Traveling as healing | Lifestyle News, The Indian Express
Before the pandemic, when 32-year-old Mary Calliste was traveling, she tried to visit as many tourist attractions as possible. But in early December, Calliste, who works in the financial services industry in Plainfield, New Jersey, traveled to Guatemala and stayed at an eco-friendly hotel called Lush Atitlán. There she ate vegan meals, walked around the nature reserve and listened to music.
And I loved it.
From now on, she said, “I see myself incorporating a lot more of my needs into my trip instead of what I can see.”
As the pandemic lingers into its third calendar year, it’s probably no surprise that travelers are increasingly looking to their vacations to work on their mental and physical well-being. In a recent American Express poll, 76% of people said they wanted to spend more on wellness-enhancing trips, and 55% said they would be willing to pay extra for these services or activities.
This has prompted hotels to increase their wellness offerings, from outfitting rooms with Peloton exercise bikes to adding programs that deal with mental health. Hilton has created a program called Five Feet to Fitness, which includes an interactive kiosk with fitness tutorials and gym equipment in some rooms.
Over the past year, at Miraval Resorts & Spas establishments, customers have come “having experienced symptoms of stress that they frankly weren’t familiar with,” said Simon Marxer, associate vice president of the hotel group for wellness offers.
In April, Miraval partnered with the National Alliance on Mental Illness to create Journeys With Intention, a customizable wellness program that allows customers to choose from a selection of “trips” based on their health goals. Among the offerings: Self-Connection, Grief and Loss, and Mental Wellness, as well as more standard spa, adventure and fitness programs.
“What we see, certainly in hospitality, is the need to truly serve the whole person,” Marxer said.
Spas took a hit
Spas, which focus on personalized and personalized services like massages and facials, were hit hard last year. Hotel and resort spas saw a 42% drop in revenue, while destination spas, which offer an immersive experience, fell 37%, according to a Global Wellness Institute report released this month. . But the wellness industry has since started a rapid recovery, according to the report, predicting the spa industry to grow 17% annually through 2025.
Yet the downturn has forced hotels and resorts – and their customers – to expand their notions of wellness and the activities that fall under that umbrella. Before the pandemic, wellness travel likely centered around traditional spa services, said Caroline Klein, communications director for Preferred Hotels & Resorts, a luxury hotel group. Now hotels can offer nature walks, meditation, yoga or a number of creative offerings.
In some ways, hotels are responding to lifestyles that many people embraced during the height of the lockdowns, including cooking homemade meals and taking virtual fitness classes.
“Hotels really see people bringing these new states of mind, routines and preferences with them when they start traveling again,” Klein said. “What this creates is a definite shift in the expectations and experiences that hotels have to meet, as they are not responding to travelers as of 2019.”
Change travel styles
What people expect from their vacations is changing, said Chris Kam, president and chief operating officer of Omnitrak, a Hawaii-based research company that regularly conducts national travel surveys. While travel has always been reset, during the pandemic “the travel experience transformed and became a place of healing – from mental, physical and spiritual stress,” he said in an e- mail. “People are now traveling for answers on how to feel better. “
Feeling exhausted from the pandemic, Ann Chen, 58, professor of English composition at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., Recently booked a wellness retreat with a friend for June 2022 “as a way to continue – find something positive, ”she said. They plan to stay at Ojo Santa Fe, New Mexico, a wellness resort with thermal pools, meals from local farms, and a spa. They planned ahead for personal planning reasons, but also to give them time to research the area and understand its “culture, attitudes and beliefs,” Chen said. The idea, she added, was “to be at ease, to work on being calm, to work on eating well.”
“This kind of complex brings us back to a more normal feeling in our lives, where we just aren’t so stressed out worrying about whether we’re going to live another day,” Chen said.
Industry experts say the wellness travel trend is here to stay. The United States accounted for nearly 30% of the global wellness tourism market in 2020, and the sector is expected to reach $ 919 billion by 2022 from $ 735.8 billion in 2020, according to the Global Wellness Institute.
“This is where we were going,” said Marxer of Miraval Resorts & Spas. “The pandemic has accelerated the future forward. “