Spa On Arrival – The New Travel Ritual


It used to be that while travelling for business or pleasure, spa treatments were a luxurious add-on, something fitted in between a meeting and dinner, or perhaps an afternoon treat in a new city.

Now they and other wellness offerings are being prioritised both en route and on arrival – either for the traveller to get a head start on relaxation or to kick-start productivity, according to ””””””””””””””””””the Spafinder Wellness 365 2015 Trends Forecast*.

For growing numbers of travellers, a workout or spa experience is becoming an indispensible post-flight ritual, whether it’s a self-directed activity (a brisk walk or online yoga class), a specialised workout or spa treatment delivered on arrival either in the room, hotel spa or another property in the destination city.

Or it might be just a quick post-flight detox with juices and nutritious (ideally local, natural) foods – it’s all about nipping jet lag in the bud and hitting the ground feeling alert, energised and relaxed. Our fast-paced world means we all need to hit the ground running, whether it’s for a business meeting, sporting event, romantic getaway or a family holiday. We want our brains and bodies in top form.

It’s not just business travellers who are demanding wellness anytime, anywhere. According to Expedia’s 2014 Vacation Deprivation study, 53 percent of worldwide respondents take several short vacations and long weekend trips versus a long holiday.

To reap the full benefit of precious time off, relaxation must begin very quickly. Massage, acupressure, reflexology and other bodywork are proven ways to express-deliver stress reduction and relaxation, and spa treatments on arrival do just that.



Put simply, the biggest driver in this trend is our growing awareness of what’s good for our bodies and minds and the sooner we can achieve those benefits, the better.

Consumers demand instant gratification and want what they want when they want it – whether it’s yoga at midnight, an in-room massage in the pre-dawn hours, or a post-flight Pilates class.

Spas throughout the world, especially those in remote areas that require punishing travel – Australia must surely be near the top of this list! – are also putting post-flight recovery on the ‘must do’ list.

The recently opened Cheval Blank Randheli in the Maldives touts a complimentary 20-minute Jet Lag Recovery massage for all guests at the start of their stay.

Others, like Maya Sayang in Bali, incorporate a welcome foot massage into the check in process, while the Emiliano in Brazil’s Sao Paulo ushers guests into their full-service spa for a complimentary 15-minute massage.


It’s no wonder practitioners like Los Angeles-based massage therapist Jessie Rice, who co-owns In-Spiraling Movement Arts, which offers spa services in addition to Gyrotonics, Gyrokinesis and Pilates training, sees more people stopping by his studio as soon as they touch-down home or kick off their business trip in LA.

‘My clients are much more in touch with what’s happening with their bodies these days – there’s an awareness that didn’t exist before,’ he says. ‘And they know that things like sauna, massage, and physical activities are a great antidote to air travel and can boost recovery time considerably.’

He acknowledges that seasoned travellers have been aware of the hardships travel creates on the body for some time. The difference today, he contends, is that ‘this awareness is now going mainstream.’

One thing is certain – delivering spa on arrival is good for business. Putting people immediately into a positive state of mind by giving them something they enjoy on such a deep level will make them much more inclined to connect with the place and the brand.

Hotel or destination spas are betting that this ‘connection’ and goodwill will translate into the purchase of additional services.

Smart spa and wellness businesses have already been changing to offer treatments the moment people need and demand them.

The luxury chain Oberoi Hotels and Resorts offers 24-hour spa-ing for their clientele who arrive any time of the day or night. Expect to see more early morning and late night spa-ing – whether at the hotel destination or at local day spas.

Hotel spas that cater to business travellers during the week have long been aware that early hours are necessary to meet the needs of these guests, but look for this to expand as more hotels tap into the ‘wellness on arrival’ vibe by offering everything from tea ceremonies and smoothies at check-in, to in-room aromatherapy designed to overcome the travails of travel, to fitness any time of the day or night.


In a world where looking and feeling well is the measure of a life best lived, having wellness take the lead when we are coming and going makes perfect sense.

Expect to see more spas and fitness studios catering to jet-lagged travellers and spas and fitness facilities becoming as common in airports as newsstands.

Spa on arrival has definitely arrived. And fortunately, these days you don’t have to travel far to find it.

* About Spafinder Wellness 365 and its Top 10 Global Spa and Wellness Trends Forecast

Spafinder Wellness 365’s goal with the annual Trends Forecast is to provide the insight and information companies in the wellness industry will need to make sound decisions in the year ahead – and help businesses, consumers and the media understand how economic, cultural and social shifts will impact not only our industry, but also people’s lives.

In the sea of trend lists appearing each new year, we think our unique forecast stands out, taking an intense, research-driven view of what’s trending across the global wellness landscape from spa experiences to fitness, beauty, travel, nutrition and even workplace wellness. And unlike a standard slideshow, our 70-plus page report dives deep into the why, how and where each trend is developing.

The 2015 Spa and Wellness Trends Forecast is developed by a team of research analysts, editors and industry experts, and is based on ongoing surveys of the 20,000-plus spa, wellness and beauty providers in the Spafinder Wellness 365 Network, thousands of travel agents and hundreds of thousands of consumers – as well as interviews with industry leaders and extensive analysis of current market research.


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