Well-Being Travel Symposium Will Prep Agents for Hot Niche
by Marilee Crocker

When the inaugural Well-Being Travel Symposium convenes in Las Vegas in February, top supplier executives and thought leaders will be on hand to give travel agents the knowledge they need to get in on this fast-growth area of travel.

The two-day conference will bring travel professionals together with wellness experts, directors of top spas, hotel executives and other key players to discuss the trends and opportunities for travel sellers, said Anne Marie Moebes, executive vice president of Well-Being Travel, organizer of the symposium.

Scheduled for Feb. 18-19 at the MGM Grand, the Well-Being Travel Symposium is co-sponsored by Travel Market Report.

Connecting the dots for agents
The program of the Well-Being Travel Symposium has been designed as an intensive course in wellness travel.

Among highlights will be a presentation by Mia Kyricos, chief brand officer of Spa Finder Wellness Inc. Kyricos will present findings from research on wellness and spa tourism, including new travel agent and consumer surveys by Spafinder Wellness.

Kyricos promises to “connect the dots” for travel agents so they can apply what they learn to their business strategy.

Spa trends
Also on the program is a panel of spa directors who will discuss consumer trends, new products and treatments and how to promote spa travel effectively.

Panelists include spa directors from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, the Canyon Ranch SpaClub Inside the Venetian and Palazzo, Red Rock Casino Resort & Spa, and Trump International Hotel, Las Vegas.

Takeaways for agents
Travel sellers who attend will gain an in-depth understanding of wellness tourism, including the latest research gleaned from surveys of travel agents and consumers, as well as supplier trends, where spa travel fits in, and top and emerging destinations for wellness travel.

Attendees will learn about today’s wellness and spa travelers, including who they are, what they want and what they’re spending and the differences between primary and secondary wellness travelers.

The program also will explore how to market and sell to different target groups, among them millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and affluent travelers.

Guest speakers
Among the guest speakers are Anne Dimon of Travel to Wellness, who will discuss what consumers are looking for; Cheryl Smith, medical and wellness tourism manager for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, and Patty Noonan, CTC, director of sales for The Travel Institute, who will update attendees on education opportunities, including the new Well-Being Travel Specialist course (see sidebar).

Stowe Shoemaker, dean of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, will provide an overview of the school’s Healthy Hospitality Institute.

The program also features a student panel and trade show.

Consumer interest
“Consumers have shown a keen interest in wellness travel, and travel suppliers are responding by creating products that cater to today’s healthy traveler. It’s an incredibly lucrative niche for both travel sellers and suppliers,” said Well-Being Travel’s Moebes.

She cited a recent study commissioned by the Global Spa & Wellness Summit showing that wellness tourism accounts for more than $438 billion in sales globally. The U.S. generates $167 billion of those sales, according to the study.

Early bird registration
Early bird registration rates for the Well-Being Travel Symposium start at $99 and are available through Dec. 31. Registration includes the symposium, membership in Well-Being Travel and registration for the Well-Being Travel Specialist course.

After Dec. 31, registration for travel agents who are Well-Being Travel Specialists or members of Well-Being Travel is $149; for all other agents, $199. Supplier registration is $499.

To learn more, visit www.wellnesstravelsymposium.com.

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