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At the Sonesta Beach Resort in Bermuda, it isn't unusual to find leisure travelers getting facial treatments and massages. But business travelers?
Until recently, the number of executives recharging their batteries at spas and other hotel recreational facilities was negligible. But that's changing: Road warriors now account for more than 20 percent of spa visitors at the Sonesta property.
"We get a lot of meeting attendees who come into the spa during their break or free afternoon. We [also] get business travelers who cash in their frequent-flier miles for a long weekend," says Deborah Roker of Sonesta.
The International Spa Association (ISPA) is tracking the surge in interest from road-weary entrepreneurs who are either checking into hotel spas for the weekend or visiting day spas. Why the growth? Spas are appealing to more men, according to the ISPA. In a recent survey, the association reported that men accounted for 24 percent of its members' total spa clientele.
"Instead of heading to watering holes after meetings, [men are] going to health clubs and getting massages or mud baths," says spa industry expert Ed Shaw. "Executives are more conscious of their stress and are trying to manage it better."
Travel insurance: An ounce of prevention?
Traveling overseas is challenging enough, with language and cultural barriers to overcome at almost every turn. Add a debilitating illness or injury to the equation, and you could be in serious trouble.
Unfortunately, this happens more often that you think. By some estimates, four in every 1,000 business travelers become so ill they have to return home.
"If you're in a hospital, you want a doctor who speaks your language," says Donna Murrell of Birmingham, Alabama, MedJet Assistance LLC, which operates a fleet of flying ambulances.
MedJet charges individuals $150 per year for its coverage and maintains a 24-hour emergency phone number travelers can use to consult with U.S. medical professionals. It also refers members to an international network of English-speaking physicians for less serious emergencies.
So who needs travel insurance? If your business takes you to dangerous places or locations with substandard medical facilities, chances are you'll benefit from a policy. If you're not sure, check out the U.S. State Department's Travel Warnings, Consular Information Sheets and Public Announcements page at http://travel.state.govtravel_warnings.html
Even if your destination isn't on the government's black list, you may still want to consider insurance. Mark Sobsey, a professor of environmental microbiology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, recently tested the sewage tanks on airplanes and found they contained viruses linked to a number of deadly infections, including neurological diseases, and gastrointestinal illnesses.
- US Airways has expanded its low-fare MetroJet service by adding 17 daily round-trip flights between Washington Dulles International Airport and Atlanta; Birmingham, Alabama, and Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; and Raleigh-Durham and Orlando, Florida. For additional information, visit http://www.usairways.com
- Dollar Rent A Car is offering Visa Gold cardholders who rent a car for four or more days one additional day at no extra charge. The offer is valid through June 30. For further details, check out Dollar Rent A Car online at http://www.dollar.com
- Priceline.com, the online service that lets travelers bid for airline seats, has expanded to include hotels. It now lets you name a price for a room in more than 1,500 hotels and resorts. For more information, visit http://www.priceline.com
International Spa Association, (888) 651-4772
Medjet Assistance LLC, (800) 9-MEDJET, http://www.medjetassistance.com
Sonesta Beach Resort, (800) SONESTA, http://www.sonesta.com