Tourists taking wellness breaks in Germany increase

Recent survey commissioned by leading German wellness hotel marketing group finds more interest in wellness breaks, with stays between 5-8 days increasing in popularity

A survey was recently carried out on behalf of Wellness Hotels & Resorts in association with beauty24 by the market research institute GfK among wellness guests and hotel owners on the growth and trends in the wellness sector in German speaking areas for 2018.

The Wellness Hotels & Resorts marketing group has been the leader for the German-speaking wellness hotel industry since 1997. Most members are owner operated German wellness hotels in the four and five-star sectors with expertise in a wide range of wellness services. The 50 hotels who are members of the group in Germany or Austria are quality tested by TUV Rheinland on strict quality criteria.

Wellness breaks in a hotel are now lasting longer and with higher expectations. People are also treating themselves to breaks in day spas or thermal baths. They have specific expectations depending on the type of wellness treat chosen. When staying at a wellness hotel, the focus is primarily on a holistic wellness experience and spending quality time with a partner. An increasing number of children are also accompanying their parents on a wellness holiday.

The Wellness Trends 2018 report surveyed 1,439 Germans who had an interest in wellness and 133 wellness hoteliers.

The number of people taking wellness breaks in Germany of a few days or more has increased. One in three Germans now consider a wellness holiday as an attractive travel option. More than 50% think that wellness holidays are ‘trendy’, despite having never been on a wellness holiday themselves.

This suggests there’s a high potential of winning new customers. The growth in this industry can be explained through increased demand and that guests now choose to go on wellness breaks more often and stay longer. 52% of wellness holiday guests go on two or more wellness holidays per year and tend to stay longer. A wellness weekend (two or three nights) is still the most booked option but the trend is moving towards longer stays. Wellness breaks of between five and eight days are increasing in popularity.

For many years, it was very unusual to see families staying in a wellness hotel. Now, while couples are still at the top representing more than half of all hotel guests, families are the fastest growing guest group identified by all the interviewed hoteliers (17.5%). Family wellness hotels are as a consequence becoming more popular.

Wellness guests have different expectations depending on which wellness facility is used. 57.6% of thermal bath customers want to feel instantly relaxed with the main emphasis being on the pool and sauna area. In a day spa, 32.1% focused on the beauty treatments. Wellness hotel guests have the highest expectations with 50.4% saying that spending time with a partner is important, 37.6% stating that enjoying the treatments are essential and 35.2% saying that the beauty treatments and relaxation are important aspects.

Wellness hotel guests rate massages and physiotherapy treatments (76.6%) as well as relaxation areas (78.9%) as the most important aspects of a wellness break in a hotel. Pools and the sauna area (each with 74.5%) also rank highly. Beauty treatments, gym offers, and private spas were requested by more than half of all the wellness hotel guests interviewed.

Guests who book a holiday in a wellness hotel expect a care free, all-inclusive package. Wellness hotel guests have significantly higher expectations than those who use other wellness facilities (including hotels without any wellness offers).

94% expect a top-quality service when staying in a wellness hotel and 74.8% would like wellness packages to include all services, for which they would be willing to pay a higher price. Guests would also like to have the option to check-in early or check-out late to extend their stay, providing they have use of the wellness area.

A growing number of wellness holidays are booked online. Currently, online bookings have a 43% share of the German market and this is expected to rise over the next few years as future wellness guests choose to book online using mobile devices.

The older generation generates the wellness market’s largest revenue. Guests over the age of 65 are the most important travel group for wellness hoteliers, followed by the 50-64 year old bracket. Both groups tend to book their wellness holidays offline.

The wellness generation of the future is Generation Y (born between 1982 and 1996). Although this group currently represents a small share (14%), it is showing annual market growth of 53%. Almost two thirds of this generation book their wellness holidays online.

No matter their age, customers have one thing in common. They prefer to book their wellness holiday directly with the hotel or via a wellness platform they trust.

View the IMTJ’s assessment of medical tourism in Germany.