Even if you have a small boutique inn and think you’re maxed out on space, there are still ways to deliver on wellness experiences for your guests. Likely, your property is already differentiating itself from larger properties by using intimacy to your advantage. This same intimacy can be applied toward creating mindful guest experiences on your property or off-site, through partnerships with local wellness focused businesses or locally sourced products.
Off Property Wellness
Wellness experiences don’t necessarily have to take place on-site. Consider forming partnerships with outside companies. You can start by identifying 3-4 unique local activities across general categories, for example:
If your property doesn’t have room for a full-service spa, you may be able to partner with a local spa in the area. Can they offer a signature experience, only available to your guests? Maybe they could provide transportation. Go a step further and develop branded materials for this partnership. Think: in room cards or lobby messaging highlighting the spa, exclusive offers to hotel guests and any other details.
Fitness & Yoga
Go beyond suggesting Class Pass and work one-on-one with local fitness or yoga facilities, similar to what you might do with a spa partnership. Perhaps it’s a yoga studio that offers aerial or TRX training, or even a sound-bathing or meditation class. Start the journey of crafting guest programming by developing relationships with proprietors of small, locally owned studios with high customer reviews and ratings.
You also can get out of buildings entirely and connect your guests to nature. This could be partnering with a paddle boarding outfit, a yoga studio that offers outdoor sunrise yoga, a local bike rental shop or a company that leads guided hikes. Positioning your property as one that’s connected to the community and nature shows that you’re interested in the whole guest experience and not just where they lay their heads. Rancho Margot, in Costa Rica, partners with a local kayaking outfit that picks up guests for kayaking in Lake Arenal, at the base of the Arenal Volcano. Another, simple option is to find a nearby weekend farmers market and suggest that guests take an hour to visit and stop by your favorite booth. You can also point out your favorite parks or outdoor spots for them to check out along the way, reinforcing that the journey is part of the destination!
Demonstrations & Classes
Partnering with a local health-focused restaurant is more than just providing guests with a dining recommendation. A partnership could include a cooking demonstration or a special tasting menu just for your guests. For example, Roy’s offers seasonal 4-course cooking demonstrations for small groups at outposts around the U.S. In Atlanta, the locally owned boutique kitchen gallery, The Cooks Warehouse, holds cooking experiences that hotel guests could easily enjoy. A little online research could help you find local options.
On Property Wellness
Sometimes wellness needs to stay in! There are many things you can do to dial-up wellness for guests on your property.
Personal Trainer Fitness Instruction
Consider bringing a personal trainer in to offer individual or small group classes during peak occupancy days. These could be in the courtyard, in your fitness center if you have one, or even in guest rooms. As a boutique with more control, you could suggest the trainer help market the class (and thus your hotel) by bringing in his or her own clients to participate. This could be a win-win for both the trainer and your hotel – bringing in locals and adding life and excitement to the class for guests who participate.
Do you have a scenic location (or even a great courtyard or rooftop)? Consider mini morning outdoor yoga sessions. Or, take it to the next level and host a less known fitness program that many guests will see as unique such as sunrise meditation, sound-bathing or even group high intensity training with stations around the hotel. Offer these sessions at no charge for guests and to locals for a small fee. Couple them with F&B incentives for unique, local packages that drive volume.
Meditation or Massage
Introducing them to meditation and massage is a memorable way to bring wellness to guests. And, if you have a pool, Watsu, a form of aquatic guided therapy where the therapist gently cradles and massages the patient in a warm water pool, might be the way to go. Reiki is another form of meditative massage in which a practitioner creates energy and healing through touch.
These practices, along with traditional massage therapies, can personalizes guest wellness experiences. If you don’t have an on-site massage therapist, consider using a service such as Soothe or Zeel to provide licensed, vetted massage therapists that come to guests in your hotel. Zeel offers a membership package with discounts that you can pass along to guests, while Soothe offers a hotel-specific B2B vertical for a fairly seamless setup process.
Cooking Classes or Happy Hour
Just as you may partner with a restaurant, consider partnering with a chef to bring cooking classes or nutrition awareness to guests on-site. These demonstrations can be as simple as hosting a smoothie or juice bar get together. Or, offer a full demonstration of ways to incorporate fresh healthy ingredients into easy everyday recipes.
So, is it time to ask yourself how well is your boutique? Whether you offer off property experiences or develop programming on-site, providing guests with wellness options will help you stand out among the rest of the pack.
Adam Glickman is the principal of Parallax Hospitality, a trusted partner in bringing memorable hospitality brand concepts to life. With over 20 years in the hospitality industry, he has a passion for creating premium, distinctive and wellness-forward brand concepts and helping non-hospitality companies navigate the complexities of the hotel industry to form partnerships and grow.