Research & Studies
According the Westin's Hotel & Resorts 2017 survey, more than half (51 percent) of North American Consumers will focus on wellness during their travels in the year ahead.
There's More to Wellness Tourism than You Think
As Much About Emotional Health
Westin's survey reinforces several earlier key findings that we published in Wellness Travel: Shaping America's Health & Economy. For example, respondents in our study indicated that emotional wellbeing was as important, if not more, than physical health. From a programing, products and services perspective, hotels, suppliers and other businesses seeking to attract wellness travelers should take note of this finding.
Westin defines self-discovery in terms of reconnecting with self through mindfulness. While we did identify "Mind Matters" as one of the top wellness trends of 2014, our Shaping America's Health & Economy respondents reported that connection to oneself, to others and to a higher purpose was imporant as a primary motivation for their wellness travel experience.
Nearly 60 percent of the Westin survey respondents said they want to incorporate self-discovery. A sense of discovery is instumental to experiencing life well.
That's why after a year of research on wellness, positive psychology and motivation and achievement theory, the word "discovery" was incorporated into the definition of wellness tourism published back in WTW's report, Wellness Travel: Shaping America's Health & Economy published in 2014.
Valuing a Break From Work
Our 2013 report, U.S. Vacationers: Health, Happiness & Productivity - An Essential Report For Travel, Hospitalty and Wellness Industries revealed the that vacations lead to better quality of life. These findings correlate with previous research that has shown direct and indirect benefits of vacations focusing on restoration of mind and body and recuperation from mental fatigue.
Personally I think it's great that research from a huge multinational brand like Westin supports and lends creadence to our findings from a number of years ago.
There are a few areas I wish they had taken a bit further. For example, our findings are segmented by gender and age group. In our study, women reported twice as often as men the need to reconnect with themselves by having personal time which is consistent with gender studies showing women actually have fewer minutes of “free time” – both in reality and perception.
How Business Can Leverage These Findings
There has been ongoing research and debate regarding the definition of wellness tourism, as is often the case with emerging, highly focused, specific forms of tourism.
The word “transformation” implies more than just a change, but rather a significant shift or new emotional perspective, especially in the context of vacations. The idea that a vacation can be viewed as transformative is well- studied in research literature.
Having quality time, in a place free from work and distractions from home, clears the mind – allowing big-picture life decisions to be made. Vacations provide an opportunity for people to make important, life-changing decisions.
Since the transformative potential of vacations has been well documented, vacation sellers can use the theory and teachings of how transformations work in order to attract more clients.
Camille Hoheb is the President & Founder of Wellness Tourism Worldwide. A well-respected authority on the newly emerging field of wellness travel, Camille provides thought leadership, market intelligence and training through Wellness Travel Academy and live workshops and keynotes.
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