Home Health & Wellness New Study Reveals Key Motivators and Barriers for Wellness Hotel Customers

New Study Reveals Key Motivators and Barriers for Wellness Hotel Customers

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A recent study published in the International Journal of Hospitality Management has shed light on the motivations and constraints influencing customers’ decisions to stay at wellness hotels in North America. The research, conducted by Oscar Hengxuan Chi and colleagues, explores the factors that drive customers to choose wellness hotels, as well as the barriers that may prevent them from doing so.

The wellness hotel market has experienced significant growth in recent years, driven by an increasing consumer focus on health and well-being. This trend has been further accelerated by the Covid pandemic, which has heightened awareness of the importance of physical and mental health. Despite this growth, there has been limited understanding of the specific motivations and constraints affecting wellness hotel customers, prompting the need for this comprehensive study.

The study utilised a mixed-method, multi-study design to examine the various factors influencing customer decisions. In the first phase, a measurement scale was developed and validated to identify and assess the motivators and inhibitors related to staying at wellness hotels. This involved surveys of 951 participants to ensure a robust and reliable scale.

The research identified six key motivators that drive customers to choose wellness hotels: wellness seeking, knowledge seeking, prestige seeking, social influence, escapism seeking, and relatedness seeking. These motivators align with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, highlighting the importance of self-improvement, social connections, and mental and physical well-being.

Conversely, the study also identified two significant constraints that may deter customers from staying at wellness hotels: perceived value for money and incongruence between the type of trip and the type of hotel. These constraints underscore the practical considerations that influence consumer decisions, such as budget and the alignment of hotel services with travel purposes.

One of the key contributions of the study is the segmentation of wellness hotel customers based on their motivations. The researchers conducted a cluster analysis, which revealed four distinct segments: socially aspirational wellness seekers, holistic wellness seekers, budget-minded wellness seekers, and discretionary wellness seekers.

  • Socially aspirational wellness seekers are motivated by social acceptance and recognition. They seek prestige through interactions with like-minded individuals and are willing to invest significantly in their well-being.
  • Holistic wellness seekers prioritise all-around wellness, focusing on mental and physical relaxation. They value services that promote inner peace and are less sensitive to price.
  • Budget-minded wellness seekers are cost-conscious and seek affordable wellness options. They may compromise on certain amenities to stay within their budget.
  • Discretionary wellness seekers view wellness services as an added value rather than a primary focus. These customers often have diverse travel objectives and appreciate the convenience of wellness amenities that enhance their overall travel experience.

The findings of this study have significant implications for the wellness hotel industry. By understanding the specific motivations and constraints of different customer segments, hotel operators can tailor their offerings to better meet the needs of their target audiences. This could involve developing specialised wellness programmes, enhancing marketing strategies, and optimising resource allocation to maximise customer satisfaction and loyalty.

For instance, hotels targeting socially aspirational wellness seekers might focus on offering exclusive wellness experiences and networking opportunities. In contrast, those aiming to attract budget-minded wellness seekers could emphasise the value and affordability of their services.

The study highlights the importance of addressing the identified constraints. Hotels can improve their value proposition by offering competitive pricing and ensuring that their wellness services align with the diverse purposes of their guests’ trips.

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