By Thierry Malleret, economist

One searching question for 2018: Will the common understanding of wellness become more holistic, and, in many ways, simpler? At the moment, the way “we” depict wellness is primarily focused on physical and/or tangible offerings such as nutrition, beauty, fitness, luxury spaces and so on. Might it evolve into less tangible and more general categories like emotional well-being, compassion, gratitude, mental agility, serenity or reconnecting with nature? Simple economics explain why these fundamental components of well-being are not being promoted to the extent they deserve. They are not revenue generating, and, as such, attract less attention or are actively set aside.

The businesses of enticing people to run on a treadmill or to eat vegan now amount to billions of dollars and are booming, but they do not necessarily constitute the best path to well-being. “Social emotions” do. Strong social bonds are in fact the best possible route to wellness. New research in psychology shows that social qualities, such as gratitude and compassion, reduce the human mind’s tendency to discount the value of the future. They are tied to a greater willingness to exercise and eat healthily, while lowering levels of consumerism and impulsivity. As such, they improve our ability to lead a ‘well’ life while costing almost nothing.


Other must-watch issues for 2018 include:

(1) The speed at which sleep science will engulf the hospitality world. More and more, technology is helping to improve sleep quality through digitized beds, sleep trackers, room temperature control, etc. Increasingly, travellers demand the best quality sleep possible, meaning that, sooner than many hotels realize (particularly at the high-end of the supply curve), not making them part of the standard offering will hurt their P&L.

(2) Nootropics – whether they’ll make and deliver real progress. Among biohackers and Silicon Valley aficionados, brain-boosting supplements that supposedly enhance memory, attention, mood, creativity and motivation in healthy individuals are all the rage: The market is currently expanding at almost 20% per year and supposed to reach about $12 billion by 2024. 

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