With the latest trend in Tourism: “Wellness Tourism,” comes with new challenges and to stay on top of the pile, one needs to revisit the methodologies of management. Of course the old way will continue to work but perhaps not as well as it used to! The secret of success in this as well as any new venture lies in doing an objective introspection of the status quo and rethink the formulas of sound operation. Many resort operators keep abreast of what is happening in the world of their activities and many will or have jumped on that bandwagon of Wellness destinations. In a nutshell a Wellness destination whether it is a resort, hotel or even an entire country, is a place where in addition to any other reason to go there, there will be a driving motivation factor which is simply an opportunity to combine an improvement of one’s health during their stay. Indeed the tourism professional who judiciously monitor the desires and interests of their clientele have discovered for quite some time now that most people going on vacation are no longer satisfy to tan and frolic in water but aspire at taking that free time from their professional activities to improve themselves whether it be intellectually or as in this case improve their health and well being. In other words combine the traditional reasons for traveling outside of their own environment such as sightseeing, discovery of different cultures, tasting new foods and drinks etc. with activities that will improve their lifestyle and now specifically improve their wellbeing.
To offer to this clientele room and board, the amenities of a spa, fitness center and other recreational activities will no longer be enough. It is in the packaging of these activities that will be found the difference, starting with identifying clearly the target (the specific market) that one wants to reach. With a few exceptions such as mega poles where one can find just about every type of activities under one humongous roof, it is necessary to pinpoint a niche market in order to serve it well. It is extremely difficult and extraordinarily expensive to try to serve different clienteles. In a mythical world everyone gets along well, in the real world there are certain groups that just do not fit with others! Everyone loves their children, but not necessarily other people’s children and those who do not have them will choose a childless resort to enjoy adult centered activities and just the quiet time by the pool. Golfers love to be fully immersed in golf and probably would not be ecstatic at sharing their vacation time with Yoga addicts and they, would most likely not be interested by the difficulties of hole number 5! Simply put resorts need to decide which market they want to attract and construct their mission statement to satisfy the aspirations of that segment of clientele. A resort is not a supermarket but a specialty store.
Next, one needs to understand clearly that due to technological advances, people do not think the same way today as they did in the very recent past. They want results that are visible but at the same time they want everything to be made available easily! They do not want to make an effort to find something they want that something to be presented to them on a silver platter This approach to service is not new but until now was only found in Club Med or Full all-inclusive resorts and on cruise ships. So, it is not necessary to reinvent the wheel, but simply to adapt it and improve it. How?
Start with fine tuning your marketing. As soon as you have identified your target concentrate your promotional efforts to that segment. Your advertising and marketing efforts will be more productive than if you spread yourself thin. In your promotional material concentrate on what makes your resort different from others, avoid the platitude of showing a beautiful woman on a massage table with a bunch of stones on her back, or a photo of a couple dining at sunset on the beach (which is not available anyway!) All of your competitors do this and the client is bored by these images! Think out of the box!
The overall management of the resorts of the future will use some of the techniques practiced by cruise lines: simplify, and make all services available readily. Package the activities by affinity, explain clearly how they are done, and hold the client by the hand, they want to be driven, babied, assisted. I ran a program in the French Alps in the winters for many years which was extremely successful based on these principles and I sold it with the title: Take an Alpine cruise on the “SS Meribel” which was the name of the ski resort! When they arrived at the resort they were housed in chalets that had their own operational staff with cook, chalet girls who cleaned served, gave massages, made drinks and even took them skiing. The staff took out of the vacation all nuisances such as having to queue to get a ski pass, book a table at a restaurant, and find the right ski instructor or the best place to rent skis. In other words make available a full service concierge. This principle can be applied easily to any resort environment.