Sahara Rose De Vore is a health travel consultant and coach and founder of the Travel Coach Network. It specializes in helping tourism and hospitality companies integrate the health and transformational benefits of travel to improve marketing and services. She is also a speaker and author.
The trend towards wellness and transformative experiences is a common trend in the tourism and hospitality industries, but many companies are missing out on the goal.
In the pre-pandemic world, travel companies were touting wellness experiences that were traditional, focusing on spas, gyms, healthy meal options, meditation sessions, and yoga retreats. Sure, wellness tourism has long focused on the spa industry, but times have changed; The meaning of wellness has changed, and what travelers are looking for has changed, too.
Today, hotels, cruises, travel agencies and other travel companies are jumping on the “wellness” bandwagon by offering Peloton bikes and spas offering the latest treatments or an app of some sort. But wellness is so much more than that, especially when it comes to travel.
The term “transformational travel” has gained tremendous momentum since the pandemic entered our lives and impacted our business. What people have realized is that travel has a much greater value to our well-being and our lives in general, which is why more meaning and purpose are placed on travel experiences. Companies are moving into this, albeit at a sub-surface level.
What can travel companies do to incorporate transformative travel and luxury into their marketing in a more modern and effective way?
First, companies must evaluate their core values. Don’t sell wellness and transformative experiences if it’s not an essential part of your brand. Labeling health experiences may seem inauthentic or lackluster to consumers, who can see what’s going on. Remember, you want to build a brand that inspires consumers to spread positive words about the time they spend with you.
You will also need to determine what travel means for your company in the first place. Since travel is the foundation of your company’s mission, what kind of travel do you sell to consumers? Is it a transformation, an experience, a journey, memories, skills, a worldly education? another thing? or all of the above? The same goes for your company’s definition of luxury.
After a year and a half as we’ve been through, people are facing more hardships, roadblocks, stresses, fears and anxiety than ever before. Talk to it. Get to know your ideal clients on a very personal level. What do they care about and want? People value their own well-being, freedom, relationships, and goals now more than ever, and want brands that match them.
Travel is about telling stories. tell stories
Think outside the box of your competition and use powerful storytelling that touches people emotionally and personally. Travel is all about storytelling, so make your marketing personal. People seek transformative experiences that build connections, spark creativity, renew, create memories, and improve their well-being in different ways. They want transformative journeys rich with stories that inspire them, take them out of their daily routines, and help them recover, feel, and cope.
People want to find soul, find their purpose in life, feel fulfilled, find ways to give back to others, make an impact in the world, and be challenged and confronted with their fears. People want emotional experiences and a journey of self-reflection that isn’t about consumption and more about engagement.
It’s time to take advantage of decades of research into the wellness benefits of travel that support the true foundation of travel.
Of course, travel isn’t a concrete cure-all for anything, and proven research cannot be applied to everyone’s findings or experiences, but the point is that travel has been shown to heal in a wide variety of ways, and this information may help travel companies attract ideal consumers in a more effective way than old marketing. Marketing a destination or experience that involves nature may appeal to people looking to reduce stress and anxiety. Showing a client a photo of a beautiful body of water is one thing; It’s quite another thing to talk to them about how spending time near or in the “blue space” can help them relax, relieve muscle tension, get inspired or improve their mental well-being.
Lately, we’ve lacked human contact, something that travel can provide us with. Marketing experiences that focus on meeting new people, building new relationships, or even strengthening bonds with loved ones can attract consumers.
Among the many things that travel does is expose us to new ways of living and different cultures around the world. Cultural experiences deepen our understanding of others, expose us to new ways of thinking and can expand our spirituality through rituals and ceremonies. There are many historical and spiritual stories in countries around the world that people are interested in and begin to integrate into their own lives.
The physical and emotional benefits of travel
Travel offers us an opportunity for self-motivation, personal growth, and self-discovery, which can lead to mental health benefits. Travelers can improve mood while improving their happiness by seeing new and exciting places and learning new things. The travel company should evaluate what destinations should offer from a holistic and natural perspective that meets the needs and desires of consumers.
Traveling is a great way to stay fit, too. Incorporating outdoor activities like kayaking, hiking, or even walking around a new city can help keep people active. Experiencing new local cuisine not only expands one’s sense of culture and place, but can also inspire you to eat healthier. Shopping at local food markets or dining at street vendors is an experience that can leave lasting impressions on the traveler.
Discover the healing properties of the destination. For example, promote mineral-rich hot springs in Turkey or Costa Rica or rejuvenating places where the forces of the earth converge to heal and uplift, such as Stonehenge, the pyramids of Egypt, or the whirlpools of Arizona. Take advantage of traditional experiences of a destination that are perhaps inaccessible or affordable in a traveler’s country, such as Southeast Asian massages, Chinese medicine or visiting spiritual places such as temples. People want to dance under a starlit sky on a remote island with new friends, kayak through a dark cave in Thailand to reach a serenely calm lake or take a trek across the Sahara desert on a camel at sunrise.
What does this mean for travel companies? Hotels can offer cultural or walking programs that integrate the destination and the people who live there. Cruises can focus on experiences that go off the beaten path and create lasting memories. Travel agencies should focus more on what the individual traveler needs on a more personal level.