There’s a lot of money to be made in wellness travel. Big tech is smartly capitalizing on this growing sector by creating services that cater to travelers with personal well-being in mind, whether they’re slogging through a work trip or enjoying a DNA-based tourism trek.
The Skift Wellness newsletter is our weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.
It used to be that fitness was at the bottom of a business traveler’s priority list. Meetings with clients and drinks with co-workers? Yes, and oh yes. Sweat sessions in the gym? Mmm, not so much. But that’s changing thanks to the growing wellness movement, as business travelers and vacationers alike can now take live group classes from the comfort of their hotel rooms with workout programs like Obé or head to the hotel gym to ride its Peloton bikes.
Still, if you’re the type who frequents a personal trainer at home, you’ve likely been out of luck while traveling. But a new startup, Livekick, now lets its users sign up for 30-minute personal training sessions with a live instructor through its app or website.
Livekick’s workouts are tailored to wherever you are — like, say, a hotel room — and whatever equipment you have on hand. It’s a clever way to reach frequent travelers who want to stay in shape and keep the continuity of a favorite personal trainer from home, even while they’re away on a work trip. And the $3 million the company has raised in seed funding shows investors think so, too.
In other travel-meets-wellness news, the health and heritage startup 23andMe announced a partnership with Airbnb to offer ancestry-based travel recommendations. They may seem like strange bedfellows, but there’s an obvious market for this kind of travel as more people plan genealogy trips.
It makes sense that these two companies would come together to take advantage of the growing DNA-travel trend — just as it’s no surprise that a startup like Livekick is now reaching the previously untapped genre of remote personal-training fitness. Time will tell if these ventures take off.
— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor
Startup Livekick Raises $3 Million for On-the-Go Personal Training: Frequent travel is no longer a valid excuse to go without a workout — or at least that’s what the founders of Livekick want you to think. The personal training startup raised $3 million in seed funding for its app that connects customers with live, one-on-one personal training sessions. It differs from Peloton with its personal setting, as opposed to offering classes. But the fact that it similarly allows users to work out remotely could make it a hit for busy customers. Read more here.
CrossFit Leaves Facebook, Pointing Fingers: The CEO and founder of the fitness craze CrossFit, Greg Glassman, has never been one to stay silent over what he sees as a health injustice — for one, he’s waged war against “big soda.” His latest target, though, is Facebook. He deleted CrossFit’s pages on the platform for a variety of reasons, he said, including that “Facebook is acting in the service of food and beverage industry interests.” Time will tell if the move is a hit or a flop with the exercise community. Read more here.
23andMe Teams Up With Airbnb to Offer Family History Vacations: At first glance, it seems like an odd couple. But 23andMe, the health and heritage technology company, is partnering with Airbnb to offer customers suggestions for rentals and experiences in the places where their ancestors once lived. Airbnb will create dedicated heritage pages on its site corresponding to 23andMe reports, which allows it, of course, to get in on the growing trend of “genealogy tourism.” But it could also raise concerns about the company’s collection of genetic data. Read more here.
Lululemon Will Offer More Experiences to Build Customer Loyalty: On the surface, Lululemon is a fitness apparel company. But CEO Calvin McDonald wants it to be more than that, recently describing the retailer as an experiential brand, or at least one in the making. For starters, the company has begun opening bigger stores to allow for yoga and meditation classes. It also wants to host more events — last year it held 4,000 of them. Our take: Locking in loyal customers through in-house sessions is a good call. Read more here.
A 3-Floor CBD Store Opens in NYC, Aiming to Keep New Yorkers Calm: To capitalize on the buzz, online CBD retailer Standard Dose opened a 2,400-square foot brick-and-mortar store that offers customers a range of CBD ingestible goods and topical creams, plus a bar that serves CBD-infused tea. The company also offers massages, meditation and yoga classes, and educational programming, further aligning itself with the wellness trend and creating another way to pull in new customers. Read more here.
Mind & Body
Goop Takes On the Men’s Wellness Category: Gwyneth Paltrow’s wellness empire plans to expand its customer base by targeting men, beginning with a podcast called “Goopfellas” and a new newsletter that launches on June 5. Since athleisure brands like Lululemon are already widening their pitch toward men, it makes sense that wellness media brands like Goop would do so as well. According to Elise Loehnen, Goop’s head of content, there’s plenty of space in the market for a Goop approach to men’s health. “There is a real opportunity for something softer,” she said. Read more here.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.
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Photo Credit: Two men are shown riding a trail. Traveler interest in wellness on the road is changing thanks to the growing well-being movement. @fgmsp / Pixabay
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