EVEN Hotels Is Reinventing Wellness Travel
At EVEN Hotels, health and wellness aren’t treated simply as amenities, they’re the primary focus.
The innovative brand is committed to providing guests with an all-encompassing wellness experience—the type of experience once reserved for high-end spas and resorts—in a much more accessible form.
“For us, that’s who we built this brand experience around, those people who need wellness travel because wellness is a way of life,” said Raul Ortiz, Vice President of Brand Marketing for EVEN Hotels. “The vision for EVEN hotels is to make wellness travel ubiquitous. It's to put wellness travel on the major street corners in America where you would see any normal hotel. That's when we'll know we will have succeeded with this idea.”
The first EVEN Hotel opened in Norwalk, Connecticut in 2014. Now, there are 16 EVEN properties across the United States, and there are plans in the works to nearly double that number in the near future.
Pre-pandemic, wellness tourism was thriving and projected to post a global annual growth rate of 7.5% until 2022. It’s hard to say what change COVID-19 will have on those numbers, but the pandemic appears to have had a significant impact on the attention paid to overall wellness. In a global survey by Lululemon, 51% of respondents expect to increase their focus on physical wellbeing over the next year and 48% plan to focus on their mental wellbeing. Wellness travel could be a big part of this focus, and according to the Global Wellness Summit, “the year 2021 may be the year that all travel becomes wellness travel.”
“We’ve woven wellness throughout the entire experience,” explained Ortiz. “It’s really part of the brand DNA, so that all of our guests can maintain their routines on the road. We need to enable this sense of normalcy.”
The mission of EVEN Hotels is built around four pillars, which serve as aspirational guidelines to healthy living in general.
- Keep Active: Yoga mats, bands and on-demand workout classes provide in-room workout options. Large Athletic Studios are equipped with best-in-class fitness equipment that mixes cardio with strength training options.
- Eat Well: The Cork and Kale Market & Bar in every EVEN Hotel offers healthy food options and grab-and-go availability 24/7.
- Rest Easy: Restful sleep is essential to overall health. Rooms include adjustable LED lighting, premium bedding and breathable performance fabric sheets. There’s even a nighttime herbal tea service.
- Accomplish More: Ample workspaces and free Wi-Fi are good for the work traveler. To ensure that guests remain hydrated during their stay, EVEN provides reusable water bottles to fill with filtered and infused water in the lobby.
Fitness Is Much More Than a Minor Consideration
Not that long ago, the hotel industry paid little attention to fitness centers. They were an amenity often relegated to a small room outfitted with a smattering of equipment. But that has changed, and EVEN Hotels is well aware of the shift.
“(A fitness center has) been seen as something that you have to do, not something that you want to win with,” said Ortiz. “We challenged that convention. We said, ‘what if you leverage some of these wellness benefits, what if you leverage some of these fitness amenities and use that as your basis to win in the marketplace?’ It has paid off in spades. This segment is not niche. Gone are the days where you can get by with just a 250-square-foot fitness center.”
The numbers bear that out. Fitness on the Fly, a survey conducted by Life Fitness of nearly 500 travelers at O’Hare International Airport showed that almost 80% say they use a hotel fitness facility while traveling. And, the main reason travelers don’t use a hotel fitness center is lack of equipment variety. EVEN has variety covered in their large Athletic Studios.
“We’re a little different in how we outfit our athletic studios,” added Ortiz. “What we do is build a best of the best. So, when we looked at Life Fitness, it was clearly one of the brands that rose to the top of our list. As a brand that was just starting out five years ago it was important for us to align ourselves with a strong (fitness) brand to gain credibility with this industry and this consumer who does know Life Fitness.”