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SPOTLIGHT ON Anna Bjurstam, Senior Strategic Advisor, Six Senses

By Sharon Hirschowitz, Global Head of Media & Communications for The International Luxury Hotel Association
21 October 2020
5 min read
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Anna is the “Wellness Pioneer” of the Six Senses brand and talks to us about how they have pivoted their wellbeing programs to reach their guests while at home and create a blueprint for the future.

Can you tell us about your At Home with Six Senses series? What was your intention and how has it been received?
We came up with our At Home with Six Senses series early on during the pandemic when people were locked down and unable to travel. We had access to the world’s best advisors and wanted to help make people’s days better through meditation, breathing techniques, and mindfulness as well as video tutorials on immune boosting foods and the importance of sleep and exercise on the immune system.

It was a creative process and we were unsure how it would be received but the response has been phenomenal with over six million views. It has allowed us to keep in contact with our guests and communicate with them in a different way and help them reconnect with themselves and others, ultimately putting us on a path to change our digital content for the future.

How did you adapt your digital marketing and social strategies as the pandemic emerged?
We are working on a variety of platforms where we can have closed workshops and closed groups, masterclasses, 10-day detoxes, breath workshops, or private sessions with practitioners, like yoga experts and coaches. We are looking at having a totally different communication with our guests as well as members of our club in London, who will also have access to these resources so that it becomes a community where we share. A lot will be free content where you can learn about detox, shamanism and a variety of topics, and we will also bring in celebrities and experts to do workshops and masterclasses.

It’s not going to be only around wellness, you will also be able to book a private cooking class with a chef from one of our properties and we have even asked chefs to give workshops on how to rid your kitchen of plastic and cook with a zero waste philosophy.

These are all ways in which we can communicate with our guests and prepare them for wellness and also develop future guests as people continue to reach for wellbeing.

Are you putting any new programming in place for 2021? What are your guests requesting right now?
We have crafted our new programming around the theme of reconnection. Our nature day will take you into our organic garden, where you can pick your lunch and create your own body scrub along with experts. You can do a barefoot grounding meditation, take a guided snorkel tour, or learn how to reconnect with your mind, heart and body.

All these programs have been developed alongside experts and scientists who have been able to provide the foundation for our courses on wellbeing as well as journaling, gratitude and mindfulness.

We are also bringing a number of rituals to our various locations so that when guests arrive at a particular resort, they can set an intention of what they want to accomplish during their week and express their gratitude for being there, whether it is wellness, detox or relaxation. Every location will have a number of rituals, it may be a fire ritual or water ritual, that will help the guest connect to the earth more.

We are also looking at communal dining with social distancing in place as we know how important reconnection is, with both nature and other people as well as ourselves.

As wellbeing becomes such a central focus for people around the world, what do you believe is the single most important thing we can do for ourselves?
It is important to reduce the negative energy around us in terms of news and the messages you are hearing and instead listen to your own inner guidance as to what is right or wrong. Be the person that you want to be. We are getting bombarded with contradicting information every day and the news is so negative, that it is very hard to survive. The first step to taking good decisions for your wellbeing is to reduce the negative onslaught and listen to your heart.

How can hotels plan their future wellness programs in such uncertain times?
You adapt. It’s trial and error and seeing what works. We’ve done over 100 in depth interviews with our guests about what they desire. We found out that they want knowledge, experience, fun and also to celebrate and have connection. So speak to your guest and listen to what they want, and understand what works for your brand and put that together in a plan and keep it flexible. You need to be able to adapt all the time.