ALFREDO CARVAJAL: My name is Alfredo Carvajal, and I'm the president for Delos Living Signature Division.
I come from a background in hospitality, too. I've worked for cruise lines-- Royal Caribbean, Ritz-Carlton hotels, and then in the wellness side with Canyon Ranch and some other operators.
One of the things that I think I learned during my career is that in the past, I think, wellness, especially preventative health and wellness, features things that you could do to a building or to your personal life were almost an optional factor. In so many ways a nice icing on the top. First came design, the beauty, then the optimal space utilization, the parameter per square footage, and all of that, and then came the rest. And I think that is changing very rapidly.
And Delos is a company at the forefront of that. We have, I will say, one of the most intelligent and more educated teams I ever worked for and with. And in my team, we have some graduates from Cornell, too, several that every day bring a lot to the table. In the conversations that we've been having today and what we do for a living is basically infuse real estate with preventative health and wellness features that could be real practical in so many ways not something that you had to make an effort. It's something that you could just work into a building and that building has contributing to your health.
I don't know if you've seen the news, but this-- sick building syndrome or open spaces and the failure of open spaces in office design. It's not just I will say the icing or-- I will probably say even better-- that the top of the iceberg. It is very much a situation that is happening all over the world in every single aspect of real estate where now people are claiming to take the place where they belong. Humans come first. Buildings come second.
If you look at a building for the period of 30 years, and I'm not talking any office building, more than 90% of the cost of that building is human beings. The rest will be maintenance and the real estate itself-- building-- the design of the building and all of the factors that go into it. So if you don't consider that over 90% of the cost, you will have tremendous opportunity for failure, number one, but also you will probably would not optimize your investment in so many ways, not only the real estate investment but the capital-- the human capital investment. So that's what we do in Delos, and probably that was a pretty long introduction. But that's what I am doing today.
I come also from a standard will say luxury hospitality, where everybody knows the brands like Ritz-Carlton or some other brands that I had the pleasure to work with, where probably the most important aspect is to provide memorable experiences, and at the same time in the best settings and the best properties. That comes with a lot of obviously investment in the real estate but also in the service side. One thing that we have-- take into consideration to a certain degree is the well-being of the guests. And in so many ways, that's been expressed through the service that we provide and every one of the properties that I work for-- the companies that I work for.
Obviously, that can be expanded into things that you can do for yourself, which-- eating well or taking a message after a long trip or having a good night's sleep in a good room. But how you take that further, and that was the biggest challenge that we had to encounter. It was hard at the very beginning to explain to hoteliers-- the regular hoteliers-- that the room, especially the hotel room, had to go to another reinvention. And in so many ways, how you transform that space into a place that basically contributes to your health is not beautiful-- or just beautiful, it's not just a very nice bed that then you can sell online. It's beyond that.
It's a place that is supporting your performance. It's a place that is built for human performance. Whenever you are on vacation or go in for a meeting next day, you have to be ready, up, and awake.
How can we, through this space that is built, support you and at the same time, they'll only give you the best night's sleep but also make you feel great at the end of the day. So we invested in technologies related to lighting you won't believe that but there is going to be more and more dialogue right now-- And is a very new science-- it's lighting as a form of health-supportive feature. And that means for street lighting, all the way to interior lighting.
As you probably know, the lights we are using right now here just to film end up probably the best ones to be exposed at night because they replicate daylight. Daylight then is one of the worst things that we can do. And a lot of the hotel rooms have the same light, the same Kelvin output, every hour, every minute of the day. We'll be smart to have lighting that makes you sleepy at night and wakes you up in the morning. Well, that's what we're doing. That's the kind of technologies we're bringing on board.
What about the air quality of our air circulation every four times an hour? The same quality you will find some only in some health care facilities. What about showers that reinvigorate you? What about reducing the amount of chlorine in that water? What about at night if you wake up in the middle of the night, you don't need to turn the lights on because there is a path guiding you to the bathroom without you having to turn the lights on. And personally I don't know if everybody had the opportunity to travel overseas. That could be a huge factor.
I have been in hotels that are beautiful, some of the best brands and some of the graduates and the school work for. And I will tell you, when it comes to service, they're bar none some of the best companies in the world. But when it comes to hotel rooms, especially in Asia, I've seen rooms that have more lights in at night that looks like an airport. Actually, every corner you see there's a blinking light or a control panel.
And the problem is when you wake up at 3:00 AM in the morning jet lagged, then you won't be able to fall back asleep because that room is not designed for sleep. So this is where we need to take it a step further. That's what we did at MGM Grand. And the results that we're getting are formidable.
I'm not talking about just be able to provide these things for guests but to actually changing the entire making of the ADR, the premiums that could be charged, the experience. So the results being presented today at the symposium show us, not only that we're building on loyalty, return of the same guests, and actually the opportunity that those guests are almost double the capacity to recommend the hotel to other people. So in so many ways, this has taken the conversation way to another level, and that's why we wanted to keep investing on this research and keep building and other building. So that's what we're doing at MGM Grand and now with Five Pilots at the Marriott Hotel Group.
Now, you see the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, and so many organizations not only invest in this kind of research but also training the doctors on appreciating things that were beyond what you learn in medical school. And I'm talking about wellness in general, preventative health, in so many ways all of the practices that were considered in the past in a certain way left for the people that we're calling granola. That's one of the names that people used to call it. Meditation, what about meditation?
The National Institutes of Health right now have two major research with transcendental meditation, for example, with-- and David Lynch Foundation is involved in that, too. I will tell you that the results that they're getting are fantastic. So instead to take medicine or any kinds of drugs whatever-- replacing some of that with meditation. Imagine the cost savings and the repercussions of taking less drugs in this country, which stress is obviously driving a lot of that intake. So it's fantastic to see this happening right now where it used to be basically on the sidelines. Now it's mainstream.
Our bodies have followed natural rhythms during the day and during the sleep cycles, too. And those are circadian rhythms. And what we are doing with that research is trying to advance that conversation and trying to take it to the point that is well known by everybody in the industry-- architects, designers, and everybody. Some of that science have discovered that we not only have the capacity to produce more or less militant or suppress the production of melatonin driven by light. And that circadian science has influenced a lot of the design on new electrical devices.
So today you have lights and lighting in multiple companies, one of them being Kaltura. It's a very well known brand or some other companies that now are creating intelligent light bulbs. So those light bulbs have clocks inside that will follow the sun during the day and at night, too, obviously. So in the morning the light will be bluish, has the blue tint. The output of kelvins will be much larger basically. The lights are we seeing right now is basically mimicking 11 o'clock in the morning lighting. That's the light that suppresses melatonin. That's the light that wakes you up.
And at night, that light becomes more amber and is less carbon output. That also creates the production of melatonin and that's what also helps us because we grew up outdoors. The problem right now in less than 100 years, we moved from spend in a large portion of our lives outdoors than today. We are spending 93% of our lives indoors. So there is no way that you can tell me-- not you-- but in general, anybody can tell us that that doesn't affect somebody in some way or another.
So we trying not to bring the art in the outdoors indoors in many ways, not only through lighting but also through biophilia in so many ways, which is the aspect that the materials that we choose to design a room or space, bring in, for example nature indoors, sounds, sights, even plants and all of that. That really affects our psyche as human beings and makes us feel more in connection to what is natural to us.
Again, being indoors this much, 92% of our lives indoors, is new. And that is really taking a toll in a lot of our lives. And that's what we tried to find out more and more how we can revert that and try to get you into a natural cycle so you can fall asleep at night and stay asleep and obviously have a more healthy lifestyle.
I think that there is a great factor about starting the dialogue and the conversation. We were surprised when we started the research for the standard, which is today you can buy-- you can get it online is the well building standard. The well building standard, if you go to wellcertified.com, you can download it for free. It's a very big book. And basically it's not something that we just created out of thin air. It's a compilation of this research that's taken years and several institutions to put together that was fragmented.
And this dialogue was not in the same room. So there were conversations about sleep. There were great sleep labs around the world and especially if you go to the Northeast, there's a couple of the very famous one. And the same one comes with science and medicine, especially here. So many researchers that have right now work in here at Cornell have done some terrific work when it comes to keeping people healthy and be in preventative health segment.
But put in that conversation the same pace and put it together so that we can find correlation between sleep and nutrition-- actually the design of the spaces, like we talked-- lighting and all that-- this is the first time this conversation is happening. So what I saw this morning, for example, about the world of senior living we'll discuss this morning. That's a tremendous opportunity to also invest on that segment, too, on trying to bring this preventative health and wellness measures inside of that dialogue, too.
I think the most important thing here out of the-- at the end of the day, if the cost of health care today-- and we all know this. It's not going to in any way, shape, or form in the right direction. We know that and I don't think that nobody has a viable plan yet to change that in the opposite direction. And with that said, we are not invested in future generations if we don't have this dialogue to be loud and clear. And I think if wellness and preventative health doesn't become part of real estate or anything that we do about keeping people healthy be the center-- people the center of real estate, not building the center of real estate.
If we go for people first, that's why the reaction will be a much better reaction because at the end of the day, like I mentioned to you, more tenants in that building, there will be people living PM premiums for health and wellness that were proven in the hospitality industry around 30% more money to book a room that is healthy. And that person is also more loyal to your brand and at the same time is willing to spend more money at your property.
So there is something a correlation between the people that become not just dependent of the health care system, they become health owners. And that concept of health ownership is going to be prevalent when people going to make decisions based on what is good for me and what is good for my business. But first I'm putting people first so that way, I can get that return investment in so many ways.
So I think that that dialogue that's happening to here with the Institute for Healthy Futures is not just a dialogue about how to get all of these industries to work together towards making things better for people, but it's about a dialogue about how we help the future generations as so many ways not having to take the burden of people that are going to be very sick or people they're going to have chronic diseases and all that that in our country in so many ways, especially with the federal funding that we got today will not be able to afford.
So this is a different kind of dialogue. And I think it's a very forward thinking dialogue. And I commend Cornell University by not only supporting this symposium and this institute but also taking this dialogue to another level and not keeping things status quo.
We've received your request
You will be notified by email when the transcript and captions are available. The process may take up to 5 business days. Please contact email@example.com if you have any questions about this request.
Alfredo Carvajal, President of Delos International and Signature Programs, was interviewed during the Cornell Hospitality, Health, and Design Symposium, "In Search of a Healthy Future" on October 10, 2016.