There have been few eras more eligible than the current one we find ourselves in to be described as being on a health kick. Nowadays, society seems to be making a conscious effort to eat better, exercise more, and take a mind, body, and soul approach to its health.
While traditionally holidays might have been treated as opportunities to enjoy the finer things in life and worry about health later, it’s quite a natural transformation for travel and wellness to combine.
Between 2014-2016 global wellness travel grew by 14%, more than twice the rate of global tourism in general.
Wellness travel is well and truly on the rise
The trend is proving a popular one and gathering momentum all the time. A survey by Skyscanner has revealed at least 10% of Australian workers plan to take a wellness holiday in 2018. Over 30% said the reason for their trip was caused by exhaustion from work, indicating the modern work-life balance is out of sync.
A separate nationwide survey revealed even more support for the wellness travel trend. It reported 46% of the Australian population are concerned about managing mental health and personal wellbeing in the workplace, a very real motivation for healthy breaks.
Other reasons for a wellness holiday included the desire to have a healthier lifestyle (25%) and a plan to reconnect with oneself (19%). More specifically 16% of Australians said they would go on a yoga retreat while 11% wanted to focus on weight-loss during their trip.
46% of Australians are concerned about mental health and personal wellbeing in the workplace
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How are travellers and businesses reacting to the wellness travel trend?
In general, many businesses can benefit from a trend like wellness travel. The psychology that comes with it means wellness tourists are willing to spend more than other travellers.
A major intersection is being created between wellness travel and food
While culinary tourism and wellness travel have existed for a number of years, as both sectors mature the relationship between them has become more pronounced. After-all, all travellers must eat and drink. The opportunities that exist here include agritourism, food tours, and a better understanding of where your food is coming from.
Retailers are getting on board
Wellness travel represents a great opportunity for retail, fitness, and even entertainment businesses. For example, a company called Yoga for Bad People hosts around 10 yearly retreats in various global destinations, and fashion retailer Free People has launched a tailored series of escapes, with activities including creative writing, surfing and hiking in destinations such as Peru, Italy, and Nicaragua.
Millennials are particularly enthusiastic
Millennials especially are exploring what it means to be ‘healthy’ by exercising more, smoking and drinking less, eating better, and generally being aware of what their bodies and minds need. Millennials are increasing their spending on fitness and studies on mindfulness have resulted in more awareness around mental health and the effects of stress. Wellness awareness also extends into diet, exercise, medication, sleep routines, and general concepts of self-improvement.
Some hotels already have dedicated wellness programs
Marriott is a good example. For an extra $30 a night, travellers can sleep in a “Stay Well” hotel room at specific Marriott properties across the United States. These rooms offer air purifiers, organic mattresses and anti-microbial countertops, as well as circadian mood lighting, aromatherapy and vitamin C-infused showers for healthier hair and skin.
Guests also get access to a Stay Well app, which has a meditation-training podcast; an innovative jet-lag tool; and sleep, nutrition and stress-management programs.
How can your hotel promote wellness travel
Most hotels already have some existing features or amenities that can be promoted for wellness travel. For instance, if you have a gym it’s easy to set up some classes focusing specifically on a particular aspect of wellbeing. Think meditation, yoga, and pilates.
Traditionally, this might have been all wellness travel entailed but now there’s a huge range of reasons people are taking a healthy break. Consider:
- Stop-smoking retreats
- Men and women’s health retreats
- Healthy mind and emotion getaways
- Detox holidays
- Zen and adrenaline journeys
- Family wellness trips
- Workplace wellness retreats
- Eco-friendly travel
- Post-illness recovery programs
Most of these types of trips can be easily integrated into the existing makeup of your hotel, perhaps with the additional help of other businesses, a new staff member, and new plans and strategies. It shouldn’t incur a large cost for your business and has the potential to unlock new markets, delivering increased bookings and revenue to your hotel. Offering unique packages could be a very effective way to incorporate wellness travel into your property and attract more guests.
While the trend lasts, it’s a worthy one to think about.