Employee wellbeing is a huge priority in the workplace, shown by companies investing heavily in ergonomic chairs, cycle-to-work schemes and meditation apps. But to what extent are these wellness benefits being extended to our travel programmes? In a post-COVID era, it's more important than ever for global businesses to demonstrate their commitment to employee safety, wellbeing and positive mental health.
As 2021 business travel gathers momentum, your corporate hotel programme deserves a much-needed revamp. Many companies may demand that employees spend dozens of nights away from home each year, yet give little guidance on where business travellers should be staying. Rather than choosing corporate hotels based on budget caps and generic star ratings, shouldn’t we be giving more consideration to traveller wellbeing when curating our content? Kat Holloway, our Hotel Product Manager, investigates the best ways to inject some wellness into your corporate Hotel Programme...
The 'wellness' brands
‘Wellness’ hotels are not a new concept. But it’s only recently that travel managers are seeing the benefits of adding specific Wellness brands into their hotel programmes.
Leading the pack, IHG’s EVEN Hotels have become a staple for many US business travellers. With wellness-savvy staff, in-room fitness training zones and healthier food choices, EVEN Hotels are defying the idea that travel needs to be a disruption to your routine.There are currently 10 hotels in the US, and 10 more global properties in the pipeline.
Accor’s Pullman Hotels & Resorts are known for their upscale stylish decor, and are becoming increasingly popular for their wellness benefits. Pullman hotels feature power fitness zones, video on-demand exercise classes, Power Up menus for optimal nutrition and a global fitness programme to keep workouts fresh.
Hilton are currently launching their newest brand, Tempo. The new chain will put wellness and sustainability front and centre to align with younger travellers keen on mindful and eco-friendly travel. There are 30 US hotels in the pipeline, with the first one set to open mid-2021.
Wellness options on a budget
Are you keen to include a wellness element to your hotel programme, without suffering a hit to your bottom line? Travelodge, Village Hotels and Edyn all offer wellness benefits, but with a very attractive price tag.
Travelodge PLUS sees an investment of £10m into hotels in Brighton, Edinburgh, Gatwick Airport, London and York. Features include the luxurious king-size Travelodge Dreamer bed, blackout curtains, a Bar/Café and the option of a SuperRoom with power showers and Lavazza coffee pod machines.
Village Hotels know what corporate travellers want. All their 31 UK hotels boast top-notch fitness equipment on their spacious gym floor, over 400 fitness classes a month, plus an indoor heated swimming pool, sauna, steam room and whirlpool. 29 of the hotels have their own pub/restaurant, and 19 have their own VWorks co-working spaces – the perfect place to host meetings and grab complimentary coffees. And with lead-in room rates of just £49, what more could business travellers want?
Edyn’s family of brands include Locke and Saco – aparthotels and serviced apartments that offer so much more than a basic hotel room. With over 80,000 apartments in 260 worldwide destinations, Saco offers a range of self-catering studios and apartments for every budget. Within Locke’s design-led aparthotels, there are communal co-working spaces in inspiring surroundings. Locke’s cultural programme includes free yoga sessions and running clubs as a brand standard, in addition to DJ nights, coffee tastings and personal shopping events. At Locke’s new Broken Wharf aparthotel (north bank of the Thames, near Millennium Bridge), studio prices start at just £99 a night!
Exclusive rates with built-in benefits for travellers
SmartSTAY rates are special rates from Corporate Traveller’s preferred hotel partners, offering the best-in-market rate and providing 3 unique benefits for every traveller. These benefits will always include a complimentary breakfast, and may also include:
- A room upgrade
- Late check-out
- Early check-in
- Gym access
- Bonus loyalty points
By adding these rates to your hotel programme, you are automatically alleviating traveller stress whilst maximising wellbeing.
5 tips to add wellness to your hotel programme agenda
1. Create a Hotel Programme and include ‘company preferred’ hotels.
Speak to your Account Manager to ensure that your preferred hotels include wellness benefits.
2. Mandate that travellers book hotels through approved booking channels.
When travellers book through Online Travel Agents, they face the unnecessary stress of changing bookings whenever unexpected events occur. They also won’t collect loyalty points, and will be less likely to receive complimentary benefits. Booking through a centralised point means that your TMC can track and amend all bookings, with minimal disruption.
3. Ensure your Hotel Programme includes hotels with a gym, swimming pool and on-site restaurant.
Additional inclusions like breakfast, late-check out, early check-in and free room upgrades will also help minimise traveller stress.
4. Include self-catering studios/apartments.
Especially for stays of 3+ nights, giving travellers cooking and laundry facilities will make them feel more at home.
5. Include global hotel chains (IHG, Hilton, Accor) and mandate that travellers sign up to earn Rewards Points.
Travellers will start to automatically get perks like free upgrades, welcome drinks and executive lounge access – plus, they can accumulate bonus points and use them for personal stays.