Back in May of 2020, I contributed a blog asking hospitality brands and destination management organizations this question: Is now the time to embrace wellness tourism? Close to one year later, I’m now asking travel agents and advisors: Are you ready for the coming wellness wave?
Yes. The wellness wave is building momentum and for good reason. The pandemic has made more of us realize the value of good health and the increasing importance of being proactive with our own self-care.
Industry studies show that the main drivers behind the growth of wellness travel are those who already incorporate wellness into their lives and want to take those healthy practices and priorities with them when they travel. As the industry recovers, your clients will certainly be looking to you to help them meet their wellness needs and wants.
While you may not want to cater to this growing market exclusively, you will want to do everything you can to keep your current clients, perhaps even attract new clients. So, why not be prepared?
Here are a few tips:
First of all, familiarize yourself with the lexicon.
Second, know that wellness travel is not all about the spa experience. Also, it’s becoming more accessible, meaning that wellness travel experiences are available in various price categories both with and without spa treatments.
Third, be aware that according to the most recent consumer survey conducted by the Wellness Tourism Association, the most highly-rated motivation for planning a post-pandemic Wellness Vacation is ‘To Return to Everyday Life Feeling Rejuvenated’. This motivation was rated most important across the board by Millennials, Gen X and Boomers.
Industry insiders share these tips:
Rebecca Platt, Corporate Director of Sales & Marketing at SunSwept points out that ”the personalization of wellness is a key driver for guests looking for a wellness trip. It is important to ensure guests receive a personalized program to suit their objectives.”
Gary Orfield, Director of Tourism Development Greater Palm Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau advises that DMOs can help agents with the offer of such opportunities as participating in FAM trips, plus assisting with sourcing local suppliers.
Molly Anderson, Vice President Sales, Canyon Ranch advises agents to use your supplier contacts. “Their job,” she says, “is to provide you with content and information to drive bookings, so don’t be afraid to ask for their help”.
For agents looking to work with groups, Louis Escoto, Director of Transient Sales at Carillon Miami says his property is an example of a supplier that prides itself on providing total flexibility. He says, “private group retreats can be a minimum of just five people, with the entire program totally customized.”
You’ll find more in depth information on all of the above plus more in the new self-guided, online Wellness Travel Specialist Course, a collaboration of The Travel Institute and the Wellness Tourism Association.
Beyond travel agents and advisors, wellness retreat leaders will also benefit from the course as will anyone in the hospitality or tourism industries looking to learn more about the expanding segment.
Dr. Roberta (Bobbie) Klein, CTA, MCC & ECC and member of Travel Leaders Network says “I am a registered dietitian; a licensed nutritionist and a licensed chiropractor, and someone who LOVES being a travel consultant. The course is timely and very well done. The information is spot on, images- all the exercises. Great job”.
Wellness is poised to be front and centre as the tourism industry recovers. Will you be ready?