The search for wellbeing; trends for 2022

14 January 2022
The search for wellbeing; trends for 2022


Dr Elizabeth Rogers, Associate Clinical Director at BUPA Health Clinics in the UK recently published a forecast called ‘The biggest health trends for 2022’. It made interesting reading and confirms that there is great and growing demand for health and wellbeing.

Here are some highlights:

  • Google searches for ‘gut health’ are up by 83%
  • Searches for ‘climate anxiety’ are up 418%
  • ‘Boosting immune system’ searches are up 84%
  • 80% increase in searches for ‘stress tracker’
  • 53% increase in searches for ‘mindful exercise’
  • 127% increase in searches for ‘mindful drinking’
  • 88% increase in searches for ‘mood tracker journal’
  • Large increases have also been noted for ‘skin’ and ‘sleep problems’ and ‘how to maintain mental health

For hospitality brands, the desire for knowledge about both mental and physical health is an opportunity. While ‘spa’ propositions, with an emphasis on pampering, have been around for years - our client Champneys established the first UK health spa back in 1925 - but the proposition has moved on through ‘wellness’ to the more holistic concept of ‘wellbeing’. Champneys has moved with the times, but while some might see this differentiation as semantics, there are fundamental differences which brands need to clearly articulate.

The pandemic has accelerated these changes as mental health has become a bigger and bigger issue, but easier to discuss as a result. Everyone now needs to look after their mental health and learn how to de-stress.

Selling wellbeing online

Over the past year we’ve worked with clients around the world who are investing in wellbeing, helping to launch the world’s first nature-immersive wellbeing island retreat, Joali Being in the Maldives, and Zulal by Chiva-Som in Qatar, a resort that blends Traditional Arabic & Islamic Medicine with a holistic health and wellbeing philosophy. Others will open their doors later in 2022 and 2023.

Building authentic and authoritative wellbeing brands doesn’t just make sense in answering the growing need for mindful retreats, it also makes good commercial sense. Successful, well-established wellbeing brands achieve much more repeat business than your average luxury resort. According to the Financial Times, this can range between 45% to 60% higher which, over-time can account for 70% to 80% of all bookings. Furthermore, these booking tend to come through direct channels rather than commission-hungry OTAs, agents and tour operators.

What is clear from the work we have done in this space, is that it’s not enough to define a compelling, authentic wellness proposition; you also need to be able to sell it online. That means using tech to create bespoke immersive programmes tailored to individuals’ needs before they arrive at the resort, and ensure online reservations systems are sufficiently smart and frictionless to price and sell these programmes online.

One of our key learnings from the past year is that travel tech is some way behind the wellbeing curve, and that conventional booking engines - which drive users to select a room or suite with a few extras - do not meet the needs of these new wellbeing brands.

Opportunities in search

Another observation is that with so much growth in health and wellness-related searches, there is real potential in targeting niche wellbeing terms. A year ago, who would have thought that ‘gut health’ ‘microbiome’ and ‘mental health’ search terms would become valuable search themes in the context of luxury hospitality?

Interest in wellbeing is poised to grow substantially in 2022, with new brands launching and others repositioning to address this growing opportunity for wellbeing retreats. The trend is set, but the winners will be those that deliver clear, engaging propositions and can remove friction from the digital user experience, as well as from our minds and bodies.

Peter Matthews
Nucleus founder and CEO