Why Wellness Tourism Should Be Part of a Destination’s Marketing Strategy

Wellness tourism

Wellness has many dimensions—physical, mental, holistic—and means something different to everyone. Regardless of how wellness takes root, it’s becoming more of a focus in society overall, and the tourism industry has taken note. While not all travelers seek trips solely centered around wellness, which may include immersive yoga retreats or digital detox experiences, everyday travelers are looking to ensure they’re able to maintain a lifestyle of wellness during their trips.

While its growth has been slow and steady over the last decade, there has been a rapid increase in wellness tourism in the last year. The Global Wellness Institute sites more than 830 million wellness trips took place in 2017, compared to 691 million trips in 2015. Additionally, wellness tourists spend 50 to 180 percent more on trips than the average tourist. With the industry growing nearly seven percent each year, destinations and their DMOs/CVBs should spend time thinking strategically about the ways they can incorporate wellness into their marketing strategies and overall experience.

Traditional wellness destinations—places like Sedona, Ariz., and Palm Springs, Calif.—offer dozens of experiences to help someone focus their vacation on their own wellbeing. But even cities that aren’t known for their relaxation-filled getaways have an opportunity to join the wellness travel conversation. Most travelers will not be looking for a trip that’s 100-percent focused on wellness, but rather, want to know that they can keep up with their workout regimen or meditation journey while on the road.

Hotel and Wellness Brand Partnerships 

Many hotels and resorts are jumping into wellness head-first by partnering with relevant brands to offer guests something outside of the average hotel fitness center experience. The most notable is luxury fitness brand Equinox, which has branched out into hotels. With plans to open lodging properties and host luxury wellness tours, the gym-turned-lifestyle travel brand is aiming to make wellness a must-have for the hotel industry. Other brand partnerships include Westin and Peloton, Marriott and Nora Tobin, the Fairmont and Reebok, and Kimpton Hotels and PUBLIC Bikes.

Wellness in Meetings and Events 

Gone are the days where a quick morning 5K run is enough to keep attendees feeling healthy and satisfied during a conference. As people become more conscious of their health, overall, they want that experience to extend to all parts of their lives—meetings included.

When building out a social campaign around meetings, it’s important to incorporate how the destination allows attendees to keep up with their fitness routines and stay physically and mentally healthy while traveling for work.

Wellness is becoming a bigger part of everyday life, and hospitality leaders and event planners must focus on finding innovative ways to incorporate the lifestyle meaningfully into their marketing campaigns. Whether a destination is known for its wellness offerings, or it’s a smaller part of the city’s overall experience, travelers are looking to DMOs to highlight the ways they can keep up their wellness routine even away from home.