Wellness Tourism: Creating Better Experiences, Increasing Revenue & Boosting Brands

By Camille Hoheb Managing Director, Wellness Tourism Worldwide | July 08, 2018

There's no disputing that wellness has moved from a trendy travel category to an industry powerhouse, changing the way airports, airlines, hotels and destination marketers respond to customer's physical and emotional needs and expectations. This article is based on previous research with important insights from other industry thought leaders along with a few new insights of my own. As a new travel category, it's still evolving and being shaped; therefore this is a critical time for wellness tourism. How it is understood NOW, will have a lasting impact on how it is being developed and promoted, affecting consumers, businesses, destinations and their communities.

Outdated Views of Wellness Tourism Require A New Perspective

Recent articles suggest that spas provide fragmented and disconnected services with a cookie cutter approach to programs. "Wellness washing" has crept up as a threat by labeling products and services as wellness, when they are not, as was the case when a major spa marketing company touted "wellness deals" including bikini waxes and hair color.

Prevailing definitions are already outdated. Take for example, "Wellness tourism is travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining one's personal wellbeing" focusing on a single person, reinforcing one dimension, when in fact, wellness is multi-dimensional. Humans are social animals, requiring connection to thrive. Loneliness is now considered a great danger to personal health and a growing threat to community wellness. Wellness is about how we relate to ourselves, to others and to the planet.

Introducing A New Definition Of Wellness Tourism

To move away from an outdated self-centered approach in a manner that addresses wellness as fully-functioning in the world, I'd like to introduce a new definition of wellness tourism based on a year-long review of wellness concepts, positive psychology, motivation theory and achievement theory, first published in Wellness Travel: Shaping America's Health & Economy.

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Coming up in January 2019...

Mobile Technology: The Future is Now

Mobile Technology continues to advance at a relentless pace and the hotel industry continues to adapt. Hotel guests have shown a strong preference for mobile self-service - from checking-in/out at a hotel kiosk, to ordering room service, making dinner reservations, booking spa treatments, and managing laundry/dry cleaning services. And they also enjoy the convenience of paying for these services with smart phone mobile payments. In addition, some hotels have adopted a “concierge in your pocket” concept. Through a proprietary hotel app, guests can access useful information such as local entertainment venues, tourist attractions, event calendars, and medical facilities and services. In-room entertainment continues to be a key factor, as guests insist on the capacity to plug in their own mobile devices to customize their entertainment choices. Mobile technology also allows for greater marketing opportunities. For example, many hotels have adopted the use of “push notifications” - sending promotions, discounts and special event messages to guests based on their property location, purchase history, profiles, etc. Near field communication (NFC) technology is also being utilized to support applications such as opening room doors, earning loyalty points, renting a bike, accessing a rental car, and more. Finally, some hotels have adopted more futuristic technology. Robots are in use that have the ability to move between floors to deliver room service requests for all kinds of items - food, beverages, towels, toothbrushes, chargers and snacks. And infrared scanners are being used by housekeeping staff that can detect body heat within a room, alerting staff that the room is occupied and they should come back at a later time. The January Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in this exciting mobile technology space.