Hotels need seamless integration to get wellness right: Sonal Uberoi [Video]
Hotel owners should invest wisely to have wellness reflected flawlessly right from concept to execution and management, says Sonal Uberoi, Founder & Wellness Director at Spa Balance Consulting.
Wellness is a $4.2 trillion global industry. Spas make $99 billion annually around the world; and spas can make between 2 and 20% of a hotel’s total revenue.
Nearly all four to five-star hotels need to have a spa facility, and owners need to spend at least $2,000 per square meter to build spas. So, they might as well spend it intelligently and wisely, says Sonal Uberoi, Founder & Wellness Director at Spa Balance Consulting.
On the sidelines of TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona, Sonal spoke exclusively to TOPHOTELNEWS about why disconnected wellness concepts in hotels are her pet peeve, and how to fix the underlying issues.
The origin story: wellness a way of life
Sonal: I’ve always been into wellness. Now, wellness is a widely used word but I got into it, when I was 15 years old. I enjoyed looking after myself, eating healthily, working out and massages. This is what I loved to do, but my parents felt spas, wellness management and hospitality weren’t exactly a solid career choice.
So, I read law; didn’t enjoy law. But then I got into Goldman Sachs, into the investment banking world, and I did enjoy it. Numbers come very easily to me. But I decided there is more out there. So, I decided to leave it all and I moved to Spain, where I got hired by Reebok’s in Madrid to help them with their health club operations and their new spas. Six Senses eventually called me to look after and set up their spa in Doha, which was the biggest spa in their portfolio and also in the Middle East. From there, I’ve been evolving and around 12 years ago, I founded Spa Balance Consulting based in Madrid and working on an international basis.
Who does wellness the best in the hotel industry?
Sonal: I think Six Senses has got it right. They were doing spas and wellness 15 years ago and doing it very, very well. They even rebranded themselves according to their spa brand. So wellness is clearly a priority for them. Whatever projects they do: be it in Asia or in the Americas, their properties all have this underlying wellness concept.
Pet peeve about wellness in hotels
Sonal: We can’t have disconnected wellness concepts. You can’t invest insane amounts of money in developing what seems a solid wellness concept, then when it comes to execution and implementation, find F&B, fitness, rooms and everyone doing their own thing — totally disengaged. In the end, the consumer will feel they did not have a good wellness experience. Owners are then frustrated and so are hoteliers.
Integration is key. Wellness is everywhere: in F&B, spas, fitness, rooms and architecture. So, it is important that there is seamless integration right from concept to execution and management.
Thoughts on TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR
Sonal: It’s my first time, and I think it’s fabulous, I have never been to such an event that’s so well organized. In a very short space of time, among a select crowd, you get to know everyone. Most times you go to an event and don’t get to know anyone. You sit and you’re thinking: “Oh, should I say hello to this person? Should I give my business card?” And here we’ve had a chance to meet every single person and also our sponsors. They’re very valuable contacts, which will lead to future collaboration.
Sonal Uberoi was a delegate at TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR Barcelona 2019. To attend, address or sponsor our boutique hospitality networking events around the world, contact TOPHOTELPROJECTS Head of Global Events & Conferences Kayley van der Velde.
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The TOPHOTELWORLDTOUR is a series of one-day conferences around the world for hospitality leaders.
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