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Put on your travel face

The Hospitality Industry is an In Your Face Business

No matter where we are seated on a plane, a bus, a train or a ship, the part of ourselves that everyone gets to see is our face. Whether you have determined that your only obligation to your face is to keep it clean, or at the other end of the spectrum – spend thousands of dollars and countless hours creating a “perfect” face, it is the harshest of realities that “doing face” and doing it well can be the difference between success and something else.

The hotel, travel and tourism industry is an “in your face” business, so, putting time and attention to this body part should be given considerable thought and attention before it is dismissed as being inconsequential.


The Industry

The US cosmetic industry is the largest in the world, with an estimated revenue of $54.89 billion and over 53,000 employees. The industry includes:


  • Make-up Sales – $932 million
  • Skincare Sales – $844 million
  • Fragrance Sales – $501 million

Market Share:

  • Facial skin care – 27 percent
  • Personal care, 23 percent
  • Hair care – 20 percent
  • Make -up 20 percent
  • Fragrance- 10 percent

Consumer Spend (2017)

  • $144. Amount women spend on average, each year on beauty
  • $154. By Region, the west spends the most on beauty
  • 57 percent of women have purchased skincare products at Walmart or Target in the last 6 months
  • 10 percent of customers generate 80 percent of revenue
  • 45 percent of women cut back on skincare during a recession

Forbes finds that there are at least 40 important beauty startups developed by women, making the $445 billion (sales) industry one of the most dominant place for women to self-start.

Not for Women Only


Men are clamoring for equal time and space in the beauty care space. From the Dollar Shave Club to Harry’s Razor Company (recently raising $112M Series D funding) men are priming peacocks. Boy Beauty and other gender-neutral makeup supports the male beauty product market. Asos, Calvin Klein, Yves Saint Laurent, Clinique, etc. as well as startups (Context) and other major brands (MAC, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs) have launched gender neutral makeup lines. Even Maybelline and Covergirl have male brand ambassadors.


There is a trend toward organic and plant-based ingredients in the beauty industry. Borrowing from the food industry, look for turmeric, moringa, coconut oil and probiotics in cosmetics. There is also likely to be partnerships between farmers, agriculture technology and beauty brands for ingredient sourcing. However, weather, soil, wind, and other elements that cannot be controlled can make working with raw and natural ingredients risky because of potential shortages. For example, popular jojoba oil, and rose hip oil, have had crop shortages. However, agtech innovations (next-gen farms that are not weather dependent) may be the answer to maintaining a reliable supply chain. In addition, farm management software and robotics for sustainable ingredient sourcing and increased speed to market access may solve the shortage issue.

Is It Sales or Something Else?

The billion-dollar beauty brands are using social media sales as a core facet in their marketing strategy. Younique (acquired by Coty, January 2017) uses a digital selling model that includes personal e-commerce sites for sellers with online selling parties. Rodan+ Fields uses before/after selfies and social media to generate sales. Sephora is test-driving Instagram shopping encouraging users to view Instagram stories that turn into shoppable posts. A few clicks redirect the viewer to a site where purchases can be completed. Influencers are connected to companies that include Clinique, Ulta Beauty, Unilever, etc. While Mary Kay and Avon were the forerunners of peer-to-peer sales, the modern-day shopper is not supporting these brands.

Fitness & Wellness & Beauty

Boutique fitness studios and gyms are offering pre and post-workout beauty and skincare products that are integrated into the entire workout process. At Barry’s Bootcamp members have access to products from Oribe (luxury level) in the locker rooms. Equinox members are offered discounts to Glossier products.

The rise of “athleisure beauty” accounts for new beauty brands – Sweat Cosmetics, Birchbox’s Arrow line, Rae Cosmetics while MAC, Tarte and Clinique have evolved to include dry shampoo, sweat-proof mascaras and tinted moisturizers into their product lines. Even Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop and Mirande Kerr’s Kora Organics focus on wellness as a benefit of using their beauty products.

Beauty retailers such as Sephora and Ulta sell beauty-focused vitamins and supplements and investors are supporting vitamin startups that focus on hair and skin.

Make-Up the Room Please

While the industry has embraced spas, and guests are offered the opportunity to purchase lotions, oils and scrubs and occasionally cosmetics (along with a make-up session), the links between cosmetics and the hotel, travel and tourism industry is very small; however, there are many options and opportunities to bring beauty, skincare and wellness to the forefront.

Opportunities are Knocking on the Door

All segments of the industry have touch points that provide opportunities for the hotel, travel and tourism industry executives to introduce guests to health and wellness products and services. For example:

  • In-room amenities. The soaps and lotions currently decorating bathroom sinks and mini-shelves are so small and poorly labeled, it is frequently difficult to determine their use, let alone develop a fondness for them. Most of the soaps and shampoos are “generic” and ignore the different needs of African American, Asian and Latino guests and the reality that men and women have unique preferences.

Having a wall-mounted magnifying mirror is barely the beginning for a beauty and wellness regimen. Beauty, wellness and healthcare manufacturers miss serious opportunities to be up close and personal with guests – while they are naked.


  • Lobby. Instead of just sitting in a lobby waiting for a drink or an associate, the time could be well spent by experiencing a manicure or a neck/back massage.


  • Health club/exercise space. Before and after a workout there are many opportunities to learn about new products (i.e., deodorants, facial cleansing, hand/foot lotions, hand and electric razors). It is these touch-time moments where guests can actually sample products to determine if they fit a lifestyle and/or budget.


  • Restaurants. Instead of offering sugary mints or cookies when paying the tab, the close encounter with a guest makes it the perfect opportunity to offer sample size perfumes, colognes, breath fresheners and other after-dining products that will actually benefit the customer and not leave them feeling guilty for adding calories to their diet.


  • Airport lounges. Whether the wait is in a business/first-class lounge, or the departure gate with the hoi polloi, these touch points are perfect opportunities to introduce travelers to new hand/skin care, new nail polish colors, air and personal body fresheners.


  • Airlines. In addition to bottled water, sample size body creams (to deal with the dry air), scented handi-wipes (to clean the horrible tray tables) and breath fresheners will not only distract the passenger (even momentarily), it will be welcomed by others onboard.

It is disturbing that the many touch points available between the traveler, the hotel, travel and tourism industry and the manufacturer are ignored – leaving all sides of the equation without possibly useful and beneficial products/services and a positive cash flow.

© Dr. Elinor Garely. This copyright article, including photos, may not be reproduced without written permission from the author.


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