Africa Travel Week

8 motivations for booking a wellness trip revealed

Wellness has been a popular trend within the tourism industry for a while now. It allows travellers to use their holidays, and precious time off work, to maintain or improve their health or wellbeing through physical, psychological or spiritual activities, or even launch themselves on a new path to better health.

Recent research by the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) has revealed what consumer travelers are saying are the eight most important motivations when booking a wellness trip as they resume their travel planning.  Anne Dimon, President & CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association, says, “As the industry begins to recover, we know the results of this survey will provide both suppliers and travel advisors with crucial consumer data on motivations for Wellness Vacations post-pandemic.”

From escapism to rejuvenation, let’s take a look at what makes wellness tourism so popular for the close to 4,000 consumers from 48 countries and territories who responded to the survey…

 To return to everyday life feeling rejuvenated

There’s no denying that office life can have a huge impact on our mental and physical wellbeing. A wellness-focused trip can be the perfect way to re-set and return to your usual routine feeling rejuvenated. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this was the most common reason given for booking a wellness vacation in the WTA survey. In fact, 38% of people felt this was their most important motivator when booking a wellness vacation.

To escape the demands of everyday life

Our ‘always on’ culture can be draining. It’s no surprise that burnout is on the rise and an estimated 550 million working days are lost every year due to stress-related absence from work in the US. A wellness-focused break can be just what is needed to help consumers unwind and escape from their daily routines. This was the second most popular motivator for booking a wellness trip, with 26% of people surveyed rating it as important.

To experience activities outdoors

Soft adventure travel is another popular tourism trend that is unlikely to go anywhere soon. Did you know that spending two hours per week soaking up nature gives a positive boost to health and wellbeing? It’s therefore not surprising that 25% of people surveyed felt outdoor activities were important.

Many brands and destinations recognise this, and now offer outdoor activities to travellers who want something more than a relaxing seaside break. For example, hiking expeditions or star gazing can be offered at more remote destinations.

To look and feel better

Who doesn’t love returning from a holiday with that summer glow, or feeling more at home in our bodies? 24% of people surveyed said that looking and feeling better was a motivation for booking a wellness trip. There’s no denying that a vacation focused solely on making us feel good has a positive impact on our mood and helps us to reset when work is stressful.

To connect with nature

Sustainable travel, and holidays that focus on helping us to connect with nature are gaining popularity. After COVID-19 we may also find that more remote, nature-focused trips will surge in popularity. 24% of people said that connecting with nature is important during a wellness trip, so it won’t be surprising if we see more destinations offering remote trips and opportunities to immerse ourselves in the great outdoors.

To find peace and quiet

The modern world can be a loud and relentless place. Especially if your job requires you to spend the majority of the day sat at your laptop! 21% of people said finding peace and quiet was a main motivator for booking a trip. Many destinations and hotels offer packages that help their guests relax and find peace – meditation retreats, spa days and yoga classes.

To get a better night’s sleep

Did you know that 35% of adults don’t get enough sleep? So it’s no surprise that 17% of people surveyed said they seek a good night’s rest when booking a wellness trip. Many hotels will make a huge effort to ensure that their guests get their best night’s sleep during their stay.

For example, the Sleep Inn franchise has partnered with Relax Melodies to offer their guests exclusive access to the premium version of the app.

To learn general ways to improve health

We’re definitely more health-conscious right now, and in a post-coronavirus world it’s likely the focus on health and safety will increase. Hotels and destinations that are able to provide more education on these topics, and demonstrate how they prioritise it, will succeed when it comes to future bookings. 17% of people said this is the most important thing to them when booking a Wellness trip.

In conclusion

The findings of this survey show that there’s a lot of motivators when it comes to booking a wellness vacation/holiday.  Other interesting findings included that over 20% of people would be extremely likely to book a Wellness Vacation within the next two years and over 24% indicated that wellness “could” or “will” be the focus of their next trip.

Anne Dimon points out that “when compared to the 2018 survey with 2,500 plus respondents, the 2020 survey reinforces the importance of nature/the outdoors as a key pillar of Wellness Vacations.”

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.