Specialist travel company Wellbeing Escapes is more than a luxury hotel and spa listing website - it is a website that appeals to seasoned spa enthusiasts as well as the novice, giving users unique access to a wealth of guidance, inspiration and knowledge plus news, tips and chat from the world of spa, wellbeing and holistic health - all delivered in an informal, engaging style.
Stella Photi, founder of Wellbeing Escapes, is as an expert source. Through her meticulous research Stella has accumulated a wealth of knowledge of the world of spa and wellness Together with her team, she has searched out the rare, the wonderful, the best kept secrets and the ultimate escapes - many of which are handled exclusivel. Mary Aziz spoke to Stella and find out what we could look forward to from the future.
BTN: How long have you been running Wellbeing Escapes?
Stella: Close to 4 years now.
BTN: What was involved in the initial Wellbeing Escapes concept –what were you hoping to create?
Stella: I have always been interested in complementary health options and for many years I sought out spa and wellbeing holidays for myself as a means for stress relief, living a typical hectic lifestyle! Sometimes I was disappointed with the experience, having spent a lot of money and not feeling like I got what I paid for. That’s when I started thinking about starting a company like Wellbeing Escapes that could pre-qualify and check out the quality of the treatments, accommodation and provide a seamless wellbeing experience.
I made my decision to start the company when I started practising yoga and wanted to go on a yoga retreat that would tick all the boxes with regards to my own requirements – I didn’t want anything too hippy like but some luxury with like minded people and good quality yoga. I googled “yoga holidays” and ended up with hundreds of options that were difficult to differentiate without spending endless hours on the internet. That’s when I decided to start a company that could provide a service for people like me who want advice and guidance to a wellbeing break that suits their individual needs.
BTN: How would you describe the typical experience at Wellbeing Escapes?
Stella: It’s all in the detail. Every holiday we sell goes through very stringent quality checks and it’s not just about the facilities at the resort or the rooms. We look at the training of the therapists, the yoga teachers, how the programmes have been put together to achieve a specific goal. For example there are many gimmicky detox holidays available but you won’t find them through us – the combination of the treatments, food and activities has to be just right. We look at details like how the resort deals with emotional detox which often happens alongside a physical detox and what experts are on hand to help our clients deal with this. Other details such as the ambience, if single travellers will feel comfortable, if water is readily available without people being charged an arm and leg for it.
I started the company to give guidance and advise in the often confusing world of spa and the team are very well trained to help people find the right option. We have conversations with all of our clients, gently finding out what they want to achieve from their holiday and what is important to them. Although our website provides a great source of information and can help educate people in the world of spa and wellbeing, we are very personal company and do not take bookings online for that reason. A wellbeing holiday is a very personal experience and we want our clients to feel taken care when they are choosing their holiday and before they go. We even schedule their spa treatments before they go so there is one less thing to worry about when they arrive!
BTN: What is the Wellbeing Escapes niche?
Stella: We are the spa and wellbeing holiday experts in the UK. We do not sell holidays that do not have a wellbeing or spa element and a big proportion of our holidays are programmes that achieve a specific goal such as weight loss, detox, fitness etc. We also have lots of pampering and relaxation packages that include treatments and activities.
Many of our clients are busy, successful women who do not feel guilty about investing in their health and see a wellbeing holiday as a necessary part of their lives. We are recently seeing more interest from men who are wanting more fitness type programmes. A high percentage of our clients are single travellers. A wellbeing holiday is perfect for travelling on your own as you can focus purely on yourself and not worry about keeping your partner/friend or kids happy.
BTN: How many Spa and Wellness resorts do you currently have on your website?
Stella: We have approximately 50 resorts that we work with at this time, many of them featured in more than one of our wellbeing categories. We get approached daily by hotels with spas to feature them on our website but we are very specific about the quality of the spas, the training of the staff and overall environment and carry out stringent quality checks on each resort we take on.
BTN: What are the benefits of going through Wellbeing Escapes?
Stella: Firstly I would say our service. Our team is extremely well-trained and help guide and advise our clients on what is right for them. We tailor make a lot of our holidays as a wellbeing holiday is such a personal experience and our clients want to feel like they are being taken care of.
We also provide great value with pre negotiated special spa packages for our clients and many exclusive offers such as no single supplements, free treatments and activities.
BTN: What are your most popular resorts?
Stella: Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary on Koh Samui – a beautiful holistic resort in a naturally beautiful environment, gentle and kind staff who have the expertise to nurture and heal.
Aphrodite Hills Resort in Cyprus that have one of the best run spas in Europe. We have some great exclusive packages there such as a Flexible Fitness Programme where people can choose their daily fitness activity which is extremely popular with our clients.
Shanti Ananda a fantastic destination spa located on a stunning beach in Mauritius.
BTN: What is average web traffic for a full day?
Stella: About 500 unique visits per day
BTN: What can we look forward to in the future from Wellbeing Escapes?
Stella: Even more information on our website, and some exciting developments with our product range.