The wellness revolution has arrived. Here’s why companies should jump on board

The corporate travel trend marries business travel and wellness programming. Picture: Supplied

The corporate travel trend marries business travel and wellness programming. Picture: Supplied

Published Jan 31, 2024


For years, corporate travel meant that you get to your destination, get down to business and head back home.

But the tide is turning as some companies fast realise that employee wellness and satisfaction improves overall performance.

That said, the companies are starting to roll out the wellness mat for business travellers, offering experiences such as glamping getaways, yoga retreats, and transformational festivals.

The corporate travel trend marries business travel and wellness programming.

Bonnie Smith, the general manager of Corporate Traveller, a division of the Flight Centre Travel Group, said companies must embrace the new reality and realise that employee satisfaction, performance and retention relied on a holistic approach.

“By partnering with wellness-focussed hotels or destinations, companies can take off-site meetings, team building workshops and strategy sessions to environments purpose-built for restoration.

“Massages, outdoor adventure, healthy meals, meditation spaces and movement sessions are all on the agenda, seamlessly integrated into more traditional meetings and workshops.”

Smith advised companies to ditch the one-size-fits-all approach.

Business trips increasingly incorporate holiday time before or after work commitments so employees avoid rushing back to crowded calendars and overflowing in-boxes.

“Bringing family members along helps frequent travellers combat loneliness and long separations from loved ones, contributing to better mental health.”

She said the workforce called for a more personalised options that met employees wherever they were on their wellness or life journey.

“Forward-thinking travel programmes allow for flexibility and choice. Simple policy shifts can also make space for wellness.”

What does the future look like? Some of the new wellness travel trends:

Tuning in with sound baths

Smith said sound healing was proved to have the ability to melt away stress, improve sleep and boost mental clarity.

“This makes it a perfect antidote for the travel weary. Even quick, combined sessions could work magic when strategically timed between long flights or first thing at a wellness resort.”

Silencing sensory overload

“Enter silent retreating. Allocating intentional technology and talking fasts could give business travellers’ nervous systems a much-needed break. Attentiveness and creativity tend to rocket post-silence. And what businessperson wouldn’t benefit from that?”

Realigning with nature

Smith said nature bathing, forest therapy or moonlight meditations were perfect for curbing burnout and providing business travellers with the mental clarity and inspiration they craved.

“The rising stress endemic among business travellers demands innovative solutions. Half of South Africans have experienced stress so intense that it temporarily prevented them from going to work.”

According to a survey by the South African Depression and Anxiety Group and Discovery Health, this cost more than R218 billion in lost working hours.

“Out-of-the-box wellness approaches have great potential for group and incentive travel too. As demand increases for restorative experiences, companies should get ahead of the curve and seriously consider taking advantage of their benefits.”