March 5, 2024

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Emlyn Brown predicts crucial wellness travel trends for 2024

4 min read

Athlete-inspired wellness, social wellbeing and active nutrition are three of the hottest trends set to shape the wellness sector in 2024, according to Emlyn Brown, Accor’s global senior vice president of wellbeing strategy, design and development.

Brown says it’s widely acknowledged among the global hospitality industry that a fundamental societal shift has taken place over the past few years. What was once called the ‘wellness trend’ has taken root as consumers and travellers worldwide are making long-term commitments toward their health and wellbeing.

As hotels and resorts adapt to these evolving guest preferences, Brown has shared a selection of trends he anticipates will come to the fore in wellness in 2024.

Social wellbeing

Brown believes the hospitality industry will see a significant shift towards social wellbeing in 2024. He feels travellers are seeking more ‘we’ based activities that foster connections and promote collective wellness.

From communal wellness projects to group-based activities like social bathing, hotels will embrace this trend to offer guests a sense of community and shared wellness.

“The concept of ‘we over me’ is at the forefront,” he said. “Younger demographics, especially, are seeking out opportunities for communal bathing experiences and water-based therapies – areas in which Accor hotels bring an expertise.”

Athlete-inspired wellnessHotels and spa facilities are already responding to the growing demand for comprehensive sports recovery experiences and Brown believes this trend will gain even more momentum in 2024.

In his opinion, today’s guests are no longer content with indulging in traditional spa treatments alone. Instead, they seek to emulate the regimens of professional athletes by incorporating cutting-edge recovery practices into their wellness routines.

Brown said: “It’s quite common for luxury guests to arrive equipped like professional athletes nowadays, with sophisticated gear and loaded with their own health data on wearable tech devices.

“They want to train, eat, nourish, hydrate, recover and rest.

“Accor is exploring innovative ways to sync and connect with these guests to create bespoke wellness experiences that integrate spa, nutrition, fitness and sleep experiences.

“Our rest, recovery and rejuvenation treatments must be on par with our guests’ highest levels of performance.”

Active nutrition

In line with the new emphasis on fitness and recovery in wellness, hotels are prioritising and focusing more on providing outstanding nutritional cuisine. Expected to boom in 2024, this shift is driven by growing awareness among guests about the importance of food sensitivities and maintaining a balanced diet.

“Nutrition is the cornerstone of wellness,” stated Brown. “Diet-diverse menus are good for our guests, good for Accor and good for the planet.”

Optimising sleep for wellbeingSleep has been a consumer priority since the pandemic and Brown predicts the momentum behind the trend is only going to build in 2024.

“At Accor, we want to own sleep and be the best at creating sleep environments, it’s all about creating an entire wellbeing experience that will contribute to a solid night’s rest.

“Sleep is the biggest opportunity for us as a hotel company.”

Now, guestrooms are being updated to address common sleep disruptors such as electromagnetic waves, unconducive bedding and noise, creating environments optimised for rest and rejuvenation.

Ageing well

With the global market for wellness tourism expected to surpass US$1 trillion in 2024 (GWI), hotels are increasingly trying to play a role in helping guests age gracefully by fusing technology with traditional wellness practices.

Services such as infrared saunas, IV therapy and technologically advanced treatments for face and body care are expected to become mainstream in 2024, along with nonsurgical aesthetic procedures, such as microneedling, lasers and oxygen jets.

“The interface of technology and spa is very exciting, creating more effective, personalised results that truly move the dial on people’s health and wellness,” adds Brown.

“The advances in medi-tech are incredible. I truly believe wellness technology will help people live better for longer – a wonderful goal to work towards.”

Mindfulness enhanced by technology“If we can teach or remind our guests to breathe well, we’re going to make a significant impact in their lives.

“The power of breath is a concept that our hotels are eager to explore further in unique, brand-authentic ways,” said Brown.

According to Booking.com research, ‘meditation and mindfulness trips are ever popular’ among 44 per cent of global travellers, while 42 per cent ‘are keen to go on a health hiatus that focuses on mental health, transformative health or that helps with life milestones such as menopause or pregnancy’.

Brown and Accor expect this trend to continue in 2024, as the hotel environment is natural and ideal for supporting mental health and wellbeing – providing relaxation and time to oneself.

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