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Glion Institute of Higher Education launched its new Wellness to Business Executive Education offering with a special event held at Glion wellness-inspired restaurant Fresh on 19 April 2018. Featuring presentations on industry trends and business opportunities, the event drew an audience of directors, general managers and CEOs representing some of the best spas, hotels and wellness brands in Switzerland and France.

Wellness Trends and New Opportunities

Mariana Palmeiro opened the day’s conversation with an overview of the global wellness industry. The Global Wellness Institute estimates that the global wellness economy was worth $3.7 trillion in 2015. Included in this broad economy are areas such as fitness, beauty, wellness tourism, healthy eating, workplace wellness and wellness lifestyle real estate.

The vitality of global wellness tourism, valued at $563 billion in 2015 with North America and Europe leading the way, reveals the opportunities that wellness brings to the hospitality industry.

Despite the diversity of its sectors, what stands out across the wellness industry is its resiliency and potential for high growth. The spa industry, for example, was valued at $99 billion in 2015. In just two years, from 2013 to 2015, the number of direct employees in spa facilities worldwide grew from 1.9 million to over 2.1 million. By 2020, an estimated 2.8 million employees will be needed in spa facilities across the world.

The vitality of global wellness tourism, valued at $563 billion in 2015 with North America and Europe leading the way, reveals the opportunities that wellness brings to the hospitality industry. Among international travelers, a wellness tourist spends 61% more than the average tourist. Among domestic travelers, that difference jumps to 164%. This willingness to pay more reflects the changing priorities of today’s travelers: a 2016 survey by Skift found that over 74% of respondents report a growing interest in wellness-related travel experiences, with the most overall interest in mental health wellness.

Other wellness-related sectors with strong potential for growth include thermal and mineral springs (with Asia and Europe leading the way), workplace wellness and wellness lifestyle real estate — the rise of homes and communities designed to encourage healthy living habits and reduce stress and alienation. Meanwhile, many of these trends resonate with growing demand for experiential luxury among consumers, particularly Millennials.

Developing a healthy lifestyle has become a priority for more consumers, and as Mary Tabacchi, Professor Emerita at Cornell University and Visiting Professor at Glion, illustrated, there is more than one way to achieve mental, physical and social wellbeing. Tabacchi discussed the nine commonly shared habits across the world’s “Blue Zones” — communities, identified by Dan Buettner, where residents typically lead active lives into their 90s. Spanning from Okinawa, Japan to Nicoya, Costa Rica and Sardinia, Italy, these diverse communities share lifestyle habits such as regular physical activity, a mostly plant-based diet, strong family ties and a sense of life purpose, among other traits. Key to enhancing overall wellbeing, these habits may provide a useful roadmap for businesses hoping to provide a better guest experience.

For too long, hotel management has focused on the areas of service, rooms division and food and beverage, with spa and wellness management taking second stage.

As Simone Gibertoni, CEO of Clinique La Prairie. observed, “health” is the new “wealth” for many consumers today. Gibertoni described current trends in the medical spa market and explained how the renowned Swiss clinic aims to surpass even the most demanding guest expectations. Clinique La Prairie offers a highly personalized experience tailored to the needs of each guest and closely monitors client satisfaction — clients who rate a service less than 9 out of 10 are considered unsatisfied by the clinic’s criteria. The clinic works to build a long-term relationship with clients and has opened hubs around the world to enhance this approach. Bringing expertise in both health and wellbeing and the delivery of luxury guest experiences, Clinique La Prairie has partnered with Glion to actively support the new Wellness to Business education offering.

The Importance of Wellness to Business

The relevance of spa and wellness management within hospitality seems clear, but as Palmeiro pointed out, hotel schools have traditionally disregarded wellness. Today’s hotel managers are increasingly interested in this fast-growing field, but many do not have a full understanding of the benefits wellness can bring to business.

One spa manager attending the Wellness to Business launch said, “Thank you very much for this lovely day. I am happy to see that wellness is finally recognized in the hotel industry!” For too long, hotel management has focused on the areas of service, rooms division and food and beverage, with spa and wellness management taking second stage. Glion has already begun to counteract this tendency by introducing spa and wellness management courses within the bachelor’s degree curriculum and by opening Fresh, a health restaurant where students learn to prepare sustainable, locally sourced meals.

With Wellness to Business Executive Education, Glion has developed a unique set of programs designed for the needs of today’s hospitality and wellness business leaders. Featuring courses led by Mariana Palmeiro, Head of Wellness to Business Executive Education, and special guests Mary Tabacchi, Professor Emerita at Cornell University and Visiting Professor at Glion and guest speakers, three types of programs are available at the executive level: Face-to-Face, Digital and Tailored Company Programs.

Face-to-Face Programs

  • Spa and Wellness Business Management: Learnings from Asia – 10 September to 14 September 2018, Bali, Indonesia
  • Innovation and Technology: What Does It Mean for Spa and Wellness? – 22 October to 24 October 2018, Glion Institute of Higher Education, Switzerland

Digital Programs

  • Wellness and Spa Management Certificates – Launching in September, Online

Tailored Company Programs

  • For companies wishing to further develop their top and mid-management teams with a customized training program based on the company’s particular business needs (available upon request)

For more information on Wellness to Business Executive Education, please contact: wellness2business@glion.edu

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Glion Institute of Higher Education
Glion Institute of Higher Education is a private Swiss institution offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees in hospitality, luxury and event management to an international student body across three campuses in Switzerland and London, UK.
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