Selling “Wellness”? Words Matter.

| May 12, 2014 | Comments (0)

Global Spa and Wellness Summit 2014

Whether you’re talking about wellness tourism or simply using the term “wellness” to define what your spa or business does, you probably want to think carefully about what the term actually means to your customers. Recently, 24 tourism experts in both government and business gathered at a roundtable event in London (hosted by our Global Wellness Tourism Congress team) to chart a course for the wellness tourism sector – much of their discussions apply across all “wellness” businesses, so we distilled some key points to share with you.

Now that the word “wellness” is associated with everything from fitness to healthcare; clothing to apps; dog food to frozen dinners – it’s important to make sure you connect your wellness offering with your customer.
What resonates with people who want to come and experience your particular brand of wellness might be very different than the language we are using as business owners. Travel agents, for example, might not want to say, “Have you considered a wellness vacation?” Instead, they may want to draw a picture for the customer by saying “Have you thought about going away on a vacation that will let you unwind, do yoga, take hikes, eat healthy and even lose a few pounds in the bargain?!”

Tell your story.

If you’re delivering wellness tourism, for example, tell the story of what you do – whether it’s a hiking retreat that involves yoga and healthy food; or a spa for stress reduction; a boot camp for weight loss; or an ashram that delivers spiritual enlightenment. The term “wellness” is an umbrella term for all these types of experiences (and so many more!), but when it comes to marketing them, talking in tangible terms will win you customers. They need to have a picture of what they’re going to be doing that will be unique at your wellness destination.

Don’t preach!

Telling people that they should embrace something healthier for themselves is a strategy that often backfires. Wellness activities should be about aspiration and pleasure.  Because wellness sounds prescriptive, it can be a turnoff to some people (it can sound too medical and too difficult to achieve). The important thing to remember is that “wellness” doesn’t just do good, it feels good too! The positive outcome of wellness is what clients want to hear.

Make wellness mainstream and affordable!

Let’s face it, there’s a huge amount of enthusiasm for wellness – and the type of experience and results our industry delivers. And, while high-end luxury destinations serve an important niche, taking “wellness” to the masses means making it more accessible. Price perceptions need to change so that people understand that wellness is a mainstream activity that virtually everyone can afford, rather than a luxury niche.

It’s worth noting that while using the term wellness to “sell” to consumers may provide some hurdles, there was a strong stance among the experts that, as an industry, we should continue to rally around the term. Why?  Because agreed upon terminology is imperative as we look to aggregate our offerings across technology platforms (particularly online booking systems), and “wellness” is an ideal umbrella term for the experiences our industry offers.

Take a look at what our tourism experts said on the topic of wellness travel here.

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