Wellness Travellers Across Generations Say Safe & Clean Hotels Are Their Number One Concern

by Editor
Published: Updated:

It’s official: “A certified safe and clean hotel environment” ranked number one across three generational cohorts—Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers—when it comes to what might influence them most when booking wellness travel over the next two years.

2,500 consumers from 52 countries and territories took part in the Wellness Tourism Association’s 2021 Wellness Travel Consumer Survey to help the hospitality industry, tour operators, retreat providers, and travel agents/advisors have a clearer understanding of wellness-minded consumers’ priorities as they begin planning their post-pandemic travels.

The three-month online survey was administered by the WTA in collaboration with WTA Research Associate, Danny Kessler Ph.D., Assistant Professor at Dongseo University, International College in Busan, South Korea.

Top five offerings rated “extremely important”: 

  1. A certified safe and clean hotel environment 
  2. A purified water system throughout the hotel 
  3. Access to fitness activities in nature 
  4. A hotel environment with sustainable and green practices in place 
  5. Guest rooms with an air filtration system to guarantee purified air  

Top five rated “not important at all”:

  1. Access to mental health professionals 
  2. Access to fitness trackers and apps that can monitor things like heart rate in real-time 
  3. Access to nutritionists  
  4. Access to medical practitioners for one-on-one consultations or medical testing that could predict a predisposition to future medical issues  
  5. Access to other wellness practitioners

Other key must-haves:

The survey included an open-ended question: “What ONE thing NOT mentioned in the 16 items would be a wellness ‘Must Have’ when you begin to travel again?” Answers to the question generated over 9,000 words; 3 of the top themes that emerged were:

  1. Safety in terms of physical safety plus safe from exposure to Covid 
  2. Access to stillness and quiet spaces 
  3. Nature and the outdoors* 

“On the heels of our 1st International Wellness Tourism Conference we’re thrilled to announce the findings of our latest survey to provide insight as the industry recovers and wellness continues to be a front runner. While the importance of nature has been an overwhelming theme and top priority for wellness travellers since we started conducting these surveys in 2018, we’re now seeing a dramatic increase in the demand for self-care as consumers are more proactive about their health than ever before.”

Anne Dimon, President & CEO of the Wellness Tourism Association

Top influences when booking wellness travel:

The survey also asked respondents to rank what might influence them most when it came to booking wellness travel over the next two years and the results were:

  1. Price
  2. Flexibility (with bookings and cancellation policies)
  3. Trust (in the supplier)
  4. Destination Management (the manner in which local lawmakers have managed the pandemic).  

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The collection of 16 offerings selected to be ranked via the three-month online survey were based on academic rigour and literature, plus industry data and industry expertise.

The survey was promoted via the WTA with the help of WTA Members and Partners and responses were collected via Survey Monkey. All respondents were given the opportunity to win one prize of a $1,000 gift certificate from Amazon.

With the vast majority of respondents from North America, the demographics breakdown is as follows:  40% between the ages 26 to 39 (Millennials); 25% between the ages of 40 to 54 (Gen X); and 26% between the ages of 55 to 74 (Baby Boomers).

A total of 64% identified as female, 43% reported that their annual income was $75,000 plus, and 35% travel with a “significant other.”

A total of 84% of respondents reported they participate in wellness activities when they travel, and 61% reported that they are currently planning a wellness vacation.

[2018 Wellness Tourism Association Survey Results]

* While “Access to fitness activities in nature”  was included in the overall top five offerings rated “extremely important” by respondents, they also overwhelmingly went on to include references to “nature and the outdoors” in response to this open-ended question.


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