Integrating Wellness Tech Into the Modern Luxury Hotel

From lighting to shading to entertainment and more, Crestron has a portfolio of solutions that can make the hospitality experience even better.

It’s a term that gets a lot of ink: “wellness.” As far as the hospitality industry is concerned, the definition of “wellness” — as in the residential world — is a bit, well, squishy.

“It’s like so many words in the industry — ‘spa,’ for example — It evolves and changes and means a lot of things to different people,” says Amy McDonald in a recent Luxury Hotel Association webinar entitled “Leveraging Technology to Create a Holistic Approach to Health and Wellness.” McDonald, principal and CEO of Under a Tree Wellness Consulting moderated the discussion with Dr. Lisa Cain, an associate professor at the Chaplin School of Hospitality and Tourism Management at Florida International University.

The conversation covered a range of topics, from the downright futuristic (an AI-powered bed that could understand an individual’s comfort needs automatically) to the technology that’s available right now. Crestron’s Michelle Guss (VP of hospitality) had a lot to say about the incredible potential of both, but focused the bulk of her thoughts on the here and now.

Watch the full webinar here.

“Background Tech” as the Foundation of Luxury

Yes, there are things available at this moment — from zero-gravity chairs to fat-free mocktails — that fit into the wellness bucket. But for Guss, what’s exciting is the technology that’s working 24/7, 365 to make the hospitality experience one of true refuge and relaxation — or even a most comfortable place to work, now that “remote employment” isn’t an exotic anomaly.

And that technology can be very nearly invisible.

“When technology is integrated properly — and that includes most of the things that might be considered ‘wellness’ solutions — it should seamlessly blend in with the overall design of the space,” says Guss. That concept — an ecosystem of devices working in concert and in the background — can extend beyond the guest room and into every part of a hotel.

Lighting and Circadian Rhythms

A terrific example of “background technology” as the foundation of the luxury experience is tunable lighting, says Guss. “The potential positive effects that lighting programmed with circadian rhythms may have would be really evident in the guest room,” she says.

“The luminaires can provide warm light tones at lower levels as people are starting their day,” Guss explains. “As people are now traveling again for business, they need brighter, whiter colors of light throughout that middle part of the day to perhaps be more alert and productive. And then as the evening comes into the night, those light levels again have to change to that natural circadian curve to be at warmer, lower levels of light.”

The ability to switch out of automated lighting and into whatever one might desire is just as important, says Guss. Additionally, it’s imperative that the interfaces that manually control that lighting — whether they’re keypads or touch screens — are made of materials of the highest quality and are designed to be as intuitive as possible.

The Rest of the Environment

Lighting, of course, is just one aspect of the luxury hospitality experience. “There are a variety of air purification systems on the market that can monitor and filter the atmospheres in rooms, lobbies, conference spaces, and so on, reducing pollutants and contaminants,” Guss notes. “Being able to provide the optimal temperature for the guest in their room is also very, very beneficial. Having a simple, intuitive, smart thermostat that can even ‘talk’ to other technologies that may be in the room is really key to that.”

Imagine, for example, a thermostat that ‘understands’ when a guest is in the room, when to raise or lower shading to assist with heating and cooling, and so on. Holistic climate control solutions aren’t just a perk for the guest — they can save an operator money on energy resources.

Audio and video sources — both in guest rooms and in common areas — can also contribute to a wellness package. “Peaceful music or sounds of nature via an audio system, TV displays that default to either natural scenes or digital artwork when a guest isn’t watching movies, shows, or sports — all of these elements can make a big difference,” says Guss.

A Wellness Loyalty Program

Another guest on the aforementioned webinar, Simon Saunders (VP of strategic health and wellness at RLA Global), noted that he’d seen an example of turn-down packages that could be ordered at one hotel. The service included a relaxing Spotify® playlist, among other offerings.

Guss offers that a luxury hotel could take it one step further: “What about a ‘wellness loyalty program?’ The room ‘remembers’ you: You like certain air and water temperatures. You rise at a specific time every day. You prefer Baroque music as you wake. You have a specific yoga regimen that you’ve been practicing along with a certain YouTube instructor.” Now, imagine those settings are saved across every property in the parent company’s portfolio. “That’s a powerful marketing tool,” says Guss.

When elements such as these are programmed into a residential system, integrators refer to them as ‘scenes,’ and these scenes can be triggered automatically or by a single touch on a screen, depending on the user’s preferences. “As more and more high-end clients have these solutions in their homes, it only makes sense to mirror those offerings in a hotel setting,” says Guss.

Wellness = Luxury

A company such as Crestron — which has five decades of experience in both residential and commercial technology integration projects — is uniquely suited to integrate and control these kinds of wellness-driven ecosystems. In addition to building robust networks that allow for the addition of high-end third-party solutions, Crestron becomes the “glue” that brings all of these elements together in a way that’s as intuitive as it is seamless, according to Guss.

“When all of this is done correctly, the effect is one of immersive comfort and rejuvenation,” says Guss. “We want both guests and operators to understand that ‘wellness’ and ‘luxury’ are completely synonymous.”

Learn more about hospitality technology solutions from Crestron.