Does everyone seem stressed out these days?
Well, that may be so. But not even taking a travel break always alleviates it. How many people have you heard come back from a trip and declare, “I need a vacation from my vacation!”
That’s because travel itself can cause difficult situations that make people feel like staying home may not have been such a bad idea. Transportation delays or cancellations, mishaps with accommodations, rude customer service and disappointing and overcrowded sightseeing all add up to a less-than-ideal experience for travelers.
People also want to have something more personally transformative, and travel often starts that road to change. “Voluntourism” allows for travelers to journey somewhere and participate in activities that help environmental or humanitarian causes.
So it doesn’t come as any surprise that wellness travel has been named as one of the top travel trends for 2014, according to the industry publication TravelAge West. While all travel should ultimately be about relaxation and renewal, having these types of travel offerings practically assures this will happen for customers.
Here are some of the specifics this article highlighted:
- Trips that focus on stress reduction and mindfulness (think yoga and meditation) retreats
- Community-based exploration, avoiding the usual tourist attractions
- Sustainable food tourism, including cooking classes, local marketing and agricultural practices
- “Slow travel,” to emphasize the experience rather than how much can be crammed into an itinerary
- Spa-rebranding, where these places aren’t just catering to the wealthy, but provide a wellness opportunity for more travelers.
As an adventure travel provider, your company could combine any of these elements into your current vacation offerings and enhance your clients’ vacation experience. And it wouldn’t be that difficult to do. Some companies like Backroads have already done this for years.
Say you offer bike trips in the south of France. Think about the above list, and which would most logically combine with your vacations. Here’s an example from each:
- After a long day pedaling on the road, allow travelers to take a yoga class to stretch out their muscles.
- Once your groups arrive at a certain destination, take them to a part of town to live like a local and enjoy a meal off the beaten tourist path.
- Offer an optional cooking class on regional French cuisine, or a local’s tour of the village market.
- Stay a few days in one village or town, and do “hub and spoke” travel to nearby places and points of interest.
- Partner with a local spa to allow clients to take advantage of massages or other treatments after a long day of cycling.
There’s really no limit to the ways your company can integrate wellness elements to your already existing vacation packages. Incorporating these extras may even help you increase sales, revenue and profit margins. You’d then take advantage of the two fastest-growing travel sectors going today.
(Come to think of it, I would love to go on any kind of trip that would allow me to play hard during the day then relax to my heart’s content later on)
Do you already including wellness activities in your current travel offerings? How have they worked for your company?