Reversing the holiday brain drain
In the near future, travellers may be more likely to spend part of their vacation somewhere like the New York Public Library. (AP Photo/Ed Bailey)
At some point, we’ve all felt holiday brain drain – that feeling that the grey matter isn't working at full capacity when you return to the office after a break away.
Reportedly, going on a vacation – especially to a warm climate -- may even lower your IQ.
So it makes sense that there’s a whole new industry looking to reverse that trend, where travellers will have the option of choosing destinations, hotels and holiday packages designed to keep their minds in good health.
Forbes magazine reported that brain training will be the next ‘‘trillion-dollar industry”. According to market research firm Sharp Brains, the worldwide brain health and fitness digital software market is already worth $295 million, and is expected to grow between $1 billion to $5 billion by 2015. Additionally, a 2012 trends report commissioned by the InterContinental Hotels Group found that in the near future, travellers will be more likely to spend part of their vacation somewhere like the New York Public Library, London’s Royal Geographic Society, Idler Academy, Intelligence Squared debates, or check in to the Library Retreat in Koh Samui in order to pamper their brain power.
So it’s not surprising that the InterContinental Hotels Group is teaming up with TED, a non-profit forum for global talks and lectures, to add a bit of mental stimulation to traditional holidays and business trips. The hotel group could tap into the “brain spa” lecture series that TED has rolled out globally. Already these talks have been a major hit worldwide and talks exist in 81 languages.
Just as working out at the hotel gym can boost your overall fitness, certain brain exercises can make you better at solving problems and lead to self improvement. Tapping into some of the world's most innovative minds while away on holiday or on an executive excursion may not be a bad thing -- we might even be prepared to travel for it.
“Hotels and resorts are becoming schools of life,” said Elisabeth Ixmeier, co-founder of Healing Hotels of the World, a group focused on well being and travel. “Properties will soon offer lectures on room TVs, they will have libraries with books about healthy, happy lifestyles and be in this sense, philosophical schools.”
Last year, luxury hotel chain Morgans launched a “minibar for the mind”. The box contains 250 conversation starters and columns written by lecturers from the School of Life, who also conducted a series of talks at the Morgans’ London hotel on reading, conversation, romance and culture. Spanish hotel chain Sol Melia teamed up with Mario Alonso Puig, a leadership expert and well-known life coach to offer guests positive thinking classes at some of its properties including the Melia White House Hotel in London, the Melia Berlin hotel and the Melia Madrid Princesa Hotel.
Cruise liners regularly offer activities to stimulate the mind. Celebrity Cruises has teamed up with educational tourism company Smithsonian Journeys to offer talks by marine biologists, naturalists, astronomers or aviation historians, while Silversea Cruises has its own enrichment program with guest speakers including celebrity chefs, bestselling authors and historians.
Packing Plato in with your sunscreen or uploading Nietzsche onto your e-reader may just be the start of things to come. Who knows, you may soon be going on vacation to see Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg speak, or booking a fly and teatime package with the Dalai Lama.