New study reveals couples are seeking ‘active’ honeymoons


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On the brink of bridal season, Westin Hotels & Resorts, part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has revealed a new study that illustrates a seismic shift in honeymoon travel trends in North America. In the last five years, rising wealth, digital connectivity and an increasing global demand for wellness have changed the way couples book, plan and experience their honeymoon. The survey, conducted in North America in partnership with StudyLogic, found surprising results centred on the fact that couples are packing more into their honeymoon travels, which means seeking more active experiences and visiting more destinations in less time.

“Statistically, people are getting married later in life and, more often, have the flexibility to travel as a couple before the ‘big day’, so what couples are looking for in a honeymoon has changed dramatically – from travel dates and ideal destinations to their desire to keep their wellness routine intact,” said Bob Jacobs, Vice President, Brand Management for Westin Hotels & Resorts. “In sync with today’s trends, Westin is uniquely positioned to deliver better vacation days through wellness, allowing guests to get the most out of the time they take off together – whether it is in Waikiki or Whistler.”

Honeymooners more likely to visit multiple destinations

With time out of the office at a premium, it is no surprise that a growing number of couples are travelling more in less time. The number of couples who have visited more than one destination on their honeymoon has increased from 35 per cent to 70 per cent in the last five years.

Newlyweds are spending less time getting to their honeymoon destination, opting for trips closer to home that provide robust itineraries that pack a punch. Three out of four couples are staying in the US and Canada as part of their honeymoon, a sharp increase from more than five years ago. In fact, travel to Canada has tripled among North American honeymooners in the last five years and quadrupled in the western mountain region of the United States – a trend that Westin hotels are seeing as well.

In summer and winter months, Westin hotels from Beaver Creek and Blue Mountain have seen significant growth in honeymoon travel in the last couple of years. Before arriving to The Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler, for instance, couples plan helicopter tours, skiing or cycling excursions before booking spa appointments and restaurant reservations. Similarly, The Westin Bear Mountain Golf Resort & Spa in Victoria has seen a spike in requests about hiking, mountain climbing and Jeep tour outings for couples planning their honeymoon itinerary.

Given the growth of the global wellness industry and the fact that wellbeing has become a lifestyle, it makes sense that honeymooners have embraced wellbeing more holistically over the last five years. Eighty percent of those surveyed reported being more active and health-conscious during their honeymoon than at home. And, if given the opportunity to re-do their honeymoon, 44 per cent would prefer to be even more active.

“We’re not saying it’s all about sweating it out in the gym, but Westin is about creating an experience that allows you to leave feeling better than when you arrived,” continued Jacobs. “Of course, couples are relaxing and enjoying the spa. In fact, 50 per cent of couples say it makes their honeymoon more memorable, while 40 per cent of honeymoon travellers are also running as a way to decompress, disconnect and be a tourist at the same time.”

Case in point, in 2015 Westin saw a 16 per cent increase in requests for the brand’s Gear Lending partnership with New Balance, giving guests access to workout gear without the hassle of packing it. Hotels, including The Westin Cancun Resort & Spa and The Westin Mission Hills Gold Resort & Spa, have seen great success with custom running maps that make it easy for guests to get out and explore their destination while maintaining their fitness goals on the road.

Finally and unexpectedly, couples aren’t ditching their pre-wedding health routine post-nuptials. Everyone talks about the ‘wedding diet’ and the assumption that once the wedding is over, couples relax their healthy habits. The data showed something else: four out of five respondents increased their approach to active wellbeing and healthy food choices while on their honeymoon, creating a catalyst to continue their wellness routine following the wedding bells.

Take a look at honeymoons outside the box with Signature Luxury Travel & Style‘s guide to romantic adventures.

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