The term wellness travel has always been difficult to define, in part because it is continually evolving. In the broadest sense, wellness travel is an intentional decision to choose destinations that deliver positive, results-driven outcomes for health and well-being. Here are some of the features, amenities and characteristics that wellness travelers are seeking towards those ends this year.
Social Connectivity. At the most recent Global Wellness Summit, one of the key topics was solving the so-called “loneliness pandemic.” Social isolation stemming from COVID-19 continues to be a concern and has led many people to look for wellness experiences that support and encourage interaction with others. While wellness in the past has tended towards digital and private, curated options, today’s wellness takes place in a social, club-like atmosphere.
Water-Based Activities. Industry experts have reported an explosion of interest in “wild swimming,” which occurs in a pond, river, lake, or even the ocean during the cold season. Hotels are providing guided wild swimming excursions as well as fitness, dining and therapeutic services that are oriented towards the water. Hot springs and other natural spa resorts have also been popular in 2023.
Fitness. Nutrition classes, sports retreats, outdoor recreation and a variety of exercise offerings will continue to attract wellness travelers this year. Successful hotels should strive for fitness facilities, coaching and activities that visitors can’t get anywhere. The goal is for guests to workout (and recover) better than they do at home.
Destination-Specific Programming. Wellness travelers are seeking authentic experiences, local culture, and a sense of place wherever they decide to go. Whether your property is located in the mountains, desert, or a city, consider what makes the destination unique for visitors arriving from outside the area. Inclusive practices that promote indigenous and other local communities can be especially effective.
Environmental Well-Being. Travelers understand that their personal wellness is inextricably tied to the health of the community and the environment around them. Initiatives that focus on sustainable food sources and reducing food waste seem to be top of mind for travelers this year. These efforts have the added benefits of reducing costs for the hotels and resorts that choose to adopt them.