Travel Agents Report the Rise of Wellness Travel

The latest wellness travel trends according to travel agents By: Mindy Poder
Agents are reporting a surge in wellness travel. // © 2015 iStock
Agents are reporting a surge in wellness travel. // © 2015 iStock

The Details

Spafinder Wellness

Travel agents surveyed for Spafinder Wellness 365’s eighth-annual “2015 State of Wellness Travel Report” noted huge gains for wellness travel. The majority of agents (86 percent) stated that they expect growth in the wellness travel category, which is the best outlook the survey has ever reported.

Why It Matters:
Agents responded that 51 percent of clients still don’t use the term “wellness” when describing their dream trips, but don’t be fooled: 71 percent of agents stated that consumers have become savvier about wellness due to stress and other factors. This is a clear sign that travel focused on maintaining or enhancing well-being is increasingly becoming one of the preferred outcomes of a travel experience. Agents should study up on what the survey found to be the most important elements to a wellness destination because most respondents agree: These clients are willing to pay a premium. 

Fast Facts:
- A second report looking at the demographics of the wellness traveler is in the works.

- Agents agreed that a variety of factors are contributing to the growth of wellness including: increased overall consumer concern with health and wellness; people’s rising stress levels; increased knowledge of, and media attention about, wellness travel as a category; more wellness-focused vacation properties, with more diverse offerings and price ranges; people working harder, having less time for vacations; and an aging population.

- More than 50 percent of agents reported that 20 percent or less of their total wellness travel booked is mostly spa-focused.

- Agents are mixed about whether they should charge special fees for booking wellness travel, with only 18 percent already charging a fee.

- Agents ranked “luxury spa resort, with focus on relaxation/stress-reduction” as the No. 1 most appealing type of property.

- The West Coast is the fastest-growing U.S. destination for spa and wellness bookings, with the Southwest and Hawaii trailing behind.

- The majority of agents (98 percent) agreed that the industry needs more education about training about wellness travel options.

What They Are Saying:
“The ‘2015 State of Wellness Travel Report’ makes it clear that significant growth in this travel sector is underway—and this growth is expanding in directions far beyond luxury spas, and in far more global regions.”