Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

The Wellness Tourism Association (WTA) last week released a list of definitions of eight industry terms — including "wellness traveler," "wellness resort" and "wellness destination" — which could be a useful resource for agents talking to clients about wellness tourism.

President Anne Dimon said the WTA created its Glossary of Industry Terms to bring standards to wellness tourism, one of its mandates as an association.

"Being able to refer to the WTA glossary will make it much easier for agents to explain to their clients the difference between the various terms," Dimon said. "They can also use the terms to help promote themselves as wellness specialists by incorporating the definitions into their newsletters, social media and other engagement with clients and potential clients."

For clients, having a glossary of terms will help them voice their wants and needs, Dimon said. As an example, the agent can ascertain whether someone is considered a wellness traveler or a wellness visitor.

The difference between the two? A wellness traveler is traveling for the primary purpose of wellness, while a wellness visitor works elements of wellness into their travels.

Dimon advised agents looking to identify good candidates for wellness travel to, above all, listen, and identify some key phrases the ideal candidate might use. 

For instance, they could say they're feeling burned out, or use phrases like "I need to make a change in my life," "I need time to think," "I want to find better ways to manage stress or eat better," or "Our family doesn't connect anymore. Everyone is always talking or texting or playing digital games on their phone," Dimon said.

"The simple art of listening can be a powerful tool in any business but even more so with agents who are trying to find the right fit for their clients," she said.

In order to talk to clients about wellness travel, Dimon advised agents to be knowledgeable in the subject. First-hand experience also helps, she said, because the agent can talk about how it impacted them personally.

"That will give them credibility with their client," she said. "Booking wellness travel is not the same as booking a cruise or booking a hotel stay with a selection of tours. Wellness is exceedingly personal. So the more the agent knows about the client, the more they will be able to find the perfect 'it.'"

She also cautioned agents to find out what the client doesn't want.

"They need to know the client's biggest stressors so they can be avoided or minimalized," Dimon said. "Finding the right fit for a wellness client might take a little longer but the potential long-term reward — a satisfied client who not only returns but tells 10 friends who also become clients — makes it worth the time and effort."

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