It is fair to say that the hospitality industry has had a tough go of it over the last year, especially when it comes to their health and wellness offerings. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced most hotels to close down their spas and gyms in light of social distancing protocols, and though many have turned to online alternatives like do-it-yourself spa treatments and virtual workouts, there’s nothing quite like the real deal.
Now, with vaccines becoming more popular, we are starting to see a light at the end of the tunnel. Hotels are slowly returning to in-person treatments, but caution remains a priority. To protect their guests, many hotels are modifying their services to keep everyone safe and secure as they work on relieving the stress of the past 12 months. Below are some of the protections that hotel guests will be experiencing as they visit spas and wellness centers this spring.
When it comes to hotel spas and wellness centers, it is no longer a “come one, come all” atmosphere. Instead, hotels are limiting the number of people they allow at any given time, with many approving 50% capacity at most. To accomplish this, many have turned to staggered appointments, which are requested and confirmed digitally instead of having customers go to the physical location.
Once appointments are confirmed, guests are now given much more information than they ever were before. Before stepping foot in the spa, they are told about mask requirements, safety protocols, and social distancing measures. The safety of the guests is crucial in the hotel business because if a spa is deemed careless in this regard, the location could lose customers. Because of this, hotels take these precautions seriously, and guests who don’t follow the protocols may not be able to continue their treatment.
Because of smart safety initiatives, many spa treatments have remained intact as they were before, but there are exceptions. In many cases, steam rooms are being kept closed due to the findings that droplets of the virus can stay in the air for up to 15 minutes, and with steam sitting in place, the chance of contracting COVID-19 increases. Hotels that are choosing to keep steam rooms open are employing extreme social distancing, sometimes only allowing a couple of guests in the room at a time.
Hotel Gyms Have Changed
Guests who like to get a workout in the hotel gym will notice cleaner facilities and more flexible workout options than they have seen in the past. While cleanliness was always a factor, the attempts of hotel staff to clean and sanitize workout stations will be more obvious than ever. Some hotels, including the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, have gone the extra mile by giving guests metallic strips that they attach to the apparatus after they are done so a staff member can rush over and clean it immediately.
Like the major chains, hotel gyms are typically requiring masks for everyone in the room, sometimes even when they are actively engaged in exercise. Also, sanitary wipes and hand sanitizer stations are available to the patrons to use whenever they deem necessary. In some cases, items such as yoga mats and blocks, which were typically provided by the hotel, are less common, and instead, hotels asking guests to bring their own equipment.
While guests are welcome to wait their turn to enter the gym, many hotels are offering alternative fitness options. Some hotels that offer fitness classes are now providing the lessons outdoors if space allows promoting improved social distancing. Other locations are offering fitness classes and equipment in the privacy of the guest’s hotel room. This arrangement allows patrons to get the most out of their workouts and yoga activities without having to worry about strangers in the vicinity.
It is safe to say that hotel spa and wellness options have changed drastically since the arrival of COVID-19, especially when it comes to cleanliness and sanitation. Now more than ever, COVID preventive measures that many saw as trivial such as correct handwashing processes and frequent cleaning of commonly touched surfaces, have been brought to the forefront. Hotel management is continuing to make their sanitation efforts obvious and to reduce physical contact whenever possible.
This is a movement that began by offering guests the option for contactless booking and mobile room keys that allow them to enter their room using only their phone instead of a physical card.
As a society, we are seeing that we need to do more to avoid unnecessary contact with surfaces and people, so we reduce the chances of getting sick. As technology evolves, we are seeing new initiatives that are keeping us safer and making spa and wellness centers look more advanced than they have in years. For instance, smart beauty devices can quickly determine the condition of a person’s skin so spa and health resort employees can find and apply the best skin solution with as little contact as necessary.
Many spas are also turning to virtual reality to put guests completely at ease as a simple headset can transport them to another place. Combined with aromatherapy, this experience elevates all five senses and creates a sense of calm for the participant. This is an exercise that the guest can enjoy with limited physical contact with spa workers and can even be enjoyed in the privacy of their own room.
Yes, hotel spas and wellness centers are seeing a change in light of the pandemic, but in the end, all change is for the better. Those who want to be pampered can do so and feel safe and secure in the process.
About the Author
Are Morch provides social media consulting for hotels and resorts. He works closely with hotels to create social media strategies that fit their needs and properties. Through social media, hotel blogging and hotel communities, Are identifies the values that will make your hotel’s performance stand out. He helps hotels build a social media foundation that impacts occupancy and revenue, and makes the social media tasks for your hotel easier.