According to a recent report by the Global Wellness Institute, spa and wellness tourism is set to outpace the whole of the tourism industry by 200%. By 2022, the spa and wellness tourism industry, the fastest-growing segment within tourism, is projected to reach $919 billion. To add to that, the United States accounts for one-third of total revenues within the wellness tourism industry and North America continues to be the largest regional market in the spa tourism space globally based on expenditures estimated at $241.7 billion.
Interested in learning how your MediSpa could see significant growth with this trend? Here, we break down how the spa and wellness tourism trend differs from medical tourism, its appeal to prospective patients, and some of the creative marketing strategies arising from this trend.
Medical tourism refers to the desire of medical aesthetics patients to travel abroad for surgeries most often due to cost considerations. While discounted rates in developing economies certainly appeal to budget-conscious shoppers, with cosmetic procedures still being somewhat taboo, some prospective patients prefer the privacy of undergoing procedures and recovering at a luxury resort abroad. Seeking treatments under the guise of a vacation allows these patients an explanation as to why they return with natural-looking results, appearing rejuvenated and refreshed post-vacation and keeping the work they’ve had done to themselves. It also provides them with the space and privacy to fully recover before returning home.
In comparison, spa and wellness tourism incorporates medical aspects, but these focus on minimally invasive and non-surgical procedures, like injectables or body contouring treatments, alongside spa services, like facials or massages, and wellness classes, like yoga or meditation. In other words, spa and wellness tourism generally circles around a theme of health and wellness that focuses in on good food, rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation all while exploring new countries, views, and cultures, or simply seeing a new city. Prospective patients get to escape from the stressors of everyday life and indulge in spa services and wellness practices. Despite myths surrounding MediSpas, these businesses seem to offer the perfect destination for a growing number of tourists.
With 71% of North American and European travel agents noting that travelers are more aware of the spa and wellness trend now than ever before, this industry is certainly set to rise. With North America leading the markets, particularly as disposable incomes continue to rise in emerging economies, this trend could offer a lucrative niche market to supercharge your business’ growth, especially when you have the right marketing strategy. In 2016, the appeal in Europe’s holistic wellness tourism concept was the merging of medical services, nutrition, fitness, and traditional spa services with more cutting-edge high-tech beauty treatments. With the growing popularity of customized and boutique experiences, prospective patients, particularly those traveling from abroad, are in search of a one-stop-shop for spa services and minimally- or non-invasive medical aesthetics treatments within an upscale or unique setting.
For those interested in marketing to this lucrative niche, consider whether your MediSpa offers the upscale feel tourists are seeking out, even if it’s just that certain something that sets your business apart from the competitors. For example, for businesses looking to appeal to the millennial population—who now account for almost 20% of all medical spa patients—consider offering packages that include massages alongside rejuvenating facials in a clinic that offers a modern design and trendy, healthy refreshments, like avocado toast and matcha lattes. Alternatively, for those seeking a more discerning spa tourism clientele, consider doing away with the waiting room altogether and focusing on larger, more upscale treatment rooms that serve as a calming space with increased privacy.
Staggering spa times in public spaces, like saunas, may also be beneficial to building a VIP-like experience for day-spa travelers. Again, consider offering packages that pair the spa experience with a relaxing, customized aesthetic treatment, such as a deep-cleaning facial rejuvenation treatment with Venus Glow™ that instantly cleans out pores and brightens the skin.
Alternatively, partnering with nearby luxury hotels or resorts to offer spa and wellness tourism packages may offer an opportunity to increase your ROI on short-term treatment plans alongside your spa services menu. Sending brochures or links to travel agencies both domestically and abroad, noting any available packages and including images of your space, may also increase awareness and improve traffic. Finally, an SEO-optimized website and Google My Business account will improve your discoverability for independent travelers online.
To help you cater to both tourists and your existing loyal patient base, Venus Concept offers a range of non-invasive aesthetic devices, such as the Venus Glow™ system, that may serve as the ideal addition to your MediSpa. Contact an expert today to learn more.