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Hotel guests pay up for rubdowns

If you plan to pamper yourself with a massage the next time you check into a hotel, you are not alone.

Spending on hotel spa services — such as massages, skin care services and personal training — jumped 5 percent in 2012 from the previous year, according to a study by PKF Consulting, a consultant to the hotel industry.

By comparison, the sale of food and drinks grew only 2.3 percent in the same period, according to PKF’s study of revenue from 125 hotels.

The growth in revenue might be spurred by an improving economy that has boosted travel demand, according to industry experts.

Another possible reason for the rise in spa spending could be the resurgent health trend in the U.S. as Americans try to eat well and stay healthy on the road.

At the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad, Calif., spending on spa services has jumped about 20 percent during the past several years, with Swedish massages coming in as the most popular treatment among guests, said Michelle Frye, director of the resort’s spa. "People are realizing the importance of these services to stay healthy," she said.

No booking edge for green hotels

Going green may be a hot trend in the hospitality industry, but hotels that earn environmental certificates do not have an advantage when it comes to attracting guests.

The finding comes from a study published recently by Cornell University’s Center for Hospitality Research. The study compared booking revenue at 3,000 eco-certified hotels with 6,000 other properties in North America. Environmental certificates include the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards, or LEED, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Although hotels that earn one of several environmental certificates do not gain an advantage in booking guests after promoting the eco-friendly accomplishment, the study showed "green" hotels are not hurt by reducing their carbon footprint.

"In short, green is not a silver bullet strategy," the report concluded.

Why? The report suggested going green might attract guests who support such environmental efforts, but other hotel guests might worry their comfort will be sacrificed at hotels that cut back on resources.


Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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