Top Strategies for Post-Crisis Planning in Urgent Times of Wellbeing and Health
— 8 experts shared their view
As the hospitality industry grapples with market instability and changes worldwide, this viewpoint aims to identify helpful views from a panel of industry experts, to discuss leading action-items for near-term and long-range strategic planning. As the world is currently in the throes of COVID-19; there are an array of uncertainties impacting travel, engagement and finance.
This presents an important opportunity for us to examine, suggest and develop new strategies that foster stronger wellness propositions and public health priorities that support diverse hospitality models. This viewpoint also aims to share thoughts on how companies, stakeholders and developers can make calculated investments and complex decisions in the midst of the current crisis and beyond.
Please provide your view of high-priority initiatives related to the immediate impact on mental health, returning engagement, and guest experiences, underpinning action-planning for value and growth. Please suggest at least one creative, OUTSIDE-THE BOX idea... that reveals the importance of interconnected, multifaceted, wellbeing and health experiences.
Group Director of Spa & Wellness at Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group
The travel industry (and the world, for that matter) has never seen a situation like the current pandemic. For that reason, I think it is important to acknowledge that there are no “experts” on this topic. Just a group of industry colleagues trying to figure out how to best navigate a very difficult and very unpredictable situation. In my role as the Group Director of Spa & Wellness for Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, I do see a few opportunities to leverage our wellness positioning as a way to aid in the recovery:
1. Interest in health and wellness is at an all-time high. Wellness was already a mega-trend before Coronavirus struck. Now it is through the roof. People are more attuned to wellness than ever before because
- a. The virus has most deeply impacted those whose health was already compromised.
- b. The pandemic reminds us of our mortality and has us focusing more on extracting more longevity and quality out of the years we have.
- c. People in quarantine have had time (and infinite online resources) to focus on their own wellness, potentially even integrating new practices into their lifestyle.
Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group has always had Spa and Wellness as a core pillar of our brand. The strength and authenticity behind our commitment to the health and wellness of our guests will be a key aspect of our recovery and an important area of the hotel experience to leverage in bringing guests back to our hotels. We are working on programs to help our guests stay physically and mentally strong during these challenging times.
2. People need touch they can trust. Social distancing may be something that stays with us long after the Coronavirus has been eradicated. People may be reluctant to get too close to others if they don't feel safe. But touch is an essential ingredient for human health and flourishing. So while it may be some time before we go back to shaking hands with everyone in a meeting room, or kissing everyone's cheeks at a cocktail party, people may return to spas if we can provide a sacred space where people can experience touch in a safe environment administered by a trained professional who is held to the highest standards of cleanliness and hygiene. Our spas have always had the most stringent safety and cleanliness standards in the industry and we are committed to ensuring that we provide a haven where our guests can experience nurturing touch that is delivered safely and professionally. As an industry, we need to uphold these high standards to help consumers feel safe in our facilities and advocate for governments to allow and even encourage the safe therapies that we have to offer.
3. Think local. I think another advantage that we have on the path to recovery is the strong connection to the local community that is driven through our spas. Most of our spas get more than half of their customers from their local communities. These guests are likely to come back more quickly than the overnight hotel guests. International borders may also need time to trust visitors from abroad, so we anticipate more national travel and “staycations.” If international travel is restricted, we will encourage people to visit the great destinations within their own borders and give them rich experiences that they might have missed in their own backyard.
Now is also a time for collaboration. Almost all destinations and industries are affected by the impact of the pandemic on the economy, so businesses are open to joining forces were possible to bring business back. We can accomplish a lot by working together to promote the benefits of travel, the incredible experiences of our destinations, and the local health and wellness offerings that can help to improve people's lives.