Much in part to the global pandemic, health and wellness has never been more at the forefront of our everyday lives. Each and every one of us is placing a greater importance on our own personal health and safety. For many, the concept of personal health thru proactive self-care has become, and will continue to be, a new core value in our lives. And, many will want to carry this new priority along with them as the industry begins its slow and steady journey to recovery.
What that boils down to is that an increasing number of your clients will want to include some form of “wellness” into their travels. This could be as simple as seeking out more remote locations so they can spend time in nature enjoying nature-based fitness activities including walking, swimming, hiking and kayaking. On the other hand, some clients will want to make “health and wellness” the focus of their upcoming travels but will not know where to begin. They will be reaching out to savvy agents who can help. You will want to be ready.
Here are a few things to keep in mind as you prepare for the coming wellness wave:
#1. Just like the word ”wellness,” the term “wellness travel” does not mean the same thing to everyone. Neither do the terms “wellness retreat” or “wellness vacation/holiday.” You need to educate yourself, before you can educate your client. At the Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) our overriding mission is education. To that end, we launched the first glossary of industry definitions in 2018.
#2. Don’t try to be something you are not. Walk the talk. Be passionate about wellness and ready to enthuse its multiple benefits.
#3. Know your client(s). Are they budget conscious or more luxury minded? There was a time when wellness was considered to be a luxury product, but today with an increasing number of suppliers jumping into the “waters of wellness,” you can find wellness type offerings in all price categories.
#4. Compile a list of products you can sell with confidence. If you are new to the wellness space, a good place to begin searching out product is with the WTA directory where you’ll find a “supplier” category. Of course, not all will be suitable for all your clients’ objectives and budgets but it’s a good place to begin accumulating a list of products. Whenever possible, personal visits to garner first-hand knowledge is important and will often help “seal the deal.”
#5. Listen to your clients and ask the right questions. Clients might not even realize that they are looking for wellness. But if you listen carefully to what they are telling you, their words might give you a few clues. Comments that include phrases such as “stressed out,” “needing time for self,” “looking for ways to reboot” might signal that they are prime candidates for a wellness-focused trip. And, when it comes to questions, ask, ‘what is the top “must have?’” If the trip is totally wellness-focused, what is their main goal or objective?
#6. Be familiar with the latest trends and new developments in the industry. Pre-pandemic, a few of the top travel trends, according to WTA members, were “solo travel,” “longer stays” (up to several weeks in some cases), “mental health-focused retreats” and “demand for specific solutions” (include weight loss and stress management). While we do not know exactly what trends and developments will establish themselves as the industry begins to recover, many are predicting a gravitation toward less-congested regions of the world with easy access to nature.
#7. Use wellness messaging to engage with clients and potential clients. For instance, include a wellness section on your website, incorporate wellness-focused posts on social media and communicate the wellness theme via newsletters or e-mails to any clients who show interest (or potential interest) in maintaining or improving their health.