US-based chain Starwood Hotels and Resorts does not intend to launch a wellness-focused brand of hotels to compete with InterContinental Hotels Group’s (IHG) recently-announced Even brand, according to Starwood president - EMEA Roeland Vos.
Commenting on IHG’s decision to launch wellness-dedicated brand Even in the US in response to a “growing consumer demand for healthier travel”, with plans to open 100 properties by 2015, Vos said: “I’m sure they’ve [IHG] done their homework, but history will prove that many hotel companies have launched brands that didn’t go anywhere.
“Time will tell - who knows whether that is a great idea - but I think wellness is something that should be pegged into your hotels and brand proposals anyway," he added.
In February, IHG said its research showed a demand shift to "a holistic wellness travel travel experience". The group's research spanning an 18-month period included analysis of emerging trends, quantitative and qualitative studies and speaking to more than 4000 customers.
IHG CEO Richard Solomons commented on the announcement: “We are so confident in the Even brand that we are committing a capital investment of up to US $150 million over the next three years in order to deliver growth and profitability for Even Hotels”.
However, speaking to Hotelier Middle East, Vos said Starwood had been talking about wellness in terms of nutrition, fitness and lifestyle “before the word even existed”.
“If that is what consumers are looking for - what the research tells you – then adapt your existing brand, speak in the voice of your own brand and make that path. I don’t need a separate brand for that,” he concluded.