Fitfluencer’ Retreats: Not Your Mother’s Spa Retreat

BY Courtney Huckabay

"Young consumers don’t want the respected spa resort stalwarts of yore, they want to go wherever their prized fitness instructors go. The glory days of Canyon Ranch and Rancho La Puerta are quickly giving way to one-​off retreats starring social media “fit-​fluencers” and wellness gurus." The founders of Well+Good say the tide is shifting.

"The findings of their survey of nearly 5,000 readers: 40% of respondents reported they’d rather go on a fitness retreat with their favorite instructor than attend a five-​star resort like the esteemed Miraval in Arizona. (The findings were on par with a recent study conducted by SpaFinder). Meanwhile, 91% of respondents admitted they had never been to such such a high-​end resort. More than half of these readers, mind you, go on several vacations a year," Rina Raphael reports in Fast Company.

Resorts and hotel spas should take these fitness/​wellness retreat trends into consideration when marketing to millennials. It's also worth targeting Solo Vacationers who don't necessarily need companions for a wellness weekend getaway. The newest research from the AudienceSCAN survey revealed 10% of Americans plan to take vacations by themselves in the next year. And 28% of them are from the Y generation.

"Indeed, as burned-​out millennials look to vacations to reset their health habits, wellness travel has swelled into a $563 billion global industry. The booming sector, defined as vacationing while enhancing one’s physical, mental, or spiritual well-​being, grew 14% in the last two years, nearly double that of overall tourism, reports the Global Wellness Institute. More than 690 million wellness-​focused trips, ranging from bootcamps to meditation retreats, were taken in the last year."

It makes a lot of sense when one considers the top four personal goals for Solo Vacationers revolve around wellness. That's right, the AudienceSCAN survey showed 49% of Solo Vacationers set personal goals to exercise more; 46% to eat healthier; 38% to lose weight; and 37% to get better sleep.

[Americans] are constantly stressed,” Beth McGroarty, research director at the Global Wellness Institute, previously told Fast Company. “It’s pushing people to want vacations that are restorative and actually make them feel better.”

And for many, feeling better comes with exercise. The latest AudienceSCAN data reported Solo Vacationers are 68% more likely than average Americans to participate in aerobics/​pilates, and 44% more likely to do yoga.

"That, coupled with the fact that wellness is now a marker of luxury, makes wellness travel a prime business opportunity for Well+Good. Their readers, as Brue attests, readily spend several hundred dollars on a Vitamix and own a wardrobe full of pricey Lululemon leggings. They’re not skimping when it comes to time off: 63% of readers said they would spend as much as $500 per day on a wellness retreat."

Also of note: a whopping 99% of readers reported food as a top priority during wellness vacations.

AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies, or with the SalesFuel API. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the AudienceSCAN Reports in AdMall.