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In this issue’s cover story, “Traveling Well,” Assistant Editor Mindy Poder looks at the growing trend of well-being travel. As the story points out, this is not the same as medical tourism, nor is it simply a matter of booking a spa appointment. These days, well-being travel is a niche market all its own.
Before you groan and decide that this sounds like more work than it’s worth, keep in mind that well-being travel touches upon several major trends. First, the epidemic of obesity and diabetes in this country has become a major health crisis and, as I’m sure you already hear from your clients, you can’t take a vacation from diabetes. Health regimens need to be adhered to even while traveling, and agents are asked to keep health issues in mind when planning trips. Second, as baby boomers are proving, senior citizens are in better health and are more active today than at any other time in history — and they are concerned about staying that way. Finally, the way younger generations think about the link between inner happiness and lifestyle is much different from previous generations. The relationship between lifestyle, stress, diet and happiness is at the core of well-being travel. If you want to remain profitable in the future, then it is advisable to look into serving these younger consumers through well-being itineraries.
One place to start is with Well-Being Travel (www.well-beingtravel.com), which is a sister company of TravelSavers. Well-Being Travel is dedicated to medical tourism and wellness vacations and, in June, it reached out to travel agents as part of American Marketing Group’s annual conferences in Scottsdale, Ariz., with the first annual Well-Being and Medical Travel Conference. You can read more about the brand in the cover story.
Agents should know by now that not every traveler wants to sit on a beach with a fruity cocktail in hand. As part of the initial conversation with clients, travel agents should be asking about fitness, health and well-being routines. At the very least, it will show that you care enough to ask.