Marketing Strategies for Health & Wellness Tourism
Tourism is regarded as one of the top five employers worldwide. Adding a medical component niche to tourism adds an industry that already employs 1/7th of the world's population. Tourism plays a significant role in the economic and social development of many destinations and communities around the world.
The internationally recognized VICE model recognizes that tourism in a destination is the interaction between:
the Industry that serves them;
the Community that hosts them; and their collective impact on, and response to
the Environment where it all takes place.
Helping Public and Private Stakeholders
The Center for Health Tourism Strategy helps public and private stakeholders to build, grow and manage their health & wellness tourism destinations & communities.
We are defining the future of health & wellness travel and tourism by providing you a variety of generous resources you can use for:
If you market effectively, "selling" becomes superfluous
When a destination decides that health or wellness tourism is a possibility, it usually sets out to find assistance with a few specific objectives. These are usually outlined in a set of Terms of Reference (TORs) that focus on a comprehensive situation analysis to determine if medical, dental, rehab, dialysis or wellness and spa tourism is feasible and what assets are already available and ready to begin with a quick start that can produce positive results. This approach is similar to the mise en place that occurs in a chef's kitchen before the chef begins cooking the food.
The output of the situation analysis is a report of the information and observations gathered so that health and wellness tourism marketers can start identifying likely buyers and customer personas and the products that will be attractive to those personas. The report should also recommend the best ways to connect with prospects and nurture leads. Together, marketers and consultant develop a written master strategy and present it to stakeholders in the community to elicit buy in.
Once the ultimate master health and wellness tourism development strategy is decided, a task force is often selected that includes a cross section of stakeholders, government authorities to begin the execution and implementation of that strategy and determining what further assistance, if any, they may need.
Read our blogs to learn more
There are many articles on the Center for Health Tourism Strategy website about developing a marketing strategy for a medical tourism business. If you read these, you will accelerate your knowledge and understanding of what is involved and best practices to design a marketing strategy for a medical tourism business launch.
Advertising Health & Wellness Tourism
Advertising is a non-personal form of promotion that is delivered through selected media outlets that, under most circumstances, require the marketer to pay for message placement.
Advertising is a one-way form of marketing communication where the message receiver (i.e., target market) is not in position to immediately respond to the message. But this is changing. Technology is now available that enables the message recipient to engage by click a link or button to request more details on a product or service seen on their hotel television or their tablet or smart phone. Soon advertising will move away from a one-way communication model and become one that is highly interactive.
Several health and wellness tourism services (e.g., minor cosmetic and dental procedures, executive checkups, quick consultations, laboratory testing and preventive screening exams) can be incorporated into this new advertising medium to covert a visitor at a destination into a health or wellness tourism visitor that might increase revenue and length of stay and activate more local value chain stakeholders.
Benchmarking advertising results
Many destinations overlook this option altogether. Others make the mistake of implementing this strategy but then overlook how they will measure and evaluate the revenue performance associated with the strategy. Still others implement and set up metrics but then overlook the need to codify the data collection and verification in a framework regulation that enforces the data submission by stakeholders and provides a budget and responsibility for the data compilation and reporting.
Branding Health & Wellness Tourism
Branding is essential for medical tourism sellers. Medical tourism sellers must establish a trustable brand for someone to fly or drive a great distance to seek critical medical treatment from a stranger.
Many medical tourism sellers may have local recognition, but have not yet established themselves as a recognized global brand. An overarching brand strategy for the destination helps stakeholders integrate into that brand for their own individual branding and differentiation to enhance competition while aligning with the destination goals, messages, and theme. Instead of "going rogue", stakeholders make the leap from hometown supplier to become globally-recognized solutions to people's health problems. At that point the market takes them seriously and places trust in the professional brand reputation of the physician, the facility or the health tourism product and the destination.
In designing the brand, design the story that captures the attention of the buyer and explains the benefit that a health tourism buyer should expect if they choose your brand over all others.
Experienced health and wellness tourism consultants bring insights and knowledge about your competitors. This information helps you to fast track the creation of your brand story, relevance, and differentiation and ignites a desire to take action that leads to bookings.
Healthcare advertising regulations may need an update
Many health and wellness tourism destinations should revisit their advertising laws and regulations to allow health and wellness tourism advertising by healthcare practitioners. Decades have passed since these laws were enacted to protect vulnerable consumers from claims of exaggerated treatment results and false expectations. These new interactive advertising options were either never envisaged or considered then.
Times have changed. Old laws may need to be redrafted in order to move forward with implementation of a marketing plan that includes physician and health facility advertising. The revised regulations can be designed to accelerate the adoption and implementation of these new interactive advertising methods that differentiate modern and forward thinking destinations and their healthcare provider stakeholders, while shielding the public from unchecked hyperbole through enforceable limitations.