Modern Stress Drives Growth of Wellness Vacations.
by Harvey Chipkin March 12, 2012
To tap growing consumer hunger for travel that supports wellness, travel sellers need to discuss vacations in language that speaks to their clients’ motivations, needs and emotional triggers.
That’s the advice from Camille Hoheb, a longtime consultant on health, health care and tourism and a featured speaker at the Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference 2012, June 20-21, at the Phoenician in Scottsdale, Ariz..
Travel Market Report talked with Hoheb about trends in wellness tourism, why travel sellers should take a closer look, and how they can get involved.
What exactly is wellness?
Hoheb: Each person has a unique view of what wellness means to them. It’s an ambiguous term, so it’s incumbent on a travel supplier to understand the motivations and needs of their consumers.
What is the difference between wellness and spa?
Hoheb: Wellness tourism is much greater and more holistic than the spa experience. For example, those with an interest in a spiritual reconnection may be more interested in nature, ecotourism or voluntourism – and not necessarily in spa at all. They might be looking for a walking labyrinth or Qi Gong (an ancient Chinese health care system.) Those come under a broader umbrella.
Why are wellness and travel connected?
Hoheb: As we have learned more about stress-related disease processes, we are focusing more on wellness vacations and why they are important. Vacations are good for health, happiness and productivity. They promote mental health and family bonding. Travel presents an opportunity to decompress from work and the daily stress of life, to get the creative juices flowing.
What’s behind the wellness phenomenon?
Hoheb: Times have changed. The economy has had an impact as people look for different things out of how they spend money. In addition, the advent of social media has resulted in communities of people discussing preventable health conditions and how we can live our lives in a balanced way. If you look at popular culture, shows like Dr. Oz, Dr. Phil and The Biggest Loser are extremely popular; you just didn’t have those kinds of shows in the past. And websites like WebMD have millions of followers.
How can travel sellers tap into the wellness and tourism movement?
Hoheb: Travel sellers should understand emotional triggers and ask open-ended questions about what potential clients are looking for. If a client is interested in wellness or a specific spa, it might be useful to use phrases like “stress-reduction.” As with all travel, that has to be considered in light of budgets, time constraints and the goals of the trip.
What else can travel sellers do?
Hoheb: They can work to shift the cultural situation in the U.S. where vacations are considered a luxury item. We’re one of five countries without legally mandated paid vacation, and over a quarter of workers don’t get any vacation. Even workers who get vacation frequently give it back. It’s important to realize that there are multiple payoffs from travel – the joy of planning it, the actual vacation, and memories that last a lifetime. Transformations happen during vacations; weddings are planned and families are planned, as are retirements. Those plans are typically done during vacation time.
Please, share you thoughts with us. What are looking for your wellness travel experience?
- A genuine wellness travel experience for a healthier lifestyle! (healthcareinasia.com)