According to Agoda.com, an independent online travel company, one of the fastest growing segments of their travel business is “wellness travel,” a segment dedicated to fitness, spas, yoga and mediation retreats, medical tourism and other personal pampering. Wilfred Fan, Vice President of Business Development at Agoda estimates that the wellness segment is expected to grow at least 150% during 2007.
Resorts offering these services are worldwide. But Asia, which represents the vast majority of Agoda’s sales, is particularly strong with travelers finding excellent value for the money in Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam and India. Agoda is actively ramping up inventory to meet the increased demand.
Fan says “Our focus this year expanding our relationships with these resorts, thereby getting increased amounts of allotments so we confirm requests in real time, better deals and access to airport transfer and other special services for our customers.”
Agoda has secured special deals with many partners around the world. Agoda works together with the Destination Spa Group, a consortium of 24 elite properties worldwide. The Desination Spa Group include Chiva-Som in Hua Hin, Thailand, ranked by Travel + Leisure as the #1 Destination Spa in the world and as the Best Spa in Asia by readers of SpaFinder, California’s Golden Door, British Columbia’s Hills Health Ranch and Utah’s Red Mountain. These resorts are for customers set on a serious spa experience.
Says Michelle Kleist, Executive Director of the Destination Spa Group, “The experience at our resorts is transforming - a full immersion into healthy and joyous living. Guests come for the structured and personalized programs that blend fitness activities, healthy cuisine, wellness education, discovery classes, relaxation and renewal. Guests leave enriched for life. We’re pleased that spa-goers can find our properties on Agoda.com”
Another up-and-coming partner of Agoda is the Evason Resorts/Six Senses Spa Group. With properties in Thailand (Hua Hin, Phuket), Vietnam (Nha Trang, Ana Mandara) and the Maldives (Fushi, Gili), Evason is rapidly making a name for itself in the luxury spa world.
Two of Agoda’s newest offerings in Thailand are Rarin Jinda in Chiang Mai and Koh Samui’s Kamalaya. “These two new boutique resorts are privately owned, peacefully removed from the tourist bustle and emphasize wellness,” says Fan. “and we’re pleased to be the first online merchant to promote these offerings.”
According to Fan, customers will see more and more properties on Agoda.com in the coming months. “Demand is accelerating for this segment of travel,” he says, “and for the industry, Agoda and its customers, that’s a healthy thing.”