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  • Writer's pictureSasha Huang

DayAway’s Martha Waslen On the Intersection of Wellness & Tech — Interview


In the heart of Singapore's glitz and glamour, where the quest for unique luxury experiences is ever-present, Martha Waslen, an New York born American with an extensive background in fashion and technology, founded DayAway. DayAway serves as an escape for those desiring a slice of luxury and serenity, offering exclusive experiences to elite hotel amenities, exquisite restaurants, private events and even yachts. This business venture reflects Waslen's drive to fulfill a personal and communal need for a getaway amidst the challenges of 2020, seamlessly merging the world of high-end hospitality with technology to provide unforgettable experiences without leaving the city. Through DayAway, Waslen wishes to offer a respite for the soul, supporting the hospitality sector and setting a new standard in luxury daycations. Here, she delves into her motivations, aspritations and personal favourite packages from DayAway.

1. Could you tell us about yourself and how you got started in the wellness/tech industry?

I’m an American originally from New York, and I started my career working in Fashion at Ralph Lauren’s global headquarters in New York City. I moved to Singapore for the first time in 2011 to join a tech startup, Luxola, a cosmetics and skincare e-commerce platform that was later acquired by LVMH-owned Sephora. Since then, I have had a passion for working with startups at the cross section of lifestyle & tech. Building DayAway has been my first experience working in travel & wellness, but I think it was the industry I was always meant to be in!

2. What was the inspiration behind DayAway?

DayAway was really born out of a personal need in the wake of Covid lockdowns in 2020. Singapore was still very strict about social distancing at the time and we were unable to travel internationally, so many of us were looking for a bit of respite to balance out the responsibilities of working from home, homeschooling our kids, and dealing with the monotony of post-Covid life. My team and I launched DayAway as a way to help the community access luxurious escapes as a way to relax, recharge and reconnect, while simultaneously helping hotels diversify revenue streams while they waited for travelers to return. Fast forward two years to present-day, and hotels, restaurants, private clubs, and other hospitality businesses are still very keen to offer uniquely curated experiences to both locals and tourists alike via the DayAway platform.

3. Who is DayAway aimed at?

Our DayAway membership is designed for both locals and travelers with discerning tastes who want access to the best-of-the-best experiences, events and privileges a city has to offer.

4. How does DayAway stand out from other wellness platforms?

We are the first marketplace for accessing a wide range of luxury experiences at five star hotels, fine dining restaurants and private members clubs that are not normally available to the public - all bookable in one easy to use app.

5. How important is the role of tech/AI in your business?

Very! As a startup with a small team, everything we do is about optimization. Great tech and efficient AI integrations have allowed us to scale our business in meaningful ways while keeping our expenses low.

6. What’s something that everyone should try on DayAway?

I normally answer this question with our most iconic and popular experience, the Sling and Swim at Raffles Hotel, which includes an afternoon booking at their iconic rooftop pool, a complimentary Singapore Sling and lunch at the vibey Pool Bar. And while this experience is still very near and dear to my heart because it was the first package we ever launched on DayAway, I was recently reminded of another amazing experience we offer - the Wellness Retreat at The Capitol Kempinksi Hotel. This package includes access to a stunning room from 9am-6pm, a couples massage for two people, access to their rooftop Saltwater Relaxation pool and 20% off all dining during your stay. It is my new go-to when I desperately need a personal day!

7. Do you have any special wellness routines?

A head massage and quick session in the steam room can transform me into a new person - and so can a perfectly curated playlist. For that reason, I have my headphones with me EVERYWHERE I go. Even in the steam room lol.

8. And finally, what’s next for you at DayAway?

We are working on so many things at the moment! But our mission is to create more direct redemption and booking capability between loyalty programs (like credit card point systems, airline loyalty programs and employee wellness programs) and hospitality businesses (hotels, restaurants, private clubs, yacht charters, etc) to create one massive experience economy. 2024 will be filled with a lot of exciting corporate partnership announcements - so stay tuned!


All imagery is provided by Martha Waslen.


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