Health and wellness will become part of mainstream travel post-pandemic, a leading trends forecaster has predicted.
Mandy Saven, director of consumer lifestyle at trends intelligence firm Stylus told the TTG Luxury Travel Summit: “The health and wellness genre is going to become a commercial bulls eye.”
She predicted wellness travel “is going to shift away from massaging and light pampering” and said that in the new travelscape “every brand is a health brand”.
“I think it is worth digging deeper into this idea of hospitality battling stress,” she added, urging travel brands to “mind the mental load”, warning: “Consumers will have all sorts of baggage post-lockdown.”
Something else to be aware of was how lifestyle niches were becoming mainstream, she said, including being vegan.
“It is no longer a niche lifestyle choice, 10% of consumers worldwide have reduced or eliminated meat consumption in the past 12 months. That is going to spill over into reappraised travel priorities.”
Another example, she said, was the emergence of travel brands for the “sober curious” such as We Love Lucid. She said 11% of Americans had given up alcohol entirely during the pandemic, either because of cost or a desire to remain in control.
“In the nineties, people literally assumed there was something wrong with you if you didn’t drink.”
There were now even cannabis-friendly operators and accommodation options, including Canada’s first weed-friendly golf course, Rolling Greens.
Saven spoke of “the assurance imperative” needed by travel brands. This was especially true at airports and on aircraft, she said, with new cabin design prototypes featuring seat covers that change colour when they require disinfecting.
This may not be enough in the luxury sector, she added, with some choosing private jet travel instead. “Travellers may well choose to take one trip a year, but do it in a more exclusive fashion.”
“Soft tourism” was another new phenomenon, with some reluctant to go far from home. “Forty-one per cent of Americans say their first trip post-lockdown will be by car and within 100 miles. It makes me wonder how destinations should market themselves.”
Camping was another Covid trend, she said, with hotel brand The Hoxton launching Camp Hox glamping in Oxfordshire. Packages include a night’s stay at a Hoxton property at a later date. “It extends the relationship with the brand and gives them something to look forward to.”
Saven added the idea of soft tourism, or staycations, was here to stay beyond just this year and suggested travel brands think seriously about offering an interesting range of domestic experiences.
She also urged marketers not to ignore Generation Z. “They tend to sway decisions, so marketing to the whole family is a shrewd move, especially now we have spent so much time together.”