Article | by Emma Simkiss

The wellness travel trend and mindful vacations are here to stay

 

This article is part of The Great British Staycation

The world’s picking up speed as it's waking up from Covid. We’ve found a new appreciation for slowing down and making mindful choices when it comes to travelling. We’re ready to pay more for it too. Here's what travel and holiday providers need to consider right now.

 

As we begin to step out of the last two years, some of us with more caution and trepidation than others, we shouldn’t underestimate how jaded and burnt out many of us are.  

It’s been a somewhat gloomy and uncertain time for the majority, and with travel restrictions halting the ability to really escape, unwind and practice a travel-induced kind of self-care, it’s no surprise that as travel begins to open back up, mindful travel is set to be a major trend in 2022. 

 

Travelling for the wellness experience

Our 2021 research showed that 38% were considering booking a holiday simply in order to have something to look forward to. People recognise that travelling brings on a change of mindset, alongside a new experience and a change in scenery. 66% of us admit that travel is very important to our wellbeing. This year, 79% of people told booking.com that travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation. Plus, simply booking a holiday has a positive impact on our emotional wellbeing for 84% of us.

 

79% of people say travel helps their mental and emotional wellbeing more than other forms of rest and relaxation. 

 

What makes travel the ideal form of wellness? According to the latest travel trends, two in three said a change of scenery helps them recharge, while almost one in five said it was stepping out of their comfort zone that is key to enabling them to reset. “For others trying new cuisines (55%) or hearing a new language (35%) makes them feel rejuvenated.”

 

Travel helps us recharge.

 

Wellness and mindfulness are sought in different ways by different generations and demographics. The joy of travel for many has been highlighted as enjoying peace and quiet, finding empty spaces away from other people and breathing in fresh air. For others it’s about a safe and sanitary environment, or a place where they can be pampered, or take part in activities and exercise renowned for wellness such as yoga - and for others it’s about adventure and being pushed out of a comfort zone. 

 

Mindful travel is likely to stay closer to home

In addition, with the stress and strain of travel restrictions and busy or packed planes, ferries and trains, others seek wellness and relaxation by holidaying closer to home where they can avoid transport and travel links. 

However individuals seek to improve and take care of their wellbeing and seek out mindfulness through travel, the common denominator is a stress-free experience with an opportunity to fully wind down, restore balance and escape the stresses and strains of the everyday.

   

Mindful travel is good for businesses

This new trend of individuals being more health conscious, and increased societal acceptance of the need for mental health self care is creating an increasing opportunity for switched on travel brands to explore. 

 

Half plan to spend more on themselves this year to counteract the struggles of the past years.

 

The British public plans to increase its spending this year to benefit health and wellbeing, by splashing out on more travel and holidays. 54% have shifted their resolution priorities due to changes in recent years, and their health will now dictate how they spend their money in 2022. Nearly half plan to spend more on themselves this year to counteract the struggles of the past few years – 41% say they need a mental health boost. We’re also planning to spend more than double on ourselves this year, on things like weekend breaks, home improvements and vitamins.

Should you look to widen your share of the market through a wellbeing-focussed proposition? Clearly we see the value in spending more money than ever before on wellbeing focussed products and services: the huge market of health conscious travellers, their increased savings from being travel-limited for so long, and their willingness to spend higher amounts for personalised health experiences. The time is now for travel brands to step up and provide an experience that fulfils mindful travel requirements, for which their market share and bottom line will be rewarded. So how could you go about it?

 

The opportunity - creating mindful travel experiences 

As we step into the 2022 holiday season, with thoughts turning to summer ‘vacays’, and with many of us identifying that boosting mental wellbeing is one of the biggest priorities when heading off on holiday, how is the travel sector stacking up and what can we learn from its current state?

 

Quiet travelling

With the rise in popularity of meditative apps, such as Calm and Headspace, meeting this need at home, Original Travel is keen to be the first tour operator to meet the need in travel and as such has launched Pin Drop Travel. It offers a collection of destinations where silence is golden - places of peace where, as the name suggests, you can hear a pin drop.

 

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Original Travel’s Pin Drop Travel proposition

 

Remote locations

Closer to home in the UK, there is an array of holiday opportunities that promote remote locations, from individual holiday cottages, shepherds huts and glamping - with something to fit most budgets. As the focus on wellness and mindfulness grows, there is an increase too in breaks and retreats that promote gentle activity designed to restore balance and wellbeing such as Adventure Yogi who have a walking, foraging and yoga retreat in Devon.

 

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Adventure Yogi’s experience promises to reboot you 

 

Brands will want to ask themselves…

  • How might we maximise on our location to truly promote a mindful stay?

"How might we?"

Our ‘how might we’ questions turn the opportunity into addressable questions, to spark new ideas. We're sharing them to help you trigger thoughts for how your brand may implement solutions.

Tip: When answering these questions, don’t only think about your existing services, solutions, and revenue streams, but also consider how you might create new ones for this market. 

Wellbeing travelling

Travel companies are waking up to the focus on wellbeing, and have made a start by providing relevant blog content and directing customers to destinations, hotels and resorts with a focus on relaxation and wellbeing. TUI, Kuoni and Berkeley Travel are good examples of this, with Berkeley Travel and Kuoni operating in the luxury holiday market.

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Berkeley Travel offers luxury health & wellbeing retreat holidays

 

But brands can look to build onto this service offering even further.

 

Mindful propositions through intentional partnerships

Particularly in the wellbeing travelling space, brands looking to build on this proposition could draw inspiration from those who already provide a well-rounded health and wellbeing offer. Companies like Vitality who provide health insurance have incentives to help people on their mental and physical health: accrue points and get benefits like free movie tickets, free coffees and better hotel rates. But they also have excellent partnerships in place to support people in their goals. Cheaper gym memberships with major players like Pure Gym, Virgin Active, David Lloyd and Nuffield Health, a free year of a Calm subscription, money off fitness trackers and more. 

 

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Vitality rewards

 

Brands and companies looking to make the most of the mindful travel trend will want to consider partnership options that could enhance their own wellbeing propositions.

  • How might we diversify our current offering to create or enhance a mindful experience?
  • How might we maximise on strategic partnerships to provide a more comprehensive relaxing and mindful travel offering and experience?

 

Technology and mindful holidays

Partaking in mindful travel can also begin even before the holiday even starts, at the booking stage. Often, booking a holiday can itself be stressful, through the number of options available, the number of tabs we open, the number of unknowns. But through the use of technology people can book with less stress. Our concept - Gini - collects information about how you want to feel when you are away, and gives you options based on sensorial feels and expectations.

 

 

Other apps like LuckyTrip (we spoke about it in this article on spontaneous travel [LINK] too) take away a large part of the browsing process and offer you holidays and getaways that just match your budget and your dates. They’ll package up “somewhere to go, somewhere to stay, something to make you happy.”

Brands could ask themselves…

  • How might we use technology to personalise booking and trip options for those looking for a mindful escape?
  • How might we use technology to reduce friction throughout the travel experience for all?
  • How might we use technology to improve communication and provide quicker, easier responses to customer queries and questions throughout the duration of their experience?

 

How businesses can build on this travel trend

The mindful travel trend represents a significant financial opportunity for the domestic travel market. But with your domestic and international competitors also aware of this, how might you compete? Brands need to ask themselves…

  • How might we diversify our current offering to create or enhance a mindful experience?
  • How might we tweak our approach to booking to minimise stress and uncertainty at the earliest stage of the customer journey?
  • How might we minimise stress and uncertainty creeping in at the early stages of the customer journey?
  • How might we improve our approach to end-to-end customer service for greater peace of mind and providing a truly relaxing holiday experience?
  • How might we maximise on strategic partnerships to provide a more comprehensive relaxing and mindful travel offering and experience?
  • How might we maximise on our location(s) to truly promote a mindful stay?
  • How might we provide additional assurance and excitement in the build up to a customers break away post booking?
  • How might we use technology to improve communication and provide quicker, easier responses to customer queries and questions throughout the duration of their experience?
  • How might we use technology to personalise booking and trip options for those looking for a mindful escape?
  • How might we use technology to reduce friction throughout the travel experience for all?

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