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Brief Published: 7 Feb 2020

Wellness Trends for Hospitality

The rise of wellness sabbaticals, sound therapies and circadian health are among the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) 10 trends for 2020, launched at its New York press day last week (January 28). We spotlight how the Miami-based wellness authority believes these trends will shift the hospitality industry in compelling new directions.

  • Wellness Sabbaticals: GWI chief executive Susie Ellis forecast a new tourism segment, weaving together travel, work and wellness, where weeks-long retreats integrate time and space for work while enabling a mental reset. “Transformation comes from longer experiences, but people have to work,” Ellis said.

    Thai spa resort Kamalaya launched a minimum 21-day wellness sabbatical in 2019, incorporating blocks of time for guests to focus on work or personal projects. Getaways that balance wellness with productivity are likely to attract ambitious but burned-out millennials who are thinking more expansively about self-care.
  • Wellness Music: Sound as an intentional therapy is coming into its own. “Most of us know the profound impact music can have on our mood,” said GWI director of research, Beth McGroarty, but now science is uncovering how music’s structural properties impact the brain and numerous biometrics. McGroarty believes “deep listening” in nature will become a wellness travel watchword, citing Seattle-based tour operator Explorer X’s upcoming trip to a noise-protected Ecuadoran rainforest. See The Brief for more on ‘quiet parks’.

    Acoustic therapies including binaural beats are also set to multiply at wellness destinations. See New Health Brandscapes for more on how medicine is exploring music and other alternative therapies.
  • Circadian Health: Aligning ourselves with light cycles and circadian rhythms will become a central pillar of wellness, with hotels, spas and airlines evolving sleep offerings to sophisticated, light-based circadian solutions. Sleep coaches at NYC’s Equinox Hotel, opened in 2019 (see The Brief), analyse circadian-rhythm states, while hotels including global chain IHG are adopting circadian lighting.

    GWI also spotlighted US-based startup Timeshifter, an app launched in 2018 that provides a personalised plan to fight jet lag. Timeshifter recently partnered with US airline United, giving loyalty members access to the app. See also Unlocking Life’s Rhythms and Selling Cyclical Beauty.