Market

‘Prevention health holidays is the way to go’

The Indian traveller is becoming more wellness and spa savvy, believes Steve Jeisman, Group Director, Alila Experiences, who has developed and launched Spa Alila in four countries. He has played a pivotal role in creating the natural signature amenities and spa products for brand Alila worldwide

Your perception of how the wellness industry has evolved in India, and the future growth prospects?

India on the whole has contributed to the wellness industry dramatically and I believe that Ayurvedic treatments are becoming more and more popular worldwide. All of the herbs, spices, extracts and oils that come out of India that are recorded in Ayurvedic science, are very beneficial for the body, one’s health and their mind. It’s endless and I believe that you will see more of these Indian concoctions and recipes sort of hit world market. India has a lot more to offer. As more people are travelling now, outside of the western countries and heading for Asia now, Ayurveda will be exposed to an increasing number of people, therefore grab greater interest.

The importance of wellness management in India is growing exponentially, alternative therapies, natural therapies are growing in stature. People are becoming more wellness and spa savvy, understanding that food can be medicine, that by exercising, eating a balanced diet, having less stress in your life, all contributes to your health. So I am really hoping that basically prevention is picked up by the Indian market.

I think the wellness industry will change in due course. It’s all about education and awareness. People need to go down that road and try healthy diet, reconnecting with nature, therapeutic experiences and basically look at things unemotionally, at a professional level. Stress management and mental health is key. These are components that are all valuable to each and every one of us. It’s not like we need to go to the doctor and get prescriptions to fix something. Life balance, mindfulness and simple well-being is the right measure.

What is so unique about Alila Diwa’s wellness experience?
For the Indian market, and especially at Alila Diwa Goa, we have some fantastic customised spa programs. We have a combination Ayurveda, western and Asian therapies partnered with all kinds of exercise programs, from walking to breathing to yoga, heavy gym workouts and also coupled with specific wellness cuisine.

The programs are customised for the individual and we are also now developing a self-start wellness program where guests can come for a day or even a couple of weeks and actually go on their own pace. The whole goal is just to eat better, exercise, to reconnect with themselves and with the earth and basically just take time to pause, stop and breathe again. You know especially for people whose lives are fairly toxic with stress, bad food, obesity … they have been suffering from illnesses. The programs that we have created here like the Detox Detour, weight management program and also revival programs and it is really all about the individual. There is no set regime.

Upon arriving at the hotel, you go through an appraisal or consultation process with our Ayurvedic doctor and from there we map out all of your meal plans, exercise regimes and all of your therapeutic spa and wellness experiences.

Do you customise your wellness offerings as per the destinations, (e.g. local treatments, etc.) ?
We offer both Ayurvedic treatments and western therapies. We did not want to go down the road of featuring too many Ayurvedic treatments because we believe that authentic Ayurveda is done in specific retreats, purposely built Ayurvedic clinics where they have teams of Ayurvedic doctors and you’re basically doing the strict regime of 21 days with all of the properly medicated oils and infusions, etc. We however do everything according to the 5000-year-old historic science. We do have medicated oils that treat all kinds of ailments and help you with any type of symptoms. It’s not just about when you’re selecting a massage or about the smell of it. It’s exactly about your current condition, whether you have sore muscles, you’re stressed, going through menopause or hormonal issue, we try to actually match the unique essential oil component into the base oil, therefore it’s more of a therapeutic approach than just a pampering offering.

The programs are customised for the individual and we are also now developing a self-start wellness program where guests can come for a day or even a couple of weeks and actually go at their own pace. The whole goal is just to eat better, exercise, to reconnect with themselves and with the earth and basically just take time to pause, stop and breathe again. You know especially for people whose lives are fairly toxic with stress, bad food, obesity, they have been suffering from illnesses. The programs that we have created here like the Detox Detour, weight management program and also revival programs and it’s really all about the individual. There’s no set regime.

Upon arriving at the hotel, you go through an appraisal or consultation process with our Ayurvedic doctor and from there we map out all of your meal plans, exercise regimes and all of your therapeutic spa and wellness experiences.

Please give some information about the new wellness products and offerings at your resorts, including those in India?
At Alila Diwa Goa, we offer all of these prevention treatments and packages. It’s really important that we educate and take care of our own teams. They manage their health as well which obviously directs to their performance at their job. And equally so, for the guests who are staying here, we encourage them to have a consultation with our doctor and then hopefully we can sell them a program, if not for this trip then perhaps for the next trip and it’s not just about selling the program. It’s just about informing them about their current state of health, having someone to talk to and grab another perspective of their current state of health than just going to a conventional doctor. It’s really important that our guests have the opportunity to discuss certain challenges they may be having in their lives, whether it is through diet, exercise or stress or skin allergies or rashes. It’s good that Dr. Arjita, who’s our in-house resident doctor here, can assist and hopefully come up with a regime, program or tonic that can assist you dramatically.

Your strategy for promoting Spa Alila in the Indian market?
The top of marketing approach that is the most effective is obviously capturing our guest who are in-house and with our large database Alila as an international company, we just circulate our wellness programs as much as possible, our standard Spa Alila treatment menu as well and our retail products which we have an online shop for, which is Shop Alila. So basically, we would like to promote within, to our captive audience that we have in-house. Sometimes we get some outside business which, of course appreciated. Sometimes we get guests, who are staying in other resorts, come down just to do our programs whether it’s more cost-effective accommodation or they renting villas or friend’s house or they are in the area. It’s actually good to see that outside guests are also coming to do our programs even though they may not be residing within the hotel.

Is there any other significant factor you want to highlight ?
People right now are waiting till they get sick before they make adjustments to their daily life. I believe we need to educate the whole world a little more in just taking little prevention holidays or undergoing certain daily rituals, eating, exercise, breathing differently, 15 minutes of meditation a day, just to off-set, perhaps if an illness is about to take you over. I think it’s all about lifestyle choices and environmental toxins that you’re surrounded by, whether it is through self-taught, your own stress or through living in a smoggy city, lack of exercise, poor diet choices. If we stop waiting till we get sick and sort of start a detox, revive and relax, it should be a preventive measure that just happens in our daily life or basically every few months. Our holidays start becoming wellness holidays, prevention holidays. The more we do this, the less people will need to visit doctors and the better that you feel the most you get out of yourself, your partner, your life, your job. Prevention health holidays is the way to go.

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