The rise of wellness travel has been one of the most talked about segments in luxury travel in recent years, and a new survey underscores the importance of such offerings for the wealthiest of travelers.
The 2106 Luxury Travel Report from Resonance Consultancy, a Vancouver-based firm that monitors consumer trends and helps new resorts and communities plan their brand and development strategies, shows that fitness and health are top of mind for the so-called one-percenters -- in Resonance's report, travelers with household income of $400,000 or more and net worth of $8 million plus -- and that that amenity appears much more important to them than vacationers in general.
Despite their means, however, the survey shows that the most important amenity for them, like U.S. travelers in general, is free WiFi. Second is privacy, followed by a swimming pool, a beach, hotel restaurant and a fitness center.
Even though fitness centers aren't at the top of the list, they still are twice as important to travelers in the top 1% of household income and net worth than the general traveling public, with 40% of the wealthiest ranking them in the top five of a list of 28 amenities, compared with 20% of all travelers, according to the study.
Wellness programs didn't fare quite so well: only 13% of the top 1% ranked wellness programs as a key amenity, putting it near the bottom of the list along with casinos, kids programs and tennis. But that might not tell the whole story.
“Spa facilities and programming are twice as important to the top 1% as U.S. travelers in general,” Resonance President Chris Fair said, “and they are even more important to women than men. Eighty percent of the top 1% demographic are male, so that skews the results somewhat, as spa facilities and programming are much more important to women than men.”
The survey also shows that 78% of the one-percenters are likely to participate in health and fitness activities on vacation, compared to just 60% of the general traveling public.
“Luxury hotels are paying attention to the emphasis on fitness and wellness,” Fair said. “While ‘going green’ may be the mantra for the affordable and price-conscious guest, when it comes to luxury, the future of hospitality isn’t greenness, it’s fitness. So we can expect to see more experiential offerings in health and fitness in the future."
Other findings from the Resonance report: Four Seasons is their most preferred luxury hotel brand, they visit Caribbean destinations more often than general U.S. travelers and they strongly value "once-in-a-lifetime" experiences.
The report was based on an online survey of 1,667 travelers in households identified as being in the top 5% of income and net worth, with household income of $200,000 or more or net worth of $2 million and up. Of those, 724 travelers fell into Resonance’s definition of the top 1%. Resonance compared the findings to a 2015 survey it did of more than 3,000 general travelers.