Global Wellness Day: Why hotels should be involved!
Ms. Hoheb Spas, Health, & Fitness
An Interview with Belgin Aksoy, Founder, Global Wellness Day
By Camille Hoheb, Managing Director, Wellness Tourism Worldwide
A hotel’s vitality hinges on the guest experience. Out of all the business trends, none is more powerful than the growing wellness movement. Wellness is everywhere. This is especially true in tourism, with healthy amenities at airports, airlines and lodging. Healthy hotel brands are leading the way and other properties are following suite. Hotels deliver healthy options related to physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, environmental and social wellbeing. This article is part 1 of a 2-part series on Global Wellness Day (GWD). GWD is an international, noncommercial initiative aimed at improving wellbeing across the world.
Founded by Belgin Aksoy, Global Wellness Day was born in Richmond Nua Wellness Spa in Turkey. Today 100+ hotels and spas worldwide celebrate this international day of observance. There are 3,000 properties & locations in 100 countries organizing GWD celebrations.
Global Wellness Day creates a focus on healthier lifestyle choices and the importance of living well. “We’ve honored almost everything which is valuable to us with a special day, so why not have one that’s dedicated to the universally accepted importance of wellness?” says Belgin Aksoy.
Below is an exclusive interview with Belgin Aksoy:
Belgin Aksoy (BA) – The following hotels confirmed participation in Global Wellness Day: Constance Hotels and Resorts, ROYAT, Talise Spa (group of Jumeriah Hotels & Resorts), LUX Hotels & Resorts Group, GRACE Hotels of America, GOCO Spas & GOCO Retreats, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, SIX SENSES, Marriott Spas, Thalasso & Spa Serge Blanco, St. Regis Punta Mita Resort, SENSE SPA, Kurotel, Divani Apollon Palace, Best Alpine Wellness Hotels, WTS International, HILTON Group, Red Door Spas, OBEROI Spas, Chuan Spas, Shangri-la Bosphorus Istanbul, and Swiss Hotel to name a few.
Camille Hoheb (CH) – Which hotel chains have joined Global Wellness Day initiative?
CH – What are some “success stories” of GWD?
BA – There are several. Government entities understand the importance of wellness. GWD has the support from government agencies around the world including:
- GWD Thailand is supported by the Tourism Authority of Thailand, Bangkok Metropolitan Authority and the Thai Spa Association.
- GWD Cyprus is carrying out joint projects with GWD Cyprus Tourist Organization, the Governor’s Ofﬁces of Limassol, Larnaca, Paphos, Agia Napa and Nicosia.
- GWD France is collaborating with the National Association of Mayors of Touristic Cities in France, reaching over 900 mayors throughout the country.
- GWD Turkey has the support of the Touristic Hotel Investors Association, Turkish Heart Foundation and Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality.
- The mayor of Langley in Canada, Jack Froese supports Global Wellness Day.
- Aruba Tourism Association is taking the lead in GWD 2016 for all Spas on Aruba.
- Mayor of Imperial Beach in USA, Serge Dedina is ready to embrace Global Wellness Day in 2016.
- The Minister of Tourism in India & the Minister of Health of Maharashtra supports GWD India
- GWD Costa Rica has met political advisors and Congresswomen recently to get their support.
- GWD Nigeria has the support of the Consul General of France, Laurent Polonceaux.
Another GWD success story is the support from schools, institutions and teaching organizations. CIDESCO Schools, Thuya Escuela School in Spain, Dance and Creative Wellness Foundation, American Leisure, Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Exercise is Medicine, the Day Spa Association, SpaFinder Wellness 365, Treatwell, the Global Wellness Institute, the Arizona Spa & Wellness Association, Florida Spa Association and International Spa Association (ISPA) and Wellness Tourism Worldwide’s Wellness Travel Academy all support GWD.
Further, there are many celebrities that embrace GWD. For example, over the past two years, Hollywood stars such as Ving Rhames, Josh Charles, Ty Burrell, Jessie Taylor Ferguson, Mayim Bialik, Joe Morton; authors such as Deepak Chopra and Agapi Stassinopoulos; sports stars such as Venus Williams and Rainbeau Mars and leaders of the business world including Founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, Co-creator of SKYPE, Jonas Kjellberg and Wendy Kopp, CEO / Co-Founder of Teach for All have demonstrated their support.
CH – Why should hotels and investors get involved with GWD?
BA – Innovation is critical to the spa and hotel industries. Hotels are introducing new services to attract healthy lifestyle consumers. Zumba, hiking, yoga, meditation, art therapy and reiki are popular activities among guests. Offering these activities free-of-charge during a GWD celebration has several benefits.
By celebrating in Global Wellness Day, hotels raise their public profile. Wellness is in demand and GWD can boost customer satisfaction and improve guest experience. GWD also facilitates new partnerships with local businesses. The GWD mantra is “One day can change your whole life.” A guest participating in GWD learns how to make better lifestyle choices. Wellness is more than being free from illness; it is a dynamic process of change and growth.
GWD can also serve as an entry point to attract new customers. Hotels and spas celebrating Global Wellness Day extend beyond affluent customers. Spas have changed their business model to reach the middle class. In the past, spas were and reach middle income. A GWD event enables the hotel spa to be more accessible to the public.
Global Wellness Day is a sustainable initiative. It helps the spa industry introduce new trends and innovations in the wellness world.
CH – What leadership role would you like to see hotels take with GWD?
BA – GWD created a “7 Step Manifesto” to impact long term impact and affect quality of life. To make wellness a lifestyle, Global Wellness Day encourages adopting seven simple steps. Incorporating even a few of them into your daily life on a regular basis makes a difference. Hotels that adopt GWD’s 7 Step Manifesto demonstrate social responsibility through leadership.
Global Wellness Day’s 7 STEP MANIFESTO:
- Walk for an hour
- Drink more water
- Don’t use plastic bottles
- Eat organic foods
- Do a good deed
- Have a family dinner
- Sleep at 10:00 PM
CH – What are some practical tips for hotels interested in in participating in GWD?
BA – Hotels that would like to get involved with GWD can organize complimentary wellness activities. They can also share GWD’s message that “One day can change their whole life” to their community. There are 70+ Global Wellness Day Ambassadors ready to assist in developing a celebration.
CH – How can GWD improve the health of hotel staff?
BA – Hotel staff can improve their wellbeing by implementing the steps outlined in GWD’s 7 Step Manifesto. They can also incorporate an activity – such as yoga, Pilates, reiki, hiking or dance as a way of life.
CH – What are some of the stumbling blocks or misconceptions that hotel managers should know?
BA – First, hotel managers should be aware that Global Wellness Day is a not-for-profit project.
Many people think that wellness is a luxury that isn’t easily attainable. The main goal of Global Wellness Day is to show that wellness is not a luxury but the right of each individual. GWD is a timeless and placeless act of social responsibility. It is entirely independent from age segment and income status. Everyone has the right to live well. The doors of GWD are open to everyone.
There is a “Branding and Visual Identity Guideline” of GWD that hotels should follow. This guideline keeps our message consistent and our team united. Also, selling a product with GWD logo on it is prohibited.
Hotel managers are encouraged to communicate the benefits of wellness and GWD throughout the year.
CH – What does wellness mean to you?
BA – It is a state characterized by health, happiness, and prosperity. Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of, and making choices towards, a healthy and fulfilling life.
Wellness is the conscious development of the whole self. Embarking on a wellness journey is a process. It means discovering your own methods for personal growth and development. There are countless ways to cultivate health and happiness in your life.
Global Wellness Day helps make people aware that wellness means quality of life.
CH – What is your vision for GWD over the next 5 years?
BA – Our aim with GWD is to reach:
- The United Nations to observe Global Wellness Day as an international day in its calendar in 2017.
- 15,000 different locations worldwide.
- 150 countries celebrating in 7 continents.
- National and international advertising equal to over 20 Million USD.
CH – Belgin, is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of HotelExecutive.com?
Camille Hoheb is committed to improving well-being around the world. She is the founder and president of Wellness Tourism Worldwide (WTW). WTW provides research, training and advisory services to destinations, travel suppliers and travel sellers that want to grow in the lucrative field of wellness travel. Her work to advance well-being and economic growth through travel is prolific. Ms. Hoheb earned a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration. She is featured in Forbes.com, Delta Sky Magazine Successful Meetings, and Huffington Post and many other publications.
- Once you have chosen your activity, be sure to tell it to your audience. Advertise this event as soon as you organize it.
- Use your Database –
- Business in your town or area
- Ignite wellness talks with team and Guests
- Having fun is one thing, making sure your audience and journalists know about the meaning of the event is key. Let each member of your team (hotel, F&B, spa, fitness, activities know about Global Wellness Day and can talk about it with your guests before during and after the event.
- Remember that the main point is not just for people to show un on June 11th, but to encourage them to come BACK for more…. More sensations, more movement, more flexibility, more endorphins, more fun with friends and more life running through their bodies.
Mrs. Belgin Aksoy, creator of Global Wellness Day said “One day can change your whole life” so let’s make it happen!
The FSA is proud to be an official Ambassador to Global Wellness Day in the USA, promoting the state of Florida!