The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) has picked out what it predicts will be the top five wellness trends of 2019. Based on its first survey on wellness vacations and polling it conducted among its members, the association identified solo travel, newcomer guests, greater variability in lengths of stays, travel for mental health and focused visits as the top five trends for the new year.
1. Going Solo
According to the WTA’s Wellness Vacation survey, 25 percent of respondents prefer to travel solo. This result holds up when the association surveyed its members. At Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, the property’s director of wellness, Davina Bernard, says that 50 percent of wellness package guests there are women traveling alone. At Canyon Ranch resorts in Lenox, MA and Tucson, AZ, the company’s president and COO Thomas Klein says half the guests are solo travelers.
2. Rise in Newcomers
The WTA also predicted that 2019 will bring a rise in newcomers. According to its survey, 60 percent of respondents said they never had taken a wellness vacation but planned to do so in the future and wanted more information. At Canyon Ranch resorts, Klein said new guests account for almost half of their business.
3. Greater Flexibility in Length of Stays
The association reported that guests are increasingly requesting both shorter and longer stays. Kathleen LeSage, the co-owner of New Life Hiking Spa in Vermont said that the number of guests staying longer than two weeks increased 90 percent in the past three years. Canyon Ranch, meanwhile, has experienced a decrease in guests’ average length of stay with customers looking for shorter but more frequent trips.
4. Mental Healthy Matters
Visitors looking to nurture their mental health are also on the rise, with Tammy Petersen of the Chicago-based Retreats Unlimited identifying this as the most “exciting trend for [them.]” Miami’s Pritikin resort had decided to add a licensed psychologist to its roster of medical experts, increasing the availability of relevant lectures and one-on-one mental health consultations.
5. Demand for Specific Solutions
Finally, the WTA predicted that demand for specific solutions will rise in 2019. According to its polling, properties everywhere are bringing in more guests with identifiable goals in mind. In Koh Samui, Thailand, Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary’s co-founder Karina Stewart said most of the resort’s guests arrive with a goal in mind, whether it is something clearly defined like stress or fitness, or if it is a need to reset internally following difficult life changes.