"It's becoming part of the definition of travel", according to Susie Ellis, president of Spafinder Wellness, Inc. What is it? What is this new trend that seems to be redefining travel?
Here are 10 things you should know about the health and wellness travel trend.
1. It goes beyond fitness
This trend goes beyond installing a treadmill on the second floor of a hotel room and expecting guests to use it before breakfast. It encompasses a whole mindset and lifestyle, focusing not only on the physical but also the spiritual.
2. People want to unplug
The chance to unplug from our "switched on" lives is for many, a true luxury. Travellers often long for a "digital detox", to disconnect with the internet and reconnect with nature and the people around them. The chance to unplug goes beyond disabling WiFi, it has to be done on each traveller's own terms which can sometimes be tricky for tour and activity operators to decipher.
3. Wellness festivals
According to the 2016 Spafinder Wellness 365 Spa and Wellness trends forecast, more and more wellness festivals are popping up around the world. They range from a full meditation and yoga festival to a hybrid of Coachella and a yoga retreat, with complimentary vegan and gluten free breakfasts.
4. Men are getting just as interested as women
In Skift's podcast with Jason Moskal, VP of lifestyle brands at IHG and responsible for EVEN hotels, and Susie Ellis, CEO and Chairman of the Global Wellness Institute on the health and wellness trend, both exclaimed that this trend is not only for women, but men too.
Ellis went on to clarify that, however, in some destinations in Asia, there seems to be more men going in search for health and wellness. My hunch is that safety is a large deterrent for women travellers and that is particularly so for Asian countries, where the language and customs differ greatly from the West.
5. On-demand wellness
Another topic of discussion in the podcast was this idea of on-demand wellness, where a customer is able to book a spa treatment or a massage whenever he or she fancies. Although the idea of on-demand services is not a novel one, the idea that you can book a full wellness programme anytime and anywhere, that is customised to the traveller, is definitely taking the industry to newer heights.
You can alos find out more about this trend on Spafinder's blog.
6. Adrenalin and zen cocktail
Many travellers are opting to pair an adrenalin packed activity like zip lining or white water rafting, with a therapeutic spa or meditation session after. Why? Because the adrenalin from the former activity magnifies the calming and soothing properties of the latter.
7. Growth in health cruising
Going on cruise has always been viewed as luxurious and pairing it with health and wellness seems like a no-brainer. Although many cruises have spas on-board, and perhaps a fancy salad bar too, more and more cruise lines are beginning to incorporate health and wellness programmes into their standard offering.
8. Surfing as a new health and wellness activity
Perhaps the most hipster trend to have invaded the health and wellness scene is the marrying of surfing or paddle boarding with yoga and meditation. The trend has slowly evolved over the last few years, with irresistable offerings at all price points all over the world.
9. People are becoming more conscious about what they eat as well
Needless to say, a big element of the health and wellness trend involves food and the plethora of different eating habits people have. Since travellers are now switching out their medium rare steaks for a vegan version made from cauliflower (what???), the travel industry is going to have to keep up with new eating habits and requirements.
A vegetarian option is not going to cut it anymore, travellers want gluten free, nut free, dairy free and organic. Please.
10. It's going to be the new normal
When asked what this trend was going to look like in the future in Skift's podcast, Jason Moskal commented that the trend is now moving "..beyond the home. It's now becoming part of everyone's life, it's an important aspect of life - nutrition and lifestyle."
In other words, "it's going to explode".
What do you think of this article? How can tour and activity operators adapt their tours for this new style of travelling?
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Published by Nicole Kow
Having graduated from the UK, Nicole travelled around Europe before joining TrekkSoft's marketing team. She is now based in KL and regularly blogs about her travels at Next Train Out.