If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s the necessity of self-care. The world has slowed down enough to pay attention to our minds, bodies, and spirits. This is more than diet fads we’re used to seeing as New Year’s resolutions. It’s about creating a sense of balance within. As clients seek escapes from their four walls, potentially for the first time since the winter, travel advisors can support the reemergence with a wellness holiday.
What does this look like during a pandemic? To start, the spa industry’s cleaning and sanitizing protocols are highly regulated. Therapists are accustomed to much of the PPE that has been introduced to our everyday lives. The call to action for an increase in safety was being discussed in this space in the beginning of the year. Similar to other services, you will likely see credit cards being sanitized, door handles being cleaned often, employees in masks, and hand sanitizer available at each turn.
What factors might make you feel safe. Perhaps a massage feels less daunting than a facial. Massage therapists are prepared to wear gloves during the service and often ask the client’s preference prior. For those in need of that glow, remember that estheticians are used to working on skin where cleanliness is imperative to do their job. Consider recommending touch free experiences as an option. This could be an energy treatment like reiki, sound baths, or a hydrotherapy circuit.
According to The International Center for Reiki Training, this Japanese technique focuses on the life force energy that runs through us. “If one’s ‘life force energy’ is low, then we are more likely to get sick or feel stress, and if it is high, we are more capable of being happy and healthy.” You could lay on a massage table with the option of being fully dressed while the healer works to balance their energy. The experience is relaxing, dreamlike, and can be an emotional release.
Sound baths use sound frequencies to promote healing. Practitioners could use crystal bowls, gongs, tuning forks, drums, and other instruments in this treatment. Each have a distinct purpose whether balancing the seven chakras or releasing tension in the nervous system. This can vary based on cultural traditions, so investigate what is offered in different destinations. Like reiki, this is a fully dressed treatment where the client will likely be on a yoga mat. The benefits are a balance of mind, body, and spirit with a deep sense of calming.
If you are is a spa fan, place a call to the spa director to walk through what isn’t available. This can vary so managing expectations is key. Saunas, steam rooms, relaxation rooms, and certain treatments might be off the table. Or they might not. Definitely call. Plus, now they’ll be on the lookout for your VIP.
Classes can be a little trickier but not impossible. Due to lower occupancy overall, these tend to be scheduled less frequently. They have a limited capacity with social distancing parameters in place, giving more space for that new Zumba move. Some resorts are providing private classes as an alternative. Picture doing yoga practice on the balcony of your suite with the crash of ocean waves behind you.
Avid gym goers will likely have the biggest adjustment. Fitness facilities are often requiring pre-booked appointments. This helps to limit the amount of people in the space and allows time to disinfect between visits. Many hotels and resorts are creating ways to bring the workout to the guest with digital classes and in-room equipment.
Don’t forget that reconnecting with nature is an element of wellness as well. Hiking trails, bicycling, and walking paths could be great options. Simply spending that time outside is rejuvenating.
Here are a few suggestions to plan a safe, supportive wellness itinerary.
- Get an updated spa menu from the concierge or spa. Don’t trust the website for accurate information.
- Recommend touch free experiences like reiki or sound baths.
- Determine class schedules or private class options.
- Ask the concierge about scheduling time at the gym.
- Pre-book spa treatments.
Like everything else, things continue to change. Stay in touch with the hotel or resort to best prepare. This is an ideal time to support clients’ self-care and overall well-being. The wellness tourism industry is ready to help.
Jackie Roby is Chief Excellence Officer at Inspired Journey Consulting, a Boston-based business dedicated to wellness, healing, and transformational tourism. She provides strategic sales solutions and training for travel professionals and well-being tourism businesses. Jackie is a travel industry veteran with over 19 years of sales experience. Before taking the leap of trust to start her own business, Jackie worked at Travel Leaders Group in the Hotel Division overseeing relationships with luxury, lifestyle and boutique hotels. In her tenure at TLG, she was Head of SELECT Wellness; a luxury wellness marketing and advisor training program. Jackie launched Inspired Journey Consulting to help support wellness tourism with the belief that these experiences are a recipe for healing, awareness, empathy, love, and inclusion.