Samantha Lippiatt spent quite a few years in the ‘mainstream’ of the travel business; a few years she had this idea about health, wellness and travel so she went in search of an opportunity and found it with a business called Health and Fitness Travel. Samantha is now an entrepreneur, healthy lifestyle advocate and co-founder of Australia’s first speciality wellness travel company Health and Fitness Travel. She has an unbridled enthusiasm for all things travel, health and fitness and is committed to providing healthy holidays options that not only enhance but change lives.
I caught up with Sam – on the Travel Writers Show -on Melbourne’s J-Air just few days ago and asked her first:
How did you get into the Health and Fitness Travel Business?
I wanted to combine my passions for wellness and travel, originally I was looking to set up my own retreat and in doing so I noticed there was no platform on which to market these types of holidays even though my research showed it was becoming increasingly popular. My personal experience and market research showed me that travellers, particularly within the wellness sector, wanted a trustworthy, knowledgeable and localised contact to help guide them through their booking experience and to help them explore the many options on offer.
During my research I came across Health and Fitness Travel in the UK, the “experts in tailor-made healthy holidays”; and after studying them and their business model I knew I had to bring this business to Australia. It was immediately well received with many travellers calling in and telling us how they had been on the lookout for such a business and booking up their healthy holidays and it continues to gain popularity and followers month-on-month.
Wellness tourism is a fast growing market segment – up so 35% over the last few years is that what you see in your business:
The local wellness tourism sector is growing every day with more and more Australians seeking better ways to take care of themselves and to improve their lifestyle. There is a growing segment of travellers who are even taking trips specifically focused on maintaining and improving their personal health and well-being. This is driving the growth of wellness tourism and we can’t wait to see Wellness Travel go mainstream.
What sort of holidays are people buying:
There is a big focus early in the year on fitness and overall healthy lifestyles to kick-start the New Year, and lots of de-stress and relaxation holidays booked for later in the year to give travellers something to look forward to as they move into another busy year. A big trend we have identified is the Yoga fusion holiday where guests combine yoga with another interest such as Yoga and spa to de-stress, Yoga and Stand up Paddle-board for fitness and fun. There are others who want to explore the country in which they are travelling, so they look at our bespoke Discover Recover range.
One property in particular is very popular with Australian Travellers and a personal favourite of mine, Kamalaya in Koh Samui Thailand and I believe that is due to the wide range of programs on offer. From detox to fitness and even a program tailored especially around embracing major life change there is something on offer for every wellness traveller.
You have a great website; does that drive a lot of traffic:
We are really proud of our website, it is easy to navigate, provides the option to browse by destination, specific health and fitness holiday experiences or preferred time of year to travel. We also have a great blog attached to it with lots of wellness industry information and industry experts including personal trainers, sports instructors, nutritionists and yoga teachers, as well as local destination specialists will often share advice for our readers. This year we will be adding more functionality and creating a mobile friendly version as we know lots of our clients like to research on their lunch-break via their hand held devices.
You seem to have a very full range of holidays on offer:
Health and Fitness Travel provides clients with a huge range of bespoke active and wellness getaways worldwide; from fitness, to detox and de-stress programs through to comprehensive well-being spa and rejuvenation retreats, and we can tailor make the perfect health and fitness holidays to suit our clients goals and interests. We have even created our own exclusive range “Fusion Fitness” holidays that allows us to create a program unique to the traveller with many leading properties where this option did not exist before.
So whether people want to be active on holiday and learn a new activity such as kite-surfing, mountain biking, diving and tennis, or simply relax in a spa, meditate or participate in a yoga class, detox or fitness program, we’ll find the perfect health and fitness holiday for them.
Do you regularly have special offers available:
Yes we do – We promote all of our latest offers via the website, and as part of our negotiations we are often able to include special bonus inclusions exclusively for guests of Health and Fitness Travel.
Do you have a personal favourite H&F destination:
There are so many, we have a just partnered with a fantastic collective of luxury walks in Australia (Great walks of Australia) and I am about to join one to explore down in Tasmania and I am really looking forward to it.
Some of my all-time favourites very close to home are:
Aro Ha Retreat, perfect for a detox and fitness holiday located just outside of Queenstown, New Zealand offering an all-inclusive eco-friendly retreat where you begin and end your days with yoga and in-between explore the stunning scenery with sub-alpine hiking, my husband loved this property and we both felt so revitalised after our stay. COMO Shambhala in Bali, is fantastic for a de-stress and relaxation holiday where you can focus on your total wellbeing, Guest teachers and practitioners fly in from all over the world to this spectacular wellness sanctuary. The spa is world class and the food is so healthy but delicious. What more could you ask for?
San went on to offer a couple of specials for our listeners on J-Air and they are in fact still available for any readers who wish to take advantage of them: To find out more go to the website: www.healthandfitnesstravel.com.au
For those who want to read more about the global growth in wellness travel, there is a comprehensive report available on the Global Wellness Summit http://bit.ly/1641rVg