Personalization, demand for urban wellness centers, and a focus on outdoor and natural getaways are prevalent factors driving the weight loss/wellness travel market in the United States. Some factors like word of mouth, guest reviews, and serenity, are vital in the consumer decision-making process relative to the wellness travel market. 63% of wellness traveler decisions are influenced by "word of mouth," while 45% of wellness travelers depend on "past guest reviews" to choose a destination.
A). Factors Driving the Weight Loss/Wellness Travel Market in the US
- Between 2015 and 2017, the wellness tourism industry's market size grew from $563 billion to $639 billion. The wellness tourism industry will increase to $919 billion by 2022. The demand for personalization or "customized trip lengths" will account for the wellness travel industry's significant growth.
- While some people require long trips, others are seeking shorter trips that are more frequent. New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont is leaning towards the personalization trend. New Life Hiking Spa recently saw a 90% increase in the number of its guests demanding to stay beyond two weeks, which prompted it to update its offerings to include a 21-night retreat.
- Several weight-loss retreat participants see the need for personalization and plan their trips ahead of time. A South Carolina weight-loss resort (Hilton Head Health) has decided to allow its customers to customize their trips several days before their visit. Several visitors see customization as an avenue to stick to their long-term weight-loss (wellness) commitment and opt for trips with shorter duration coming up two to four times every year.
- 20% of weight-loss retreat participants who have patronized Hilton Head Health, CA, customize or plan future visits before leaving.
- Through retreats that are increasingly becoming popular across the United States, Spa gateways provide customizable well-being programs designed to suit the individual needs of guests seeking personalization. With rising demand from millennials, personalization will become more prominent within the health and wellness tourism sector.
- The United States is the most famous health and wellness tourism location. Its wellness tourism locations received 47.5 million tourists in 2019. One of the factors driving this fame is the rising demand for urban wellness. Tourists often travel to spas in towns and cities across the United States, searching for urban wellness centers.
- Many people believe that wellness starts from within the human body and moves outwards. In 2020 and beyond, wellness consumers continued focusing on inner healing despite the rising cost. Wellness travelers are gaining more access to nearby locations as new urban wellness resorts spring up to offer alternative therapies such as Reiki therapies and energy medicines for inner healing.
- Modern life has become more stressful. To reduce the stress required to travel far, organizations that once offered traditional retreats in faraway destinations now provide new centers closer to urban clients. The ease of access to these new and nearby urban wellness centers offering wellness retreats enhances the growth of the wellness travel industry.
- Aman and Six Senses are some industry players creating more local wellness travel opportunities. They are shortening local travel distances by opening new wellness-centric properties in urban centers (New York).
- According to We Travel (a San Francisco-based platform for travel-related payments), the wellness tourism industry will experience significant growth. The focus on outdoor and natural getaways is responsible for the expansion of the wellness tourism industry.
- Several city dwellers feel they don't spend adequate time in natural environments or out of their offices. Consequently, they see the need to leverage retreats or trips to natural places and get outside.
- The benefits of staying in natural environments are enormous. Scientific data proves that traveling or staying outdoors reduces depression and stress. Sunshine, in combination with fresh air, helps people purify their minds and lungs. When combined with beautiful natural environments that encourage discovery and exploration, wellness travelers believe they have immense benefits.
- Several wellness centers visited by tourists and on the top 15 domestic Spas have incorporated outdoor fitness programs. The Ojo Santa Fe (or Sunrise Springs Resort and Spa) in New Mexico is famous among travelers and offers outdoor activities in natural hot springs. It has walking trails and 70-acre space for outdoor activities.
- Inactivity is known to cause several problems experienced by the human body. These problems have pushed people to embark on journeys with a focus on staying active. This quest is one of the prominent factors promoting the wellness travel industry.
- Wellness trips attract consumers based on their designs. These programs get designed to help people make frequent significant alterations to their lifestyle to remain active.
- The wellness travel industry's market size is experiencing substantial growth due to the enormous amount of travelers seeking ways to incorporate wellness activities into their journey. "Secondary" travelers seeking out ways to integrate wellness activities in their standard leisure or business journey account for 86% of the earnings in the wellness travel industry.
- Primary travelers (individuals seeking immersive wellness-centered activities, experiences, or destinations as their main reason for traveling) account for 14% of all spending in the wellness tourism industry. These primary wellness travelers spend 178% more at the domestic level than the average traveler.
- Equinox is a US-based fitness club well-known for its luxurious amenities and enormous membership costs (often over $3,000 per year). It has keyed into the values of primary wellness travelers by incorporating activities that offer a holistic, luxurious wellness experience for the bodies, stomachs, minds, and souls of affluent travelers.
- 25% of wellness travelers are seeking adventure-based activities.
- The demand for wellness travel from individuals seeking the betterment of their spirit drives the wellness travel industry's growth.
- 25% of wellness travelers are engaging in travel to enhance their spiritual journey.
- Primary wellness travelers are most likely to chose a trip because of its spiritual wellness offerings. This preference is especially true for people who engage in location-based, immersive yoga or meditation retreats.
- Ojo Santa Fe (previously known as Sunrise Springs Resort and Spa) in New Mexico, Southwestern United States, is a prevalent option among travelers seeking "a more spiritual getaway."
- Wellness travelers engage in wellness travel because of the numerous benefits they feel it has on their physical and mental health. 49% do so because they believe it helps them adjust or reboot their focus on health and well-being. 47% do so to de-stress and relax, 34% to improve their mental wellness, 28% to maintain their current health and well-being.
- Breckenridge offers a five-day adventure wellness retreat for travelers. The wellness retreat gives individuals with mental strength and helps them "find inner peace."
Urban Wellness Centers
Focus on Outdoor and Natural Getaways
Desire to Improve Activity
Physical and Mental Health Benefits
B). Factors Affecting Consumers' Location-Based Decision-Making Processes
- Word of mouth affects the decision-making process for 63% of wellness travelers.
- 45% of wellness travelers depend on "past guest reviews" when making travel-destination decisions. Some essential guest review items include serenity, available classes, programs, and lectures, relaxation-centered activities, among other deliverables.
- "More travelers" prefer serene wellness destinations when visiting cities.
- A review of the preferences of wellness travelers visiting Palmetto Bluff (South Carolina), Langham (New York), Carefree (Arizona), Great Smoky Mountains, and other locations reveals that "iconic wellness destination" preferences of travelers are affected by the serenity of a place.
- Wellness travelers are likely to opt for a particular location if it offers a flexible wellness journey. 58% of wellness travelers prefer a semi-structured consumer journey, 32% prefer a completely unstructured customer journey, while 11% are likely to opt for a fully structured wellness program.
- At least three-quarters of adults in America actively seek ways to promote their health. Most of these people opt for incremental changes in their health management and often consider luxury experiences like wellness travel. When opting for wellness travel, these American adults believe that "accessibility is key."
- The choice of wellness travelers has expanded beyond exotic destinations to cover major urban centers. More travelers are opting for nearby locations that are close to cities. Not everyone is capable of getting themselves to "remote island resort[s]."
- 82% of wellness travelers in the United States facilitate their journey via domestic routes.
- To improve accessibility and reduce travel distance for customers in the United States, Aman (based in Tokyo) and Six Senses (in Singapore) decided in 2019 to open wellness resorts in New York City by 2020. Aman has delayed opening its New York office due to the pandemic but is "set to debut next spring" within the iconic Crown Building.
- The availability of bundle pricing options determines whether consumers will select a wellness travel destination. They often consider locations where several services or products like sound baths, group meditation, and body-weight training are included (bundled together) in the daily fee.
- Civana Wellness Resort & Spa offers holistic wellness experiences as a bundle to several travelers. This bundle provides an excellent value for girls.
- The Lake House on Canandaigua in New York has keyed into this consumer preference to offer attractive bundles. The resort has several wellness experiences and activities on offer ranging from guided meditations and candlelight yoga classes to Snowga. Its "Residence Redefined" retreat is currently running from December 2020 to February 28th with discounts ("four nights [go] for the price of three.")
Word of Mouth
Bundle Pricing Options
C). Key Factors That Make a Destination Desirable
- A natural environment is an essential factor that makes a destination desirable to wellness travelers. These travelers feel their trip is "all about nature."
- 70% of wellness travelers desire a location that is "connected to nature." Most people living in busy cities always need a place devoid of the bright lights associated with their cities. Hence, the need for urban-wellness-resorts which is on the rise, cannot be over-emphasized.
- 33% of wellness travelers choose locations that promote outdoor activities. Eco-friendly environments that focus on sustainability are preferred by 30%, while places that promote a local culture meet the preference of 28%.
- 50% of wellness travelers desire locations that offer quality fresh local cuisines.
- Consumers consider obtainable results among vital factors that make a wellness travel destination desirable.
- Situated in California, the Pearl Laguna, Laguna Beach has a score of 96.95 on a scale of 100 based on consumer views. After comparing all the United States' wellness properties, none stand out to reviewers like the Pearl Laguna. This unique position is because the Pearl Laguna offers retreats known to deliver results.
- Based on past results, some visitors that have visited the Pearl Laguna up to four times are still willing to patronize it in the future. A visit to the Pearl Laguna results in a renewed sense of health accompanied by well-being in everyday life.
- 35% of wellness travelers desire destinations with Spa services.
- The availability of quality practitioners makes a location desirable to 31% of wellness travelers.
- 22% of wellness tourists prefer sites that offer meditation or mindfulness programs. 20% desire locations that provide natural therapies such as Ayurveda, Acupuncture, or Herbal medicines. 25% prefer places with adventure-based activities.
- People living in buzzing, busy cities always yearn for beautifully crafted green spaces. These spaces provide a serene sanctuary void of the noise associated with cities all year.
- The availability of gym instructors, doctors, and local wellness experts plays a significant role in the decision-making process.
- 21% of wellness travelers reveal that they decide to visit a location because of the presence of a gym, doctor, or local wellness expert that they trust
- 16% of wellness travelers decide to visit a place because it has an award-winning status.
- 10% of wellness travelers are influenced by a celebrity, guru, or wellness social media influencer when deciding to visit a location.
- 21% of wellness travelers are influenced by the availability of special offers or promotions, while 24% utilize social media comments to decide.
- 12% of wellness travelers are influenced by tourism authorities, while 11% decide based on the availability of a wellness travel show or festivals.