An Individual Approach

Red Mountain Resort, Ivins, Utah
Red Mountain Resort, Ivins, Utah

Wellness programming that steps outside the bounds of the standard yoga class is growing in popularity and reaching a new audience.

Wellness, as a term—and, increasingly, as a department at club and resort properties—is difficult to define. To make matters more confusing, the definition continues to expand to try to become as all-inclusive as possible, taking into account every facet of health.

For properties that offer spa amenities, the sheer volume of potential wellness opportunities is endless. Offering a post-round massage, cucumber facial and a yoga class are now all necessities; but creating programming that members and guests didn’t even know they wanted can open eyes, turn heads and leave a lasting impression.

Summing It Up
• Wellness amenities should take into account both a property’s identity and the individual needs of members and guests.
• New wellness programming can be developed by identifying successful initiatives and adding a twist.
• Wellness programs that focus on mindfulness are growing in popularity, and can be implemented anywhere.

A New Standard
Each year, Spafinder Wellness 365 rounds up its trend predictions for the coming year with its Top 10 Global Spa & Wellness Trends Forecast. Though some of the concepts aren’t applicable to all club and resort properties, many can be applied, to some degree, nearly everywhere.

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Properties can also begin to develop new programming by observing which current offerings are popular among members and then supplementing them with unusual or unique twists. At Farmington Country Club in Charlottesville, Va., yoga, which now has universal popularity, was enhanced this spring with a Laugha Yoga class, otherwise known as Hasya Yoga, that combines yoga movements with laughter.

Laugha Yoga came about because a Farmington staff member with an interest in continuing education began to gradually incorporate laughter into her yoga classes. She then suggested expanding the concept into a workshop that touted benefits including improved mood, an effective abdominal workout, stress release, and connecting students with their “true selves.”

“A lot of our yoga instructors are very involved in their practice and [want to] expand it and get more people involved,” says Fitness Director Robyn Evans. “So if I have an instructor with talent who wants to put something out there, we try to accommodate that.”

The Cliffs at Glassy is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and uses its setting as inspiration when developing new wellness amenities. “We strive to do what nature does and ‘move’ our members’ minds, bodies and spirits,” says Joan Craig, Health & Fitness Manager.
The Cliffs at Glassy is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and uses its setting as inspiration when developing new wellness amenities. “We strive to do what nature does and ‘move’ our members’ minds, bodies and spirits,” says Joan Craig, Health & Fitness Manager.

The workshop was a one-time event, and if Farmington offers it again, Evans says, it will be marketed differently. “In a country club setting, you’re not anonymous, so getting off the floor and acting silly is not something people are dying to do,” he says. “If we were to do it again, we’d put a different spin on it, taking more of a wellness approach and focusing on mindfulness and positivity, to mask the fact that it’s kind of silly.”

Of course, when members are enthusiastic about a particular program or offering, it can serve as a property’s most effective marketing tool, says Joan Craig, Health & Fitness Manager of The Cliffs at Glassy in Landrum, S.C.

“For new programs, it’s always good to have a few key members on board who can really talk it up,” says Craig.

The Cliffs, which has seven communities in North Carolina and South Carolina, offers stress management services at all of its campuses. These include a relaxation station where members can check their blood pressure and use HeartMath biofeedback software that teaches people how to “turn on” the relaxation response through breathing and positive emotion.

The properties’ Ageless Grace program is a way for members to “exercise in three dimensions,” Craig says, and includes fun challenges like doing a balance exercise while counting backward and skipping certain numbers.

Finding a Niche
In an interview with The New York Times, Sylvia Sepielli, of Sylvia Planning and Design in Sedona, Ariz., advocated using a property’s individual sense of place to cultivate offerings that fit its established personality.

A Dose of Inspiration

Though trends constantly come and go, club and resort properties with spa and fitness amenities can pull elements from trending wellness programs to cultivate unique offerings all their own. Spafinder Wellness 365’s “Top 10 Global Spa & Wellness Forecast” for 2016 offers a host of new ideas for starting points:

  • Surf’s Up! The New Wave of Wellness — Surfing (along with spin-offs like stand-up paddleboarding) is fast becoming one of the world’s hottest wellness travel trends.
  • Sexual Wellbeing: Taboo No More — Meaningful conversations about, and approaches to improve, sexual wellbeing are starting to be addressed as an important part of overall wellness.
  • Temazcal — The ancient Mexican practice of Temazcal is as much a ritual as it is a treatment, with a trained healer (or “Temazcalera”) guiding guests through a process that seeks to cleanse their bodies, minds and spirits.
  • Parenting Well: Serious Spa & Wellness for Kids — Parents are learning that raising healthy children in the 21st century means more than just teaching them to eat their vegetables or look both ways before crossing the street.
  • The Adrenaline & Zen Cocktail: Resetting the Mind & Body — High-adrenaline “rush” experiences—from canyoning to cliff camping to circus schools—are now being paired with deep relaxation techniques (i.e., massage or meditation).
  • Well-Fests: Festivals Shift from Wasted to Wellness — As the music-festival industry expands, a growing number of events are celebrating wellness in addition to, or even in lieu of, music, art and debauchery.
  • On-Demand: Uber-izing Spa & Wellness — App-driven on-demand options are cropping up left and right, offering people access to healthy options wherever, whenever and however they want.
  • Skin Care Gets Seoul-ful: The Korean Beauty Explosion 2.0 — Nature Republic, a major South Korean skin care and cosmetics line, is grabbing the attention of global style-watchers because of its quality, affordability and colorful pop sensibility.
  • Healthy Cruising: The Ship of Excess Has Set Sail — Expect a tsunami of innovation that will eventually replace the “booze and buffet” cruises of today with the “juice and transform” excursions of tomorrow.
  • Workplace Wellness Grows Up — We are moving into a “culture of wellness” and, at more advanced companies, a “culture of purpose.”

“Now hotels, even the chains, are making an effort to not do cookie-cutter things,” Sepielli said. “Having said that, a big caveat of all of this is that you have to have authenticity. Don’t do a ‘barbecue body treatment’ [just] because you are in Texas. There are ways to gently do it.”

For Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, Texas, a family-oriented resort, finding its niche meant taking spa amenities to the kids. Scooops is a dessert-themed space at the property where kids can sit on giant banana-split cones and receive ice cream-inspired manicures, pedicures and organic chocolate facials—the latter of which teaches tweens the importance of keeping skin soft and healthy.

“It’s about having fun, a special treat, and something you don’t normally get to do at home,” says Susie Storey, Director of Communications.

Taking the family wellness trend one step further, Spafinder’s report notes that threats to a child’s development—from smartphone and tablet-screen addiction that can result in headaches, a hunched back, and a sedentary lifestyle, to increasing anxiety and depression among older children—are fueling the trend of focusing on youth wellness. As a result, mindfulness exercises, yoga, cooking classes and lessons on organic and locally sourced foods have also grown in popularity.

Establishing some distance between minds and screens is important for adults, too. Tracey Welsh, General Manager of Red Mountain Resort in Ivins, Utah, predicts that wellness professionals will continue to gear programming toward meditative practices.

“I believe we will see more emphasis on meditation and stress reduction, as our lives become more complex due to the constant interruptions and distractions caused by our digital world,” says Welsh. “Individuals need tools to be able to quiet the mind and give themselves permission to rest and recharge.”

To nourish the body as well as the mind, Red Mountain Resort uses metabolic testing to develop nutrition plans for guests. The tests take into account family history, lifestyle and current and past health, to accommodate each person’s unique body, says Welsh.

Specifically, the resort advocates learning to eat “mindfully with intention”—an approach that “challenges a person to listen to their body cues, and to be certain they are eating for hunger and not because of stress or to reduce boredom,” Welsh says

Scooops at Great Wolf Lodge, a family-oriented resort in Grapevine, Texas, is a dessert-themed spa that focuses on kids, providing manicures, pedicures, and organic chocolate facials.
Scooops at Great Wolf Lodge, a family-oriented resort in Grapevine, Texas, is a dessert-themed spa that focuses on kids, providing manicures, pedicures, and organic chocolate facials.

“Overall, we emphasize moderation and that there are no ‘bad’ foods that should cause guilt,” she continues. “Proper nutrition should be part of a lifestyle involving quality food, physical movement and joy, and not [one based on] a series of diets.”

Of course, Spafinder’s forecast, and the trends that catch on, are constantly in flux. A personalized focus, contends Joan Craig of The Cliffs at Glassy, will always be the best bet.

“There’s always a new product or gadget, and these days there is so much fitness advice on YouTube,” she says. “Professionals want to go deeper in their knowledge of anatomy and movement, to learn how to really help people create balance in their bodies.

“As a professional, I have to offer much deeper knowledge and personalized attention,” she adds. “YouTube can’t see my clients and tell them how to better meet their needs.”