Travel Agents Should Be in the Wellness Travel Business

Travel agents can find success by helping clients with their self-actualization goals By: Kenneth Shapiro
Shapiro // © 2017 TravelAge West
Shapiro // © 2017 TravelAge West

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Okay, I admit it: Sometimes when I hear about wellness travel, it’s all I can do not to roll my eyes. While I believe in the importance of life balance and the power of the mind in relation to the body, getting onboard with it all just doesn’t come naturally to me. (I’m part of a cynical generation. I blame it on Watergate.) However, despite my hesitation, my rational brain also understands that wellness travel is a fast-growing megatrend.

“The Future of Luxury Travel,” a recent report from Sabre Hospitality Solutions in collaboration with TrendWatching, does a great job of examining some of the motivations behind wellness travel. The report focuses on five key trends impacting luxury travel in the years ahead, including what it calls “The Quintessential Self.” The theory is that we now encounter evermore amazing products and opportunities in our everyday lives, so the only way to have a truly meaningful, unique vacation is to turn inward and create travel experiences that are focused on something most people generally don’t have time for — becoming better people.

As the report points out, this form of wellness travel can include a helicopter trip to do yoga in a pristine area of the Nevada desert; a stay at a monastery-turned-wellness-retreat in Quebec that features a silent breakfast and meditation; or a guided, personalized run through the streets of Milan accompanied by a professional Nike coach. All of these activities are examples of a new type of luxury, where travelers are provided with unique opportunities and expert guidance to help craft the best version of themselves. And, as you’ll read in the cover story, “In Harmony’s Way” (page 16), Bali in particular offers many opportunities for this type of luxurious self-actualization.

“The Future of Luxury Travel” report also offers this data point from the Global Wellness Institute: Global wellness tourism revenue grew 14 percent between 2013 and 2015, twice as fast as overall tourism, and it’s predicted that the category will grow another 37.5 percent — to $808 billion — by 2020. So, as more travelers seek out experiences and products that enhance their well-being, be sure to ask yourself how your agency is going to help them in their quest.

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