November 2018 – Edition 8


Many members of the global elite – prominent investors and business leaders – are in denial about the de-globalisation risk. They’re failing to take notice of a consensus building around the world (not only at the extremes of right and left, but also in Trump’s America) about the necessity to implement a ‘patriotic’ or ‘nationalistic’ economic agenda.

The desire to retrench and keep capital, jobs and various intangibles like intellectual property at home is gaining strength globally.
How will this affect the wellness industry? The answer depends on which particular segment is concerned. For example, a US wellness tech solution, with components produced in China, won’t be affected in the same manner as an international hospitality brand. But two factors predominate: 1) it will become increasingly difficult and costly to operate abroad – friction and transaction costs will generally increase; 2) many optimistic assumptions and forecasts made by the wellness industry will prove to be wishful thinking. (For example, that revenues can be expected to increase at twice the rate of GDP growth.)

“It will become increasingly difficult and costly to operate abroad”

Ultra high-end wellness tourists, in particular, will spend less time abroad, echoing what happened three to four years ago when Russian oligarchs were warned that holidaying abroad was ‘unpatriotic’. Think high-end ‘staycation’ and domestic wellness!

Thierry Malleret, Managing partner Well Intelligence


Partnerships and acquisitions have become a significant trend related to wellness activity within the hospitality sector. Hyatt has become a more significant force in the wellness hospitality market through its acquisition of the Miraval Group and Exhale in 2017. Hyatt’s commitment to the continued integration of wellness within its brand was endorsed recently by the appointment of a Global Senior Vice President to lead global wellness potential for the group. Both Miraval and the Exhale brands are now featured as part of the World of Hyatt loyalty programming offer.

“external partnerships can also add value, provide new services or enhance the core brand to meet changing customer demand”

External partnerships can also add value, provide new services or enhance the core brand to meet changing customer demand. Beyond the hotel sector, activewear brand Lululemon has recently partnered with social fitness network Strava to create a ‘Ghost Race’ – a series of virtual 8k races in a dozen cities across the US and Canada. The lesson: that the use of technology to bridge equality gaps and further social community growth is a potent and democratic way to proliferate the wellbeing message.

Whilst the ‘boom’ of wellness is difficult to deny, there’s a continued backlash from media and some influencers who see wellness services as being exclusive and elitist. Hotel companies who bring a variety of entry level brands within their mother ship have an opportunity to dispel this perception to their own and user advantage. The tighter knit and more purposed the community, the greater chance of a ‘love brand’ emerging.

Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence


Over-tourism is a hot topic, which both countries and cities around the world are attempting to tackle with measures to protect society infrastructure and the sustainability of their core cultures.

Amsterdam is a good example of a city that has taken serious steps to protect both local residents as well as the quality of the tourist experience. In January 2017 the local government introduced an ‘overnight policy’ that meant a ban on all new hotel development in their central (zone 1) district and limited authorisation for the rest of the city. Year round occupancy of Amsterdam hotels is between 85-90%, with average daily room rates soaring due to under supply.
This is driving up the value of property and providing fertile ground for Airbnb business – although there are plans to reduce the permitted rental period of Airbnb properties from 60 to 30 days.

“what remains a notable gap in the Netherlands tourism market is the provision of wellness related products for foreign visitors”

The weight of tourism numbers in Amsterdam is expected to exceed 18 million this year, set against a population of just 900,000. Some new hotels and additional rooms are still coming online as they were authorised ahead of the ban, but now occupancies in other Dutch cities are starting to increase – Rotterdam tourist numbers increased 18% in the first five months of 2018.

What remains a notable gap in the Netherlands tourism market is the provision of wellness related products for foreign visitors. The Dutch plan to distribute tourism numbers more evenly seems to be working; the overlay of a wellness tourism strategy could diversify the established product further. This creates more of an antidote to the high city numbers and a win-win-win for public and private sector as well as locals.

Anni Hood, Managing partner Well Intelligence

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