Wellness travelers are different than traditional travelers, both in their expectations and their intrinsic motivation.
Wellness travelers aren’t motivated by the same things that other travelers might be. They’re probably less interested in seeing famous tourist sites, or spending money on fancy restaurants – unless they’re ethically run and locally sourced. According to The Hotel Yogini Founder, Marisa Paska,
“Wellness travelers are looking for authentic experiences, connections with the local community, outdoor activities and self discovery.”
In terms of authentic experiences, wellness travelers want to get an idea of what life is really like where they are visiting. They might be less interested in guided tours or locations where only other tourists go. Rather than taking a bus tour to see the sights and a meal at a fancy restaurant, a better offering for wellness travelers might be a bicycle ride through a local village, followed by a traditional-style group lunch.
Beyond being eager to connect with the local community, wellness travelers are looking for a way in which they can contribute. This can be as simple as making sure meals and toiletries are locally sourced, to providing opportunities for guest to volunteer with a local school or organization. This can create lifelong memories and a lasting emotional connection to a community or place, which is very powerful.
Wellness travelers are looking for sustainable travel experience – but lets not kid, they are still on holiday to get something for themselves. That something, is most frequently self growth. This means that they are often in some way at a turning point or a crossroads, which can make them vulnerable or unsure, especially when out of their comfort zone and away from home. According to Ms. Paska,
“It’s vitally important that staff recognize this, and go out of their way to make people feel supported and cared for during their stay.
Wellness travelers do not expect to be waited on hand and foot- in fact, contributing is often a very successful part of wellness holidays. However, they do expect to be attended to emotionally; which might be a bigger task than you or your staff is used to taking on. When your participating in deep wellness practices, the subsequent reaction can often be intense.
Does the Market Really Matter?
In short, Yes. The wellness travel market is growing 50% faster than the rest of the travel industry – that’s huge.
Lets put that into numbers.
According to the Examiner, yoga is a $27 billion dollar industry with more than 32 million practitioners in the US alone- worldwide, it’s estimated to be an $80 billion industry. Most yoga participants have a high spending power – for example, over 30% of Yoga Journal’s readership has an income of over $100,000 per year.
And that’s JUST yoga.
This translates into a huge market for wellness travel. Wellness travel is one of the fastest growing segments in the travel industry, but it seems that no one has set out guidelines as to how travel companies and hotels ought to be adapting to reach this incredibly valuable client base.
Working with a wellness travel consultant, we can figure out what this means for you and your business. We’ll provide the training and know-how to make sure your staff is prepared for whatever comes up, and that your guests will grow feeling loved, happy and excited to come back for a second, third and forth visit.Get in touch today to find out more.