Wellness is a global industry worth over $4.5 trillion: travel brands are ideally positioned to leverage changing consumer attitudes to increase loyalty and attract new revenue. As the only law firm with a dedicated Wellness sub-sector, we know that it's far from a passing trend. All major sectors, from Life Sciences to Tech, Retail to Healthcare, are experiencing consumer led change which is driven by the desire to be healthier, happier and more sustainable. Travel is no exception: the Wellness Tourism market was valued at $6.4bn in 2017 and has seen year on year growth ever since.
How is Wellness impacting travel?
The face of travel is changing, and at a rapid pace. Trends visible in the everyday consumer experience (increased personalisation, experience over consumption, ethical and eco-friendly policies) are increasingly filtering down into consumer expectations around travel. No longer satisfied with an all-inclusive one size fits all approach, consumers are desperate to maximise their precious time into memorable experiences which allow them to maintain (or improve) their existing nutrition and fitness routines, seek out new destinations or curated experience or 'reset' from digital overload, all whilst minimising their carbon footprint and reducing waste. Aptly summarized by the Global Wellness Institute 2018 report on the Global Wellness Tourism, "Wellness tourism is about much more than where people visit and what they do while on a trip — it is an extension of the values and lifestyle of the traveler."
Wellness travel is not just for digital nomads, eco-warriors or millennials searching for the perfect social media post. For the business traveler, optimising productivity in flight and arriving well rested and nourished (especially when travelling long haul) have become the focus. Products and services which allow frequent flyers to improve their performance when away and mitigate downtime after a trip are in high demand.
Where should businesses start?
Wellness represents a significant opportunity for businesses throughout the travel sector but we know taking that first step can be daunting. Change must align with the overall brand strategy and cannot come overnight: new offerings need to be implemented carefully to ensure they don't alienate the existing client base and to avoid skepticism around the motivation for the change.
Change doesn't have to be overwhelming. For hotels, providing in-room yoga equipment, tailored welcome packs or options to stream meditation or digital fitness classes on TV leaves clients free to choose whether or not to engage. For any business providing food and drink, adapting to dietary preferences and offering attractive non-alcoholic alternatives goes a long way to leave a positive lasting impression. For transport firms, being upfront about carbon emissions and waste reduction is turning into a non-negotiable, as consumers across all demographics wish to play their part in slowing climate change.