Jamie Biesiada
Jamie Biesiada

There's no denying that wellness travel is a trend that's sticking around.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness travel is a $563 billion sector in a $3.72 trillion global wellness industry, which experienced over 10% growth from 2013-2015.

Alex Glasscock, founder of The Ranch Malibu, says the trend represents a huge opportunity for travel agents.

"It's a megatrend, it's here to stay, and a good travel advisor wants to stay in the forefront of programming and travel destinations," Glasscock said.

The Ranch Malibu offers luxury wellness retreats with results-oriented programming during four- and seven-day stays. The all-inclusive programs are tailored to each individual guest and include stretching, hikes, exercise classes, massages and yoga. The Ranch 4.0 is a four-day version of the program at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village.

Five or six years ago, Glasscock said when he would present the product to agents, they weren't totally clear as to what it was. That has changed now that there are so many wellness properties.

"It's very popular, and our customers... desire to use some of their vacation time to have an experience and travel, but come back healthier than when they left," he said.

So, how do you identify clients that are a good fit for a wellness program?

"First of all, a proactive travel adviser, when they're checking in with their clients, they should be introducing the category," Glasscock said.

While The Ranch caters to a variety of guests from as young as 14 to as old as their 80s, they typically have one thing in common: Going through change.

"The way they ought to be identifying [a good wellness trip candidate] is when a client's talking about going through a life-changing event," he said.

Those events can range from children graduating from high school or college, to going through a divorce, to a death in the family.

"Those are all cues as a travel adviser to say, 'Hey, you know, have you thought about a wellness trip?'" Glasscock said.

He also encouraged agents to ask their clients if their employer has health funds or credits available for employees, something some larger corporations offer.

Overall, Glasscock said education is key for advisers.

"I would encourage them to be open minded to the trends that are upon them, and just to really embrace and educate themselves in the area of wellness travel," he said.

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