Three out of four travel agents surveyed observed an increase in spa travel bookings. // © 2014 Thinkstock
Spafinder Wellness 365 recently released findings from its 2013 “State of Spa Travel” survey, revealing that 73 percent of travel agents saw growth in spa travel, or bookings with a strong spa component, in 2013. More than 300 North American travel agents participated in the survey.
“This new data provides fresh evidence that what we’ve been hearing about the growth of the wider wellness tourism category is undeniably true,” said Mia Kyricos, chief brand officer of Spafinder Wellness, Inc. “It also proves that spa travel is on the rise in North America, which is the now the world’s largest wellness travel market, generating more than 40 percent of the total dollars spent in that global segment.”
According to the survey, growth may be partially attributed to the range of deals and discounts available. Thirty-two percent of participating travel agents reported that resort and destination spas were more aggressive in their pricing and packages in 2013, compared to 2012. An additional 53 percent of travel agents reported that 2013 deals were as strong as those available in 2012.
The study also found that:
- Baby Boomers, now ages 49-68, continue to represent the majority of spa travelers. Generation Xers were the next group most likely to book spa travel – in fact, travelers ages 26-35 now book more spa travel than those over 65, according to the study.
- Spa-goers are most often women traveling with other women, followed by couples, women traveling alone and families or multigenerational groups.
- Spa services that pamper the traveler continue to be the most popular bookings, but travel agents also report a growing interest in health and wellness offerings and mind-body-spirit programming. Participating agents shared that 85 percent of spa travelers were interested in exercise and weight loss components and 68 percent sought mind-body-spirit options.
- As more and more luxury travelers seek out exotic and off-the-beaten-path destinations, travel agents have seen international spa bookings increase. Costa Rica holds the lead as an international spa destination, participating agents reported. Other contenders were Belize and Nicaragua in Central America; Argentina and Chile in South America; the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean; The Czech Republic, Croatia, Turkey, Italy, Ireland and Slovakia in Europe; Cambodia, India, the Maldives, Myanmar and Vietnam in Asia; and South Africa and the Seychelles in Africa. In North America, the West Coast ranks the highest for spa bookings, followed by Hawaii.
“We are grateful for these insights into booking trends,” said Kyricos. “They help us to understand the changing profile of today’s spa traveler.”