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Half of high-net-worth individuals have taken a planned wellness holiday, and of those who haven’t, 80% are interested in trying one for the first time, according to a recent study. Financial advisors who embrace this trend can appeal to a high-end market.

For one thing, wellness travel is a “feel-good” topic of conversation and a change from portfolio performance or the latest compliance regulation,” says London-based Chris Wisson, knowledge director with Altiant, the firm specializing in luxury and wealth management that conducted the study.

Altiant found that despite high overall levels of reported happiness and general health, only 66% of respondents described themselves as relaxed.

“The relatively low levels of relaxation could be due to many things — work, investments, personal relationships,” Wisson said. “But it does show that for many, financial security does not automatically provide happiness.”

Instead, many of the affluent are stressed.

“The importance of mental health, in addition to physical, has seen activities such as yoga soar in popularity in recent years,” Wisson told ThinkAdvisor. “We are facing a population that is wealthy (top 5%) yet not relaxed and probably slightly sleep deprived, with 64% interested in sleeping pods in public locations.”

Wellness tourism is defined as traveling for the purpose of health and wellbeing through physical, psychological or spiritual activities; however, medical tourism is excluded. It is a $4.2 trillion industry, according to the Global Wellness Institute.

The Altiant researchers, who surveyed more than 600 respondents within the top 5% of income earners or wealth holders in China, the U.K., the U.S. and France, further found that partners, family members and friends are likely to be the most influential when selecting to book a wellness holiday. But advisors in the know may be able to provide valuable guidance — a way to add value to a high-touch client relationship.

“They are well placed to tap into the impact of personal recommendations, particularly for clients whom they have a particularly good rapport with,” Wisson said. “Financial advisors should clearly position their expertise and insider knowledge so that the client feels like they are receiving an experience which is unique and difficult to replicate for others.”

According to the study, released in April 2018, younger segments appear to be driving the wellness tourism trend, with 57% of 18- to 40-year-olds reporting they have previously taken a wellness holiday compared with just 41% of over those over 40 years old.

Some 28% of the study’s respondents were willing to pay more than $3,750 for a 3-night stay, and 13% were prepared to pay more than $5,000. That’s because wellness holidays are a great way for people to switch off from day-to-day stresses and improve their health while still treating themselves to luxurious experiences, Wisson says.

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