BODHI Spa Founder Talks The State of Wellness Tourism

Have you considered booking a wellness-focused holiday? 

While international tourism is off the cards for Australians, predictably for many more months to come, our local wellness tourism industry is continuing to take strides. BODHI Spa Group is a great example of the continued industry demand for wellness tourism experiences and how businesses can adapt their offering to tap into the market.   

The group has recently opened their 6th eco-luxury spa retreat with an exciting Australian-first project on Rottnest Island also underway. Founder of BODHI Spa, Tania Taylor, spoke with us about developments in the industry and bringing wellness to Australians. 

What are the most significant changes you’ve experienced in Australia’s wellness tourism industry in recent years?

Tania Taylor, Bodhi Spa Group Founder

The demand for wellness services is booming. Since 2008 we’ve grown from one spa to five, and we are still struggling to meet demand. People are seeking deeper wellness experiences now more than ever, especially in this COVID time – to address physical, mental, emotional and even social needs. People want to reconnect to themselves and others.

We’ve also seen a more natural approach to health and wellness becoming mainstream, as consumers become more savvy about the ingredients used in their skin care and wellbeing products. And consumers now really value businesses that tread lightly, that authentically factor sustainability into their wellness offering. Millennials in particular are turning towards purpose driven businesses that support environmental causes and contribute to their local communities.  

What do you think has been the catalyst for these changes?

COVID of course has had a big impact.  More than ever our guests are wanting to de-stress, detoxify, relax and reconnect to themselves and others. It’s made wellness more of a necessity rather than a nice to have. In a recent study by Well Traveller, 1 in 4 Australians ranked their own current mental wellbeing as less than 5 out of 10.

More accessible information about clean beauty and wellness options, as well as increasing awareness of climate change have also been catalysts for change. Our customer base is now more knowledgeable than ever, and seeking more ‘home grown’ natural beauty and wellness brands, with tread lightly approaches to business.

Can you give us some insight into the expansion of BODHI – is it consumer demand leading your decisions around expansion locations or are you looking to improve what’s on offer in existing hotspots?

Consumer demand has played a part definitely. People are seeking more balance in their lives, week to week rather than every few months – whether it’s stressed-out mamas needing some time out, or millennials who do wellness all the time. 

In terms of new locations, we have a number of new BODHI projects in the pipeline. One is to replace an existing BODHI spa which has long reached its capacity, others are in existing hotspots where there is no eco-luxe spa offering. 

In terms of wellness experiences, in the last couple of years BODHI’s expanded its offering to include reflexology, reiki, chakra balancing, infra-red sauna and yoga retreats, all of which have been really well received by our guests. 

The treatment rooms at BODHI’s Injidup retreat deliver calm coastal vibes.

Can you tell us about your upcoming project on Rottnest Island? How did it come about and what can clients expect?

The Rottnest Lodge site, currently trading as Karma Resort, will undergo a $40 million transformation. The project will be delivered by a consortium of best-in-class Western Australian architects, construction, hospitality and wellness operators led by Place Development Australia. 

It will see the existing site transformed into a 94-room resort offering a range of mixed accommodation types to suit a wide range of travellers, a unique below-ground day spa, restaurant, sunset lounge bar, pool, artisan coffee and gelato shop and onsite staff accommodation. Feedback from aboriginal consultants also assisted in shaping the heart of the site to be a dedicated cultural public space that will offer year-round activation. 

The Bodhi spa is proposed to be located within a unique semi-underground location –an adaptive reuse of an existing water tank on site. The spa design will offer the ultimate ‘wow’ factor to the island’s offering with a sense of discovery as visitors wander through the grounds. This calm, textured building is proposed to be designed into the landscape as a haven for peace and rejuvenation.

Where do you see BODHI and the industry in general heading in the next few years?

A recent study conducted by the Global Wellness Institute states that once global restrictions are more fully lifted, the demand for wellness travel will skyrocket from current levels, so as a business we want to be well placed to meet this demand for wellness experiences, to service local clientele as well as visitors. 

We are keen to expand in our home state Western Australia, with 3-4 more spas in Perth and 1-2 more spas in the Margaret Rive region, where we are seeing huge demand for wellness services. And we’re also exploring some opportunities over East, to take the BODHI brand national. 

As an industry, all research points to huge growth in wellness sectors as we start to embrace wellness in more areas of our lives – across spa, beauty, ant-ageing, wellness tourism, physical activity, nutrition, traditional and complementary medicine, work place wellness. It’s an exciting time to be in spa! 

As you continue to grow, how are you ensuring you minimise your environmental footprint to align with your ethics as a brand?

BODHI takes a ‘tread lightly’ approach by using all-natural Australian-made products in our spa therapies – to minimise our carbon footprint, recycling waste materials and minimising water use. And we only use natural cleaning products in all of our day spas. We also offer e-vouchers and direct guests to our online spa menu where possible, to reduce the amount of marketing collateral going in to landfill. 

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