Wellness tourism has been a growing trend for several years, but as we emerge cautiously from our shared pandemic stress, loss, and anxiety, the focus on self-care is keen.
As global restrictions ease, the demand for wellness travel continues to swell. Whether it be a yoga retreat, fitness-focused adventures, stress-relieving spa experiences, culinary classes, or survival skills, travelers seek sanctuary and self-reflection.
In a We Travel Academy survey, out of the 87% of study respondents who intend to take a holiday in the next 12 months as restrictions lift, 76% of them said their travel will include a wellness component. *
The Global Wellness Institute defines wellness tourism as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being.”
While personal well-being is different for everyone, hoteliers should take stock of their strengths and specialties. And market them.
These are some of the top destination considerations, and Google searches, for travelers in 2021:
The Call of the Wild: nature-focused destinations are a powerful lure
Most likely we all welcome a change of scenery right now. For many, foreign travel is still a bridge too far. Expanded staycations not too far from home, however, offer escape and exploration with less risk, as seen in the overwhelming 2021 attendance of U.S. national parks by U.S. citizens.
As we come out of our quarantine, and with the rising concern of the Delta variant, many are not yet ready for confined or crowded spaces but still anxious to get out…just not too far from home.
While comfort and trust increase with hotel and air travel, the off-the-beaten-path hike and bike trails, fishing excursions, and birding tours are increasingly desirable. If your property offers any of these, let customers know.
Spa Packages (still popular)
Hotel spas have honed in focus on stress relief. With many of us suffering from psychological or emotional fatigue from the past year, ‘relaxation and self-healing’ remain top priorities (and top online searches) for wellness travelers.
Also, after a year of schlepping around in sweats and self-neglect, anti-aging, detox, and beauty treatments top the list for spa services.
Yoga, Meditation, Nutrition, and Fitness
Many know of Hyatt’s partnership with meditation app Headspace, Hilton’s Five Feet to Fitness guest room concept, and Equinox launching hotels. **
Now, most hotels offer wellness and some extensive fitness packages beyond the spa, even including nutrition consultation and immunity-boosting diet consultation.
As many of us begin to reconnect with extended family, long separated from us during the lockdown, we’re looking for ‘whole family’ vacations that offer something for everyone. Features such as lazy rivers and ziplines for the kids, kayaking and golf for the parents, or any combination of such amenities is a plus for all.
The multi-generational market is forecast to become more popular in 2021 and 2022.
Yes, we baked bread, we attempted gardening and painting, and some of us really liked it.
Culinary courses, art classes, and nutritional education are also popular searches in wellness travel.
Small Hotels can make Small Improvements
While major brand hotels know the importance of the wellness market, smaller properties can take simple steps to relieve stress for your customers:
- Increase on-demand booking and flexible cancellation policies
- Be Hassle-Free by simplifying check-in, check-out, and billing protocol
- Highlight your safety and security standards for customer comfort
“De-stress” your property:
- Minimize distracting noise with ambient sound or soft music
- Minimize harsh light in rooms with blackout curtains, or light dimmers. And fix those flickering fluorescents!
- Add aromatherapy to common spaces
Remember, re-entry into the new normal is a tender time for travelers and businesses alike. A little extra care and communication can go a long way to calm return visitors and entice new ones.