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9 Alternative Approaches to Wellbeing in Hospitality & Tourism

A deluge of wellness articles has popped up on my feed recently, including one entitled “Everybody has Woken Up”, a roundup of retreats and spas from around the world. There’s no question that this pandemic has brought our wellbeing into full focus the last few years. And in between hectic meetings and frazzled school pickups, we spend our few free moments searching for something that will help us feel better.

More often than not, we resort to some sort of coping mechanism. Some healthy (taking a bubble bath, screaming in the car) and some not-so-healthy (spending money on things we don’t need, drugs). We develop these coping mechanisms instead of creating a world that is conducive to wellbeing.

The old way of travel was often like a small band-aid for a bigger problem. A coping mechanism. We abandon our chaotic lives for a few days, we feel great while we’re gone, but we almost always return to the chaos. Eventually, all the stressors of everyday life catch up to us and we go back to our usual coping mechanisms. We see this in the recreational and diversionary modes of travel.

What if instead of creating experiences that help people feel good in the fleeting moment, we create experiences that help people flourish? This is what wellbeing is really about. This is what the articles on travel and wellness rarely address: the ripple effect our experiences have on us. This is where we start getting into experiential, experimental, and existential travel.

Typical retreats and experiences usually focus on mindfulness, meditation, bodywork, and other traditional modalities. They’re all important, but there is no ONE path to wellness & wellbeing. The more our industry can realize this, the more we can create experiences that appeal to people no matter their interests and no matter where they are in their healing journey.

Every single experience has the potential to nurture your guests. Discovering your unique brand of wellbeing is vital for success. It doesn’t matter what sort of experience or property you operate – if you’re not taking into consideration the emotional wellbeing of your guests, you’re ignoring one of their biggest core needs.

In order to create an experience that caters to wellbeing, you must first understand what is causing the discomfort and pain in people’s lives. The brand archetypes can help us with this. Archetypes are essentially different types of persona identities that both people and brands embody. They are rooted in centuries of psychological research and represent the range of human behavior, including but not limited to desires, motivations, values, personality traits, strengths & weaknesses.

Each archetype aims to address a real problem in today’s world, such as chaos, ignorance, restriction, hatred… we saw instances of many of these damaging forces over the last two years. Each one takes a massive toll on people’s wellbeing and eventually their physical health. Which archetype(s) aligns with your greater purpose and promise to your guests?

The Innocent Archetype understands that people feel dis-ease when they are stuck in an environment of chaos and unrest. This hospitality & travel brand aims to create a peaceful experience full of wonder. It constructs moments designed to restore optimism & hope for guests.

The Explorer Archetype realizes that monotony and restriction can be destructive to people’s lives. This archetype wishes to rid its guests of their stagnation and help them feel inspired and alive again. It guides guests to push boundaries and rediscover a sense of freedom.

The Joyful Archetype sees how loneliness and disconnection negatively impacts society. Hospitality & tourism brands that embody this archetype have a real gift for the art of gathering. They bring people together with laughter, ease, and a fun-loving spirit.

The Creative Archetype recognizes a world without imagination is a world in trouble. This archetype creates a safe space for people to plug into inspired self-expression and exploration. It helps guests rediscover and pursue their sense of passion and originality.

The Sage Archetype knows that society struggles when ignorance and deceit prevail. The Sage brand goes to great lengths to create an experience people can explore many different perspectives and seek wisdom. It creates intellectual and reflective moments for truthseekers.

The Rebel Archetype identifies complacency and conformity as the greatest threat to the collective wellbeing. The Rebel thrives off making waves and encourages guests to shake things up. It aims to catalyze change for its guests by pushing boundaries & disrupting the norm.

The Genuine Archetype views inauthenticity as a damaging force obstructing people from living in harmony. This archetype is driven to help people who are struggling with their sense of self or battling their ego. It guides guests to help them recalibrate to their own authenticity.

The Romantic Archetype understands that hatred and ugliness are the greatest destroyers in this world. Romantic brands wish to bring more compassion, intimacy, and beauty to all. They create ultra-sensorial experiences to reignite a greater sense of love in their guests.

The Spellbound sees a lack of purpose and big dreams as a broken civilization. This archetype awakens something within people with the help of enchantment and even miracles. It opens people’s eyes to the magic in the world and within themselves.

So, when the leading experts in the industry say “people are tired of regular spas” consider the fact that maybe a massage or yoga session isn’t what your guests need right now. Maybe it’s something a bit deeper. After all, traveling is an act of discovery and expansion. The new perspectives we gain, the things we learn, those are the real things that shift the trajectory of our lives. Those are the experiences that lead to personal enrichment and some level of transformation.

Challenge your team this year to consider the ripple effect each experience potentially holds. Start looking for opportunities to expand your guests’ wellbeing, harmony, and happiness in non-traditional wellness moments. These moments rarely happen in confined structures and rigid programs, but when guests are challenged, their curiosity engaged, and their eyes wide open out in the real world.

If you haven't had a chance to watch my free training on wellbeing, here's your chance! Pencil an hour of free time into your calendar and dive in. Or, request a free consultation and we can explore how you can begin to integrate wellbeing into your property or experience.


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