability to remedy this!

Reflect: How can we improve the way we help people connect on a deeper level with their loved ones, community, and society as a whole?

Meaning Making

Why now: People are feeling lost. People have lost jobs, loved ones, and their sense of direction. They've spent the last 4-5 months dazed and confused and many are struggling to tell up from down.

'Meaning' is the difference between a fleeting, surface level moment and a moment that is deep and significant. People desire rich, rewarding experiences that help them ascribe meaning to their existence. We are curious, and this curiosity is a strong driving force for everything we do.

Human beings are meaning-seekers, and this is why we love stories and learning. Storied experiences help us expand our worldview and change our perspective. These experiences in turn improve our wellbeing because they help us shape our own identity & self-concept and how we show up in the world. The more we understand the world and our place in it, the easier it becomes to reach our goals and serve our purpose.

Reflect: Is the experience narrative we're immersing guests & visitors into helping them create more meaning in their life? How are we enabling guests to embrace their curiosity and see from new perspectives?

Purpose

Why now: This pandemic has shown many of us what really matters and what we truly value. Many are coming to realize that life before the pandemic was not fulfilling us. Many are ready to fight for something bigger than themselves.

While lying on the beach is nice, people are intrinsically motivated to move ahead. To make progress and grow as a person. To feel like they are getting closer to achieving their big goals.

We are moving away from hospitality as a means purely for pleasure and towards purposeful pleasure - where enjoyment is rooted in something greater than entertainment alone. if you can create an experience that takes someone one step closer to realizing or fulfilling their purpose, you will have delivered immense value.

Reflect: Does our current experience help people discover & embrace their skills, talents, and virtues? Are we taking people on a journey that leaves them changed for the better?

Play

Why now: With the world in such a serious place right now, everyone can benefit from some lighthearted fun.

Play becomes less of a priority as we get older - but it is crucial to our happiness. Playtime for adults takes many shapes and forms. When many people think of play for 'grownups,' they might think of an outdoor adventure, or perhaps a night out at the casino.

The problem is, these forms of 'play' often lack the important elements of play that we see with childlike play: creativity & wonder. Jaded adults who feel like they've experienced all that life has to offer, they need play that sparks their imagination. There's something to be said for creating whimsical, magical moments, moments that jolt people out of their boredom and apathetic attitude.

Reflect: Does our experience truly encourage people to tap into a childlike sense of wonder and joy? Have we created an atmosphere that people feel comfortable letting their guard down and using their imagination?

In short: The world is crying out for experiences that are meaningful and that consider their holistic wellbeing first & foremost. Will you answer the call? Take time to reflect on how you're weaving together these four important aspects of wellbeing into your brand narrative and guest journey!

Samantha Hardcastle

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    Samantha Hardcastle
    Founder of Amore Social and Co-Founder of The Storied Experience
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