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Wellness Vacations Are on the Rise as Boutique Offerings Flourish

Wellness Vacations Are on the Rise as Boutique Offerings Flourish

As travelers look to book restorative adventures, data shows that boutique wellness experiences and vacations are primed for takeoff

American Express has released its Global Travel Trends report, revealing key insights into the rise of wellness tourism.

The report details the experiences travelers are searching for, which in many cases go beyond simple rest and relaxation. Instead, travelers are lured to destinations and resorts with promises of health and wellness and the opportunity to come back with more than just souvenirs but new habits that promote optimal well-being. 

Here is what American Express found based on data obtained through an online poll. 

Respondents were far-ranging, including 1,000 travelers from Australia, Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, U.K. and 2,000 travelers in the U.S. with a household income of at least a $70k equivalent and who generally travel by air at least once a year. 

  • 88% plan to spend the same or more on wellness vacations this year, compared to previous years
  • 81% look forward to unplugging while on vacation to “live in the moment”
  • 73% are planning vacations to better their mental, physical, and emotional health this year
  • 72% say they are more focused on self-care than they were a year ago
  • 68% are seeking travel destinations that are surrounded by nature to focus on mental clarity
  • 43% have selected a hotel/accommodations based on the spa and wellness center amenities

Gen Z, Millennials ride the wellness wave

As for the Gen Z and Millennials, American Express reports that 71% are excited to book vacations to private beaches to focus on relaxation, compared to 62% of overall survey respondents. 

The younger generations are also more likely to book travel plans centered on personal wellness (61%) compared to 48% of overall survey respondents. 

Additionally, 60% of Gen Z and Millennials reveal they will go out of their way to book hotels that offer spa and wellness services, compared to 43% of overall respondents. They also plan to take extended wellness vacations (60%) compared to the rest of the survey respondents (57%).

The rise of boutique wellness

The yoga industry has also identified an opportunity for wellness enthusiasts, with companies such as The Travel Yogi offering curated yoga retreats that blend adventure and mindfulness in places such as France, Kenya, Patagonia and Bali. 

The Travel Yogi offers travelers “active relaxation,” providing immersive cultural and nature experiences while deepening yoga their yoga practices.

Overall, the popularity of rejuvenating experiences bodes well for the health and wellness industry, especially as several boutique recovery studios are ready to serve guests with a menu of various modalities that encourage an overall sense of well-being. 

SweatHouz, a wellness and recovery company created by Jamie Weeks, is capitalizing on the surge in interest in saunas and cold plunge recovery. The brand sold over 100 franchise licenses in under a year and plans to have 25 to 30 studios open for business by the end of the year. 

“In 2024 and 2025, you’re going to start seeing SweatHouz locations pop up everywhere,” said Weeks. 

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The wellness brand also partnered with recovery company Hyperice earlier this year. As part of the deal, SweatHouz studios feature special recovery rooms with Hyperice products, including the Normatec air compression sleeves, Hypervolt massager and Venom, a heat and vibration wrap. 

Looking ahead, the boutique wellness brand hopes to onboard coaches to assist members with guided stretching, flexibility routines and possibly breathwork

The Covery, another boutique wellness studio, is anticipating 100 sold locations by the end of the year, actively seeking multiunit franchise partners as it plans to tap into the $4.5 trillion wellness recovery market.

The wellness spa brand offers a collection of noninvasive therapies across aesthetics, wellness and performance optimization. 

What’s next?

As American Express notes in its report, 70% of respondents say they like to get to the airport early to settle in and relax in an airport lounge, identifying this statistic as a trend to watch.

As major players in the fitness and wellness industry have merged with cruises and hotels, such as boutique fitness curator Xponential signing on with Princess Cruises as official fitness partner and Peloton partnering with Hilton to bring its connected fitness bikes to hotels in Canada and Europe, there could also be an opportunity for wellness operators to set up shop at destinations travelers may find by way of pleasure or necessity. The stage is set for consumers to potentially soon see wellness pop-ups or brick-and-mortar studios at the airport. 

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