“Wellness isn’t one-size-fits-all. It’s not just about building a super gym or a small spa. Wellness is about balance.”Head of EVEN Hotels
A breakthrough hotel idea keeps guests on their wellness journey
The mid-scale hotel market is booming, driven by growing demand from leisure and business travelers seeking both value and high-quality experiences. As chains rush to capitalize on the market growth, it is becoming increasingly difficult for brands to stand out. To meet this challenge, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) partnered with Lippincott to uncover growth opportunities in the saturated North American market.
The exploration of a new hotel concept came with well-defined objectives: It had to resonate equally well with key consumers, owners, managers and franchisees and it had to achieve viability without cannibalizing existing offerings. In other words, the new offering needed a highly differentiated value proposition that dovetailed strategically within the broader IHG portfolio.
Consumer insights, including research from field intercepts, social anthropology and digital ethnographies, revealed an opportunity in the wellness space that appealed to both business and leisure travelers alike. And, throughout our research, a core theme crystallized in a striking consumer verbatim: “Traveling breaks my routine so I often don’t or can’t stay active or eat right. I fall off the wagon when I travel.” This opened our eyes to the reality that mid-scale offerings were either missing the consumer need or treating it as an afterthought.
We learned that business and leisure travelers alike are time deprived and looking for more control in their lives. Given this reality, neither group is ardent about exercise or diet. In fact, they view “wellness” or “fitness” through a different, much more holistic lens, one that involves eating well, staying active, resting easy and accomplishing more. More often than not, they were most concerned with balance — the idea of making healthy trade-offs that feel good and choosing what works best for them, in varying combinations of productivity, nutrition, fitness or relaxation. The underlying need for balance informed the guiding principles for our innovation efforts.
Fueled by this insight, we developed the value proposition, experience design, name, logo and visual system for our wellness concept, and we tested the offering with the target audience. Results confirmed that it captured their holistic view of wellness and the balance that EVEN Hotels makes possible.
An EVEN stay is designed to feel bright, not loud; spirited, not trendy; motivating, not preachy; and healthy minded, not healthy obsessed. Every experience, from check-in to checkout, is designed to put the guest in control and maintain balance throughout their stay.
With the launch of EVEN, we helped IHG become a leader in the mid-scale hotel market by fueling the $3.7 trillion global wellness economy.