Healthcare travel: top five requirements

Concern for personal wellness will influence people’s travel preferences says the WTA 2021 Wellness Travel Consumer Survey. Medical tourism facilities should look at the results to understand what the modern medical and health tourist wants, says Ian Youngman.

The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) 2021 Wellness Travel Consumer Survey had 2,500 respondents in 52 countries and territories, and was designed to reveal what assets, amenities, activities and offerings are important or unimportant to consumers when planning their future wellness travels.

The survey was also designed to uncover the factors that might influence these travellers the most when it comes to booking wellness-related travel over the next two years.

The top five offerings rated “extremely important” were:

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

The ranking for “A certified safe and clean hotel environment” ranked number one across the three main generations – Millennials, Gen X, and Baby Boomers.

The top five offerings rated “not important at all” were:

  • Access to mental health professionals.
  • Access to fitness trackers and apps.
  • Access to nutritionists.
  • Access to medical practitioners for one-on-one consultations or medical testing that could predict a predisposition to future medical issues.
  • Access to other wellness practitioners.

The last two above may suggest that there is an increasing divide between the facilities that a medical traveller and a wellness traveller seeks.

The ranking was followed by 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?” The three top themes were:

  • Safety in terms of physical safety.
  • Access to stillness and quiet spaces.
  • Nature and the outdoors.

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:

  • Price and flexibility with bookings and cancellation policies.
  • Trust in the supplier.
  • How destinations have managed the pandemic.

Anne Dimon of the WTA comments, “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 are now seeing a dramatic increase in the demand for self-care as consumers are more proactive about their health.”

Survey demographics:

  • 40% aged 26 to 39 (Millennials.)
  • 25% between the ages of 40 to 54 (Gen X).

26% between the ages of 55 to 74 (Baby Boomers).