“Big brands in many industries, but specifically in travel, are listening to their customers and realizing that wellness is more important to them,” said Alex Will, chief strategy officer at Calm.
“I think people are just searching for help with sleep and relaxation in general,” Mr. Will said. “It’s just tiring. We have this always-on lifestyle now. It just creates a huge amount of stress and strain on the body.”
“Travel is becoming increasingly more stressful,” Mr. Will said.
The growing awareness that sleep is an important part of staying healthy has increased the interest in technology that can help people fall and stay asleep.
“Broadly speaking, travel and sleep are major-use cases above and beyond our partnership with Novotel,” Mr. Will added. “The thing we hear a lot from our users is if you can’t sleep, it makes everything else feel very hard in day-to-day life.”
Although these initiatives predate the coronavirus pandemic, they are well-positioned to address travelers’ current fears, said Ms. Finkelstein of CBRE.
“Especially with coronavirus and everything that’s happening, you are starting to see people either pull back on travel or be a little more cautious when they travel,” she said.
In-room relaxation offerings, she added, were particularly well-suited to dealing with the worries of fearful guests. “Anything you can do to limit contact with other people but still have some sort of experience related to wellness is especially good in the immediate climate,” Ms. Finkelstein said. “Providing that safe space for relaxation — that’s one immediate way to solve some of these travel-related anxieties.”
Ms. Finkelstein characterized the trend as an offshoot of the digitally enhanced in-room fitness offerings a number of hotel brands have started in recent years and connected it to the rising interest in wellness and self-care. “A lot of these fitness brands have almost a cult following, if you will,” she said. “When people are traveling, what they don’t want is for their routine to get disrupted.”
Amenities promoting sleep also are an extension of the hotel industry’s arms race in bedding goods like mattresses and pillows, said Phil Cordell, senior vice president of new brand development for Hilton Hotels & Resorts. The availability of meditation and sleep guides is the next logical step, he said. “It’s an extension-slash-evolution of how some of the thinking has been over the past few years.”
Hilton is starting a new brand called Tempo that will offer in-room relaxation and sleep content via TV as well as printed literature when its hotels open starting next year. (Construction began earlier this month on the first one in Louisville, Ky.)
Mr. Cordell said that improving “sleep hygiene” was a major goal for the Tempo brand. “We have a million demands on our time when we travel,” he said. “It’s hard for us to disconnect the brain sometimes. Sleep shortfall is one of the biggest challenges we face today.”
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