Skift Take

Empowerment, connection, and an adrenaline rush are drawing women to women-only wellness trips. The trend appears to have a few years of staying power, but smart marketing could make it last longer.

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.

Earlier this year, we predicted that women-only wellness travel would take off in 2019. Sure enough, we’ve witnessed just that.

For example, REI is seeing more women join its excursions: In 2018 women made up 59 percent of the company’s travelers. The outdoor outfitter also said sign-ups for women-only trips have doubled in demand from 2018 to 2019.

Startups, too, are carving out niches within the women-only retreat space. Most of these new companies focus primarily on adventure, whether it’s hiking Machu Picchu or trail running in Spain, and for good reason. These trips tend to be more transformational than, say, a few days lounging by the beach.

But why the women-only angle? For many female travelers, taking part in an adventurous activity alongside other women can create a special bond, best shared over a bonfire with a beer in hand. “Conversations tend to be more open and vulnerable, and empowerment creates a landscape of growth and friendship,” said Becky Marcelliano, outdoor marketing manager for adventure brand Salomon.

The clientele for these trips likely has plenty of money to spend too. Many of these travelers tend to be women in the thick of a busy career, looking for a mental break and an emotional high.

Speaking of stress and work, the business travel space is seeing a wellness-oriented shift, although changes have been slow to catch on. Providers in the sector are finally taking small steps to incorporate ways travelers can feel better and maintain their health and fitness routines while traveling for work. Better late than never.

Check out my story below as we begin to post our own original Skift stories about wellness in travel in this newsletter.

For feedback or news tips, reach out via email at [email protected] or tweet me @lesliebarrie.

— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor


Wellness for Business Travel Is an Uphill Slog: It only makes sense that business travel — including meetings and conventions — would incorporate more aspects of the wellness movement. While industrywide changes are happening, it’s debatable whether they’ve made a real impact on the lives of business travelers yet. Read more here.

Demand for Women-Only Adventure Trips Surges: After launching women-only adventure trips two years ago, REI has seen these excursions more than double in popularity between 2018 and 2019. Meanwhile, more women-specific travel companies have sprouted up, from Run Wild Retreats to WHOA Travel. Founders hope it’s not a momentary trend but a lasting shift in the way women travel. Read more here.


The SoulCycle Boycott May Actually Be Working: Last month loyal customers revolted against the indoor cycling company after news broke that co-owner Stephen Ross hosted a fundraiser for Donald Trump in the Hamptons. Many skeptics thought the fitness company would be back to business as usual within a week or so, but the boycott seems to have made a legitimate dent in sales. It’s a warning to other wellness companies: Make sure leadership follows the brand’s ethos. Read more here.

Mind & Body

A Wave of New Startups Aims to Disrupt In-Person Therapy: Online therapy apps like Talkspace have grown in popularity, but that doesn’t mean traditional in-person therapy is going away. In fact, a handful of startups have entered the room. Companies like Two Chairs and Kip utilize technology, for example, to match patients with practitioners, but the core of their service is meeting face-to-face. At $180 per session for some, it still seems prohibitively pricey. Read more here.


Small Investors Want a Piece of CBD Beauty: CBD beauty brand Herb Essentials just received an injection of funds from LB Equity, while CBD company Lord Jones was acquired by The Cronos Group last month. Uncertainties over what is — and what will stay — legal when it comes to CBD has likely kept major investors away, but that hasn’t stopped smaller investors from dipping their toes into the burgeoning beauty niche. Read more here.

Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [[email protected]] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.

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Tags: business travel, corporate travel, Skift Wellness, wellness, women travelers

Photo credit: Two women are shown surfing. Women-only wellness travel has taken off in 2019. @amutiomi / Unsplash

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