Wellness in the World of Business Travel

3 people stretching in sun salutation pose on a beach at sunrise

by Nicole Viduka

The global wellness market is quickly gaining momentum with no signs of falling off the wagon anytime soon. According to The Global Wellness Institute’s, The 2017 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, health and wellness is one of the World’s largest and fastest growing industries – and it’s here to stay. Wellness tourism, a key sector of this market is taking the lead, making considerably faster gains than other wellness sectors. As Katina Athanasiou, global VP of meetings & incentives at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings explained to Prevue Magazine, “Wellness is no longer a trend – it’s a full-fledged lifestyle.” 

In the landscape of this lifestyle trend, workplace wellness programs are evolving as forward-thinking companies respond to the need for innovative employee wellness incentives to remain competitive. Increasingly discerning talent, like health-conscious Millennials, are looking beyond the pay check to businesses that provide work-life balance and health benefits. Progressive businesses know that efforts to create innovative wellness travel incentives are necessary to recruit and retain quality talent.

According to the Global Wellness Institute (2017):

  • The health & wellness industry grew 10.6% from 2010-2015;

  • The health & wellness industry is an approx. $3.7 trillion market and is expected to continue to grow over the next 5-10 years;

  • Investment in workplace wellness is approx. $43 billion globally;

  • Wellness tourism is a key sector estimated at approx. $563 billion in 2015 and is projected to grow 7.5% by 2020;

  • Wellness tourism grew 14% from 2013-2014; a growth rate more than twice that of overall tourism.

Ambitious companies are looking beyond the return on investment (ROI) to the return on value (ROV) of wellness programs, as healthy employees are needed for a healthy, productive workforce. Studies of workplace wellness programs show positive results: decreases in stress, increases in mood and feeling more rested; important outcomes considering the top obstacles to work productivity reported by employees are overall fatigue (55%) and job stress (52%). (Spafinder Wellness 365 Research, 2014) And beyond these direct benefits to individual wellbeing, studies show that a work culture that incorporates wellness incentives increases employee productivity, motivation and loyalty, resulting in less absenteeism and less staff turnover (Workplace Wellness 2017 Survey Report).

Health & Wellness Travel Incentives

According to Travel to Wellness (2016) predictions, enterprising businesses will include wellness vacations as part of their workplace wellness packages. As mentioned above, wellness incentives have many benefits; and wellness travel in particular helps participants deepen relationships, providing opportunities for interaction while also reducing work-related fatigue and stress. Moreover, wellness travel helps individuals build and maintain mindful lifestyles and globally conscious mindsets (SITE Global, 2017), which have far reaching benefits to health, creativity and problem-solving capacity. We will see wellness travel programs being offered by more companies as an incentive to motivate individuals and teams to reach performance goals (SITE Global, 2017).

In this new era of health-conscious lifestyles, wellness destinations are poised to become a global development. The wellness trend is not exclusive to spas and resorts; we are seeing health & wellness being adopted by all sectors of the industry from cruise lines to hotels and land tours (Travel Market Report, 2017). Travel experience providers are incorporating everything from fitness and outdoor adventure to health-conscious culinary, yoga and mindfulness practices into their offerings.

Here are some of our top picks for your next wellness travel incentive program:

View of pool fountain at Entremonte Wellness Hotel and Spa

1. Pure Relaxation. Relax in the mountains of Central America at Colombia’s Entremonte Wellness Hotel & Spa. For a truly rejuvenating wellness experience, the Entremonte offers a peaceful retreat from the busy city and work life. Rooms are void of a television and WIFI, supporting those looking for a digital detox. And with private ensuite plunge pools in each room, it will be easy to forgo the screen for nature’s view. New villas will be opening soon to accommodate larger groups.


Cruise ship sailing into a Mediterranean port city

2. Health-conscious Cruising. Take it offshore for a wellness experience with Norwegian Cruise Line. On the company’s Regent Seven Seas Cruises groups can engage in classes in the Culinary Arts Kitchen with offerings inspired by the ship’s destinations. And with the newly debuted Seven Seas Wellness luxury program sailing the Mediterranean this summer, guests can create their own individualized wellness programs with curated experiences such as Tai Chi classes at Pharo Palace in Marseilles, France, restorative hydrothermal pools in Sorrento, Italy as well as the cruise line’s signature Canyon Ranch Spa services.

2 female surfers with surf boards high five on a beach


3. Wellness & Adventure Retreats. Retreats combining outdoor adventure, like surfing or cycling, with mindfulness practices such as yoga are becoming a popular trend. Surf with Amigas all female surf retreats at El Coco Loco eco-resort in northern Nicaragua, offer fun for females of all fitness levels. Spend your day taking surf lessons on world-renowned waves combined with fresh, local food and sunset beach yoga classes before retreating to your beautiful beach cabana. Surf with Amigas’ goal is to empower women to reach their goals while making lifelong connections.

Here, at Metracon Travel we can help you a create unique, wellness-based travel experience for your next group incentive program. From wilderness adventures to spas to mindfulness experiences, contact us at info@metracontravel.com to plan your next wellness trip.