Why Wellness Is the Next Big Thing in Luxury Travel

Last updated June 19, 2021

While the idea of wellness in travel isn’t something new for us here at Vacayou (we like to think of ourselves as ahead of the pack on this one, founded in 2018 under the official title WWSG Travel LLC), the idea of LUXURY Wellness Travel is fairly new. 

Call it a combination of business strategy and psychology; a few factors are driving this upward trend in the travel sector.  

Pent Up Travel Demand

For those of us who are used to traveling more frequently, being restricted to travel in the past year has been quite an adjustment. 

Humans want what we cannot have, and when told “No” you can’t do something, the inner rebel in us all can kick in to play.

Once bans started lifting, vaccinations were open to the public, and borders started opening, the demand for travel was back in full swing. 

So much so that, according to the Washington Post, “more than 37 million Americans [were] projected to travel this Memorial Day weekend…up 60% compared to this time last year.”

Let the travel flood gates open—safely.

Wellness And Mental Health Is Top Of Mind

Humans are fear-driven when to comes to taking action. Being proactive is the ultimate goal of our health and well-being. However, we don’t always take to that modus operandi.

Coming out of a year where our health was the number one topic of conversation, it’s no wonder that when it comes to travel, that will pour over into the discussion as well. And, hotels have taken notice.

It goes without saying today, hotels need to advertise to their guests—and potential guests—that their well-being is top-of-mind and being taken care of with on-site rooms, amenities, and staffing.

In accordance, the offerings on-site at resorts have expanded since the beginning of the pandemic and earlier last year in 2020. 

Given the time to regroup, plan and implement, and noting the resurgence would come eventually, and that guests would expect health to be a priority, it’s no wonder most hotels now have fitness classes, cleaning stations, specialty waters, COVID testing on-site or nearby, and detox massages or body wraps on their spa menus.

(Saved) Disposable Income

For those who were spending money in the luxury travel market the years before, this was an opportunity to save. Overall, the stock market has done reasonably well overall, with many increasing their earnings in 2020-21 from investments and repurposing funds that were allocated towards expenses to be saved.

In addition, more mature age groups are embracing the YOLO mindset and willing to spend more on travel and at higher-end facilities. 

This age group typically has more money to spend than younger generations; although, millennials are one of the most eager age groups to passport and go right now (myself included).

Higher Profit Margin for Luxe Wellness

Statistically, wellness travelers spend more during their travels than non-wellness travelers. To add to this, in business, you can either make higher profit margins using higher volume and low cost (more guests, lower prices) or lower volume and higher prices (fewer guests, higher prices).

The margins can work out similarly in certain business categories; however, given that the typical wellness traveler is already spending more, my business gut will bank on the fact that the wellness luxury traveler is far more likely to increase the profit margin faster and stronger than the average traveler looking for the cheapest option.

Personally, in an area focused on well-being, I’d prefer quieter, fewer guests, and seek a destination where it’s more spaced out, with fewer people and a greater focus on cleanliness and 5-star standards for health above all—now, and always.

(Are you a wellness traveler at heart as well? 5 ways to tell!)

Bespoke/Unique Experiences In High-demand

Wellness travel has expanded far past being defined as just offering yoga, a free, refillable water bottle and getting a massage. 

Wellness travel now can be defined by the luxury traveler as one-of-a-kind experiences, touring the local lands, cultural explorations and personalized wellness plans. 

Pretty much, it’s keeping up with the Jones’ in wellness traveler offerings, including everything, all, above and beyond when it comes to reaching the next level.

A reminder as well, if you’re used to luxury, you’re used to catering. Unique and bespoke are second languages native to the luxury traveler, seeking new, more significant, and more to story-tell when they return home, sharing with colleagues, friends and family.

Tech-Savvy Offerings

Touch-less key entries, concierge-free check-ins, Whatsapp private butler service, and in-room sleep devices are a few options that are taking wellness to the next tech level. 

With everything at the touch of our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to touch, order, request, and on-demand service with near-frictionless delivery. 

Perfect upgrades for the digital traveler or work-out-of-office entrepreneur looking for a 2-week to 1-month remote office setting.

On that note, if you’re a luxury wellness resort, make sure you have some 5G wifi for those morning Zoom and business meeting streaming calls.

“We could all use a splurge after what we’ve been through. That’s why upscale leisure travel is starting to sprint ahead for a phased, market-by-market recovery”.

Sean O’Neill, Skift

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