What You Need to Know About Wellness Travel in 2021

February 8, 2021

Wellness is a top trend for travelers in 2021, a priority and necessity in the midst of a pandemic. The COVID-19 lockdown brought on a higher level of self-care and sense of wellbeing for many. The sale of online wellness apps, yoga classes, spiritual podcasts, virtual challenges and wellness experiences boomed. Dusty puzzles were pulled off shelves, garages were decluttered and everyone across the world was strangely baking banana bread! A world in search of a little feel-good as we all became susceptible to a deadly virus and far more mindful of our lifestyles. This was the kickstart of a revival in wellness, long-term change and a healthy lifestyle reboot for most of us.

“Travel that allows the traveler to maintain, enhance or kick-start a healthy lifestyle, and support or increase one’s sense of wellbeing.”

The $639 billion wellness tourism industry has seen a boost as the demand for physical, spiritual and mental well-being increases. In a study by the Global Wellness Institute, out of the 87% of study respondents who intend to take a holiday in the next 12 months, 76% of them said this will include a wellness component. On average, 25% ranked their mental, physical and social well-being 5/10 or less, yet 70% found an unexpected benefit to their lifestyle during COVID-19 with the top benefits being a deeper connection to family, eating healthier, less stress, better sleep and increased fitness. The study also shows that 25% of travelers have participated in a new wellness offering they had not tried previously. Are you positioned to be part of the 2021 Wellness movement?

Top Wellness Trends for 2021

A healthy lifestyle is a combination of physical and mental health that offers a perfect balance of mind, body and soul. Our wellness affects how we feel, perform and interact with others. The survey shows that the top wellness expectations for travelers are connection to nature, healthy food, outdoor activities, safe quality accommodation, spa treatments and sustainable travel. These traveler expectations after a year of quarantine, lock-downs and strict travel restrictions are shaping the trends for the foreseeable future.

Healthy Hibernation with an Extended Stay

Statistics show that extended stays are on the rise as we change our pace and take things slower. Natural outdoor destinations with lower risks and COVID-safe activities are a travelers first choice for an extended and healthy hibernation vacation, away from the crowds. The study shows that 53% of travelers are prepared to pay more for leisure accommodation if it meets their wellness needs.

Wellness Staycations

Travelers are seeking domestic wellness breaks close to home to destress, boost well-being, spend time with family and friends and connect with nature. A wellness destination is “A geographical area that fosters and promotes wellness as an integral part of life within the community and economics of the region.” These destinations are more secluded, less risky and offer family-friendly outdoor attractions, tours, and activities.

Immunity Booster Wellness Retreats

Global Wellness estimates that wellness retreats will grow at an average annual rate of 7.5% by 2022 and with COVID-19 turning our attention to a healthier lifestyle, it’s no surprise. Luxury wellness resorts across the globe are picking up on the trend with fully-integrated wellness retreats. These retreats are designed to tackle the issues of modern living, form habits to live a healthy lifestyle with a deeper sense of balance and fulfillment, renew your vitality, enhance your lifestyle and rebalance and strengthen your immune system with integrated nutrition and stress-busting activities.

Blending Work with Self-Care

There is a growing awareness for self-care and, with remote-working on the rise, many are getting back to basics and enjoying the simple pleasures of life with more focus on a healthy work-life balance. Workcations have been a trending topic since travel restrictions lifted and remote workers are taking road trips in search of the ultimate work-life balance. They are choosing vacation rental homes with strict cleaning protocols, designated work-spaces, guaranteed Wi-Fi, natural outdoor activities, and wellness activities to destress.

Mindful & Sustainable Travel

Changing habits and behavior have made us more mindful and aware of how we travel. A short disruption from everyday life led to a massive reduction in pollution during lockdown and reports of wildlife roaming the city streets across the world. This alerted us to how worldwide tourism is affecting the planet resulting in a more holistic approach to travel and a greater commitment to eco-friendly places and sustainable practices. Based on results from Booking.com’s 2020 Sustainable Travel Report, nearly 8 in 10 (76%) of people want to make more sustainable choices when traveling in the future. It’s time to reduce our carbon footprint and leave the world a better place.

Wellness Travel & Vacation Rentals

It’s clear guests have a higher expectation of safety and cleanliness than ever before! Property managers have jumped on board fast, implementing new cleaning protocols to meet stringent guidelines, offering more digital solutions to eliminate clutter and promote a more sanitary environment, and rolling out virtual alternatives to face to face interactions with staff. This all contributes to the movement of wellness travel, but while property managers may not be able to offer their guests the wellness experience of a fully-integrated retreat, they’re quickly learning to think out of the box.

This is where diversity and flexibility steps in. Consider the top wellness trends and find innovative ways to incorporate them into your brand and vacation experience. Partner with experience providers to offer your guests unique wellness activities, create outdoor spaces in your vacation homes for quiet reflection and meditation, and market your brand to appeal to wellness seekers and travelers: a wellness weekend package with yoga by the ocean, an extended hibernation package soaking in hot springs in the mountains, a workcation with inhouse massage services ….. the options are endless!

A study presented at the Wellness Tourism Association’s November 2020 annual meeting identifies “de-stressing,” “relaxation,” and “self-healing” as today’s top triggers in motivating travelers to purchase wellness-related travel services.

So, are you positioned to be part of the 2021 Wellness movement?