Wellness travel is by no means a new concept; wellness activities are almost as old as time but 2016 and beyond is seeing a rise in healthy travel trends from guests and hotels alike.
More people are looking for getaways that will revitalise them mentally, connect them spiritually, and revive them physically. And hotels are doing their best to meet the demand, creating a strong global movement for this type of holiday.
Traditionally, wellness travel would include spas, yoga, massages, and general relaxation but now there is a wide range of wellness travel categories for travellers looking to escape for many different reasons.
It may be they’re simply rundown by work and a hectic personal life, they might be actually suffering from some kind of illness, wanting to kick a bad habit, looking to bond with others, or on a personal mission to get the best out of their life and themselves.
These guests are a potential goldmine for hotels. Wellness travellers are described as ‘high-yield’ tourists who spend 130% more than the average tourist.
Wellness travel in Africa and the Middle East
World Travel Market recently released its associated 2016 industry report, including an update on wellness travel. In 2014, the Global Wellness Summit found wellness travel (defined as travel for the purpose of improving health and wellbeing) was growing 74% more than regular global travel.
According to WTM, much of this growth is being enjoyed by Africa, as travellers seek wellness through unique experiences in the wilderness. The sense of isolation brought upon by a safari to the middle of nowhere is the ultimate form of wellness travel, providing an escape from the fast pace and stressful atmosphere of normal life.
Africa also lends itself to adventure and relaxation in a natural environment which can satisfy the demand for a sustainable experience. Kenya-based Campi ya Kanzi and other resorts offer a luxury eco-lodge including yoga classes and meditation in the middle of the savannah.
In the Middle East, strong arrivals in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are coinciding with the promotion of hiking trips along historic trails. These walks are utilised as a message of peace, hope and reconciliation. Shrines of all different religions are displayed along the trails for travellers on personal journeys.
8 wellness travel trends in 2017
These regions are not alone in experiencing a health boom. Hotels the world over are tapping into the enthusiastic health-conscious market, as many new trends and demands emerge. Health and Fitness Travel have compiled a list detailing some the travel health kicks we can expect next year. Included among them are:
1. Stop smoking retreats
Going cold turkey is hard enough but doing within the confines of work and other life related stress is near impossible. So taking valuable quiet time away at a health-conscious retreat will help assist a therapeutic dispelling of bad habits and cravings.
2. Men’s health
Even though men are still considerably less likely to visit a doctor than women, they’re beginning to open up and wellness retreats present a less confronting option for addressing health needs.
3. Healthy mind and emotion healing holidays
A growing realisation that a healthy life is made up of a balance between mind and body, retreats offering wellness coaching in mindfulness, meditation and yoga are helping people combat burnout.
4. Eat-well detox holidays
‘I’m going on a detox’ is a commonly heard phrase between friends and workmates but how many people stick to their plan? Combining a detox with a holiday at a healthy-eating retreat will assure the traveller gets the physical cleansing they were hoping for.
5. Zen and adrenaline
Two things that may not seem like they go together are relaxation and adventure sports but combining both encourages a traveller to live in the moment and let go of any worries they are suffering.
6. Family-wellness holidays
Once off-limits to children, retreats and spas now encourage quality family time, with some treatments specifically designed for children. These are often treated as a tech switch-off trip where the family can bond over new adventures and activities.
7. Workplace wellness
It’s become commonplace for work ‘teams’ to take weekends away together to bond and enjoy each other’s company without the stress of work. Often, these are physically active trips.
8. Eco-friendly wellness retreats
The affinity with mother nature that is encouraged by wellness travel is resulting in the emergence of more environment-conscious travellers who want to relax without feeling guilty about it.
Hotels adapting to the wellness travel trend
Hotels across the globe are jumping on this trend to offer guests the same experience even when they’re in the city or on business. EVEN Hotels were one of the first to realise the huge revenue potential attracting people who wanted to stay focused on their well-being while travelling, but were having a tough time doing so. They viewed it as a complete shift in the mentality of a lot of travellers.
Other specialty brands such as TRYP, Westin, and Equinox were also part of the movement but more recently bigger hotels have taken on these retreat-like qualities.
Marriott hotels have now also introduced a healthy option for guests. Their ‘stay well’ rooms cost an extra $30 per night and offer air purifiers, organic mattresses, antimicrobial countertops, circadian mood lighting, aromatherapy, and vitamin C infused showers. Guests who book these rooms will also have access to the Stay Well app which includes a podcast for meditation, a tool to help with jet-lag, and sleep, nutrition, and stress management programs.
While many of the hotels employing wellness marketing techniques are quite unique to each other, they’re all an answer to the travellers’ increasing desire to maintain a healthy lifestyle whether they’re at home, on a holiday, or on the road for business.
The wellness traveller is a growing market that hotels need to take note of, lest they miss out on large-scale revenue opportunities.