Saturday, 1 February 2014

WelDest Research Report Now Out!

Results from the primary research, including both consumer and stakeholder research, are now available. Some 748 consumers across Austria, Finland, Germany, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom focused on questions such as what exactly attracts guests to Health & Well-Being (H&WB) destinations, which services or elements of the destination they value the most and perhaps most importantly, whether their needs are being met.

Some 52 policy makers, regional developers and hospitality managers across Europe, involved in shaping and providing the services that make up Health and Well-being destinations, were also interviewed. The research focused on determining the role that H&WB currently plays in these places and what role it will play in the future.

Overwhelmingly, the facilities surveyed, such as Thermae Bath Spa or Malvern Spa, both partners in the UK, were seen to be meeting the needs of customers. Customers reflected a balance between different ages, and predominantly saw a visit to a spa as for relaxation rather than explicit medical or health reasons.

Key findings reinforce the need for organisations and destinations to combine expertise and skills relating to treatments with wider customer care and hospitality and tourism elements. Factors such as the reputation of the destination, the natural and built environment, and supporting products such as local food, events and culture were all seen as important. Stakeholders confirmed the importance of co-ordinating activity at a destination level while working in partnership with an effective destination management organisation. European differences are evident, with Finns being more active, Brits being more pampered, and Germans being more likely to enjoy medical treatments.

The research report is the first of four important end products to be produced in 2014, as part of the project. Also currently being produced is an e-handbook, which will focus on case studies relating to best practice in the industry, and also provide a detailed framework for destination management and development for potential destinations interested in well-being related products. Supporting this will be a diagnostic tool for destinations looking to develop in this area, and educational materials relating to the teaching of health and well-being tourism.

Click here to enter the full report

Paul Bamber,
Senior Lecturer