Not just cosmetic: Beverly Hills fashions itself as the destination for wellness

The city known for its designer stores and plastic surgeons is giving itself a new look. Sensing a shift from materialism to health as the ultimate aspirational goal, the Beverly Hills Conference and Visitors Bureau has developed a plan to tout its “wellth” status.

That term, conceived by the author Jason Wachob, is defined as a “new and more valuable life currency” of abundance, happiness, purpose, health and joy. According to Wachob, “Feeling good is the new looking good, making wellth the new status symbol” (Skift.com, 9 May 2017).

Not one to be left in the status cold, the posh city has started to build up and promote its wellth identity. “We didn’t want to change the essence of who we are, but we also knew we needed to remain relevant in order to avoid becoming passe,” says Julie Wagner, CEO of the city’s CVB.

The effort branches into five primary areas: Move, Eat, Restore, Gratitude and Explore (which includes both soul searching and physical wandering). The agency has encouraged hotels and restaurants to amp up healthy food options – which has manifested as an increase in vegan, vegetarian, paleo and locavore menu items. Over at The Peninsula, guests can now meditate under the moonlight and yoga to the sunrise.

But the focus on wellth isn’t just for visitors; the city’s health-minded mayor Lili Bosse leads weekly morning “Walks with the Mayor.” Locals have also been able to attend wellth events like a meditation guided by celebrity guru Deepak Chopra outside city hall.

It seems apparent that the way though culturally anxious times isn’t by accumulating stuff. Conscious Consumers are thinking critically about what they own and who they are. Our primary research indicates that they place a premium on brands that reflect their personal values – a finding that can be applied to travel destinations, too.

With wellness on their radars, adventurers are looking for opportunities to feel their best. Tourism agencies and organizations can take creative license on translating the concept of wellth and connect with consumers though experiences that deliver a wealth of joy, self-actualization and purpose.

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