Traveling for health or wellness purposes is nothing new. In fact, according to the Wellness Tourism Association, people have done so since the time of the Roman Baths.
Yet, fast-forward to today and a report by the Global Wellness Insitute found that wellness tourism is now a booming $639 billion market. What’s more, it’s projected to reach $919 billion by 2022.
The same report states that world travelers made over 830 million wellness trips in 2017, representing 17% of all tourism revenues for that year.
It’s clear to see that this industry trend is on the rise. This is great news for vacation rental owners – in particular, those in destinations which boast easy access to nature, scenic hikes and other outdoor activities.
Marketing your vacation rental as a wellness destination
Vacation rental owners have a huge opportunity to dip into this movement and boost bookings by promoting wellness in their marketing.
“It’s no secret that wellness travel has become a trend in recent years, but we’re seeing groups taking advantage of the cost benefits of organizing DIY wellness retreats in a vacation home rather than an expensive resort,” says Melanie Fish, VRBO travel expert.
So, what can owners and property managers do to take advantage of this trend?
Identify wellness activities
Research from Airbnb shows that bookings for wellness-related Experiences grew by 572% in 2018 compared to the previous year.
If you’re not sure what your area offers already, find out what wellness-oriented activities or places are available which will appeal to this guest type.
This may be yoga retreats, meditation workshops, hiking trails, natural pools, hot springs or any number of other pursuits that focus on health and wellbeing. You’re sure to find at least a handful of options nearby which you can use to your advantage.
Write about wellness on your vacation rental website
One thing we know about travel habits is that guests love to research thoroughly before making their final decision.
Your website is the perfect place to reach potential guests in the discovery phase by targeting the keywords they are looking for on search engines.
By creating content around these topics, you can position yourself as an expert, trustworthy voice on all things wellness in your destination. Besides this, you can also retarget your website visitors with an exclusive time-sensitive special offer, remarketing campaigns or email updates for the best chance at closing the booking.
Create packages for wellness travelers
The 2018 Global Wellness Tourism Economy report found that international wellness tourists spend an average of $1,528 per trip – over 53% more than the typical international tourist. In addition, domestic wellness tourists typically spend $609 per trip, a huge 178% more than the average domestic tourist.
Travelers’ willingness to spend more on this type of trip is something owners can profit from. Design wellness packages for your guests which include your vacation rental and certain activities for an irresistible price. This can be as simple as an on-site massage or meditation session, but it will add enormous value for your guests.
It’s also a good idea to think about partnering with other local businesses to build a list of options to sell as add-ons at the time of booking.
Offer wellness amenities
As well as being conscious about what your region offers in terms of wellness tourism, you can also ensure your own property fits in with this tendency.
“Travelers are seeking out vacation rentals with added amenities, and a gym is on the top of their list,” adds Fish.
While it may be impractical to set up a full home gym, you can think about adding small workout equipment such as dumbells, resistance bands and yoga mats. An inexpensive investment, but one which can add a lot of value for travelers who are looking to maintain their exercise regime while on vacation.
Delight vacation rental guests with wellness awareness
A shift in society is teaching vacation rental professionals that travelers want more from their experiences. As an increasing number of travelers from all demographics are opting for health-focused vacations, property owners have a real opportunity to grab guest attention and market to this growing niche.
The big OTAs are already on board with this travel trend and have dedicated sections on their websites for wellness travel. For example, Airbnb has the Heath & Wellness Experience category, TripAdvisor’s FlipKey has a “Say Spahh” section and VRBO has a Wellness Retreats Trip Board.
As data shows that more and more travelers are searching for these terms when booking their vacations online, owners can benefit by modifying their listings to include relevant keywords in their property descriptions.