Traveling always takes its toll, and it’s not just a financial one. While traveling can be a pricey venture, a more important consideration is the toll that traveling has on health.
HOW TRAVELING AFFECTS HEALTH
First, let’s look at how traveling can make people feel poorly. Often when traveling, people get less sleep because they are trying to see and do all they can in a new city. This goes for both business and leisure trips. On business, people often have jam-packed meetings as well as work to do and people to meet. While the term “leisure” brings up images of relaxation, most people do not just sit around relaxing when they are in a new place. Leisure travel simply means a traveling that is born from desire instead of requirement.
Travelers are exposed to more and bigger crowds than the everyday person, and they therefore come in contact with more germs. On top of that, travelers often eat more manufactured foods, and indulge in unhealthy eating in the name of vacation, rather than maintaining their current eating habits. Some people may simply feel worn out at the end of a trip, while others will actually get sick because of it.
HOW HOTELS CAN HELP GUESTS STAY HEALTHY
According to an article by Popular Science, sleep deprivation is a major cause of sickness among travelers. While a hotel can do its best to help people sleep, it is ultimately up to the person to go to bed at a decent hour. Still, there are things a hotel can do to help guests feel their best. Providing good food is one of these. Foods that are high in protein, with healthy fats and low sodium, are difficult to find when you’re not at home. Many travelers will be pleasantly surprised to know that their hotel can help them easily remain healthy while they are away.
HAVE SNACKS AT THE READY
Place a bowl of individually-wrapped snacks right on the front desk counter. Trail mixes or mixed nuts keep well, and they taste good. Try to provide a low sodium option, with just a bit of dried fruit or chocolate pieces mixed in. Since nut allergies are so prevalent today, a hotel should also provide some nut-free granola bars, packages of edamame, or another nut-free healthy snack such as sesame crackers or seeds and dried fruit mixes. Ensure that guests know you are thinking about them and that you’re trying to help them have the best time they can. If they don’t want a snack right away, encourage them to take one with them, so they’ll have it while they are sightseeing. Encourage the desk clerk to mention the bowl of snacks, as well as other ways the hotel is trying to help guests feel their best.
PROVIDE HEALTHY MEAL OPTIONS
If space allows, a hotel may be outfitted with an on-site restaurant. Ensuring healthy options made with quality ingredients is vital. While many people just want to eat what tastes good—and fruits and vegetables can easily go bad while waiting to be used—there are some simple ways to keep produce on hand. Frozen vegetables, for instance, is one way. Frozen spinach can be added to omelets, as well as steamed with garlic and Parmesan cheese for a delicious, low-risk way to provide nutrients in meals.
If a hotel does not have space for its own restaurant, perhaps there are local restaurants the hotel can partner with to help guests have their best meals. Another way to provide quality meals without a full restaurant is to have a small store near the front desk. This may look like a glorified vending machine, with bags of popcorn, beef or turkey jerky (preferably low-sodium, low-sugar), rice cakes with individual nut butter packs, baked potato chips, and a fridge with cheese sticks, low-sugar Greek yogurt cups, and whole fruits like apple slices and oranges. The hotel must make money, but keeping these prices reasonable for travelers will encourage them to purchase more of them.
GET A BLENDER
If there is no space for a restaurant, a hotel could invest in a high-powered blender and keep a small freezer of premeasured smoothie ingredients on hand. Offering smoothies upon check-in, when many guests are excited to begin their vacation, can help to jump start a healthy trip. Smoothies taste delicious and are refreshing, but they’re also a great way to boost nutrients. With premeasured packages, all you’ll have to do is drop everything in the blender and turn it on.
Your hotel might already have blenders in the room, in which case your guests could make their own smoothies. You can still provide prepackaged smoothie ingredients for your guests, and sell them in the hotel store.
USE THE POWER OF HYDRATION
One of the best things that people can do for their bodies is drink water. The hotel can help guests with this by providing water bottles or by setting a water cooler in the lobby. Depending on the particular hotel, a hydration station may be set up with two or more beverage dispensers. Waters infused with lemons, cucumbers, limes, and even strawberries appeal to a wide range of people who otherwise may choose a less healthy option.
NON-FOOD WAYS TO HELP YOUR GUESTS STAY HEALTHY
Apart from foods, there are many other ways to help your guests remain healthy. For instance, providing a hand sanitizer station at the front desk will help prevent guests and hotel employees from spreading and picking up germs. A hotel gym and a pool area will help people to get the exercise they are used to. In the gym, hang posters with motivational quotes and exercise tips for all levels, including the benefits of stretching before and after working out.
It is important to remember that many people will choose what tastes good to them over what is actually good for them, especially while they are on vacation. In the pursuit of a healthier hotel, showcase your efforts on your website. This way, many guests will be expecting the healthier options and will be ready to invest in them. Over time, you may begin attracting people for this very reason. Use your guest surveys or comment cards, and consider adding a line asking guests what they thought about the food options your hotel provided. Ask guests to tell what they liked about the food options, and provide space for them to write things they wish you had. This will allow you to keep customer satisfaction high while you are implementing better snacks and meal options.