Article by *Trent Munday, Vice President , STEINER SPA CONSULTING  *

Recently Hyatt Hotels announced that it has acquired Miraval, one the leading destination wellness resorts in the US.

In the official press release from Hyatt, CEO Mark Hoplamazian said “…wellness is an area that is becoming increasingly important to our guests…” and also spoke about Hyatt extending into “…adjacent places beyond traditional hotel stays…”. So basically, what Hyatt seem to be saying is that wellness in hotels and resorts is an important space for them to be in and in buying Miraval they will not only be able to help grow that brand but also enhance the wellness elements in their other hotel brands too. Personally, I can’t help but think that this acquisition is also at least in some way a response to the recent mega mergers between some of Hyatt’s competition.

However, I think this acquisition may just be end up being a boarder play than it appears. It stands to reason that smart hotel brands today are looking for more ways to engage with their guests, not just when they are in the hotel but also when they are not. The more constant the contact with the brand, the stronger the connection and ultimately the more valuable the relationship – to both sides. It is part of the logic behind the strategy of hotels selling their beds, linens and housewares, etc. to guests. Take the experience home with you, is the pitch. The end-result of which is you now have an ongoing connection with the brand.

Miraval is in the wellness business. The spa and wellness industry as we know it today began to develop in the late 1990’s. Admittedly, there were a few health resorts developed a decade or two earlier, but these were the outliers. The widespread introduction of hotel and resort spas started in the mid 1990’s and by the 2000’s was in full swing. And for many spa goers, it was a hotel that first introduced them to the concept of spa and provided their first spa experience. Today, guests have come to expect a spa as a standard facility in any reputable 4 or 5 star hotel.

So where is all this heading?

Well, there’s an interesting thing happening in and around the spa industry. Whereas in the past spas have focused more on either pampering or beauty, these days they are leaning more towards wellness. Instead of just providing a massage or a facial, spas are looking to provide treatments and services that can actually make a real difference to your overall health and well-being. At the same time, as guests become more educated about their own personal health and well-being and the long-term consequences of not taking care of themselves, they are more focused than ever on wanting to live well. Wellness is no longer what you do when you go away to spa resort for 2 weeks a year. Instead, wellness is something that needs to be part of your day to day lifestyle. This trend also ties in with another push we have seen to keep people healthy and well, that of Corporate Wellness.

Ah ha! There it is. Can you see it now?

Wellness is becoming an ongoing, day to day thing. Something people do in their daily lives. Hotels are looking for ways to create ongoing connections with guests, both during their hotel say and after. And…BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!

With the purchase of Miraval, Hyatt is now perfectly positioned to extend their brand into not only the homes but the day to day lives of their guests.

At work, at home, in hotels – live well with Hyatt.

I think I may have just created the next tagline for Hyatt hotels.