As the world’s borders slowly start reopening to leisure travelers, many hospitality professionals have an eye towards wellness tourism as a way to increase bookings with health-minded consumers.
But, what is wellness tourism? Often confused with medical or health tourism (travel for the sake of seeking a medical treatment or procedure related to a specific ailment or diagnosis), wellness tourism is travel with the intention of maintaining or increasing one’s wellbeing. Far from being a pandemic-related trend, The Global Wellness Institute estimates that wellness tourism contributes nearly $700 billion to the global tourism market and, since 2017, has been growing twice as fast as tourism in general.
Another misconception about wellness tourism is that the industry is centered around destinations such as spas and mountaintop wellness retreats. In fact, the wellness tourism umbrella encompasses a wide variety of businesses including health food stores, yoga instructors and other fitness professionals, acupuncturists, massage therapists…even tour guides who offer treks into the great outdoors are considered to be a part of this industry that places an emphasis on the mind-body-planet connection.
As a health and wellness professional, you may be wondering how you can market your services to travelers who are intentionally seeking a restorative holiday. Here are a few of our favorite ways to promote your practice to wellness travelers and increase bookings…
Partner with a small, local boutique hotel. Most small hoteliers place a huge emphasis on providing exceptional, personalized service to their guests and are always considering exclusive opportunities that will increase their own value. Consider what unique offering you can provide…private, beachfront yoga? A food tour showcasing the best plant based options in your town? In-room sleep therapy? The possibilities are limitless.
Team up with another wellness professional (or two!) to create packages. Combine marketing budgets and double (or triple) your exposure by teaming up with other wellness professionals who offer complimentary services. Be sure to offer robust, value-packed multi-day packages. Marketing these packages to locals seeking a staycation is also a great way to increase bookings.
Reach out to your official local or state tourism boards. Most local and state visitors association websites now have a section dedicated to wellness tourism and quite a few still publish brochures or magazines. Advertising rates can, of course, vary greatly but there are usually at least a few affordable options.
Sponsor local events. If you’ve got a well attended event in your area (such as a marathon) that attracts out-of-towners, consider sponsoring the event. These types of events garner a significant amount of attention and attract hundreds (if not thousands) of wellness-minded potential clients to your area.
Have you ever travelled specifically to enhance your own wellness? Let us know all about it in the comments below!