According to European hotel bookings company EuroBookings.com increased stress directly correlates with a rising interest in health and wellness tourism in Europe. Professionals and business people looking for anything from a spa break through to medical treatment in Europe are not driven by price but by quality of care and the surroundings.
One of the top European destinations for medical tourism is Switzerland. Their medical facilities are world-class with the latest technology. Add the clean air, high-class accommodation and that the country is geared up for all types of tourism, and you get an attractive destination. People do not go to Switzerland to save money; they go for luxury care and attention. The Swiss have made a conscious effort to promote medical tourism. The prices are very high and the services are marketed to the well off. Russia is a key market.
Genolier Swiss Medical Network
(GSMN) operates a network of clinics, and targets overseas patients for surgery. GSMN is a private hospital network operating mainly in the French-speaking region of Switzerland (Romandie). Its strategy is focused on building a national network by acquiring clinics and restructuring their operations. GSMN's main aim is to offer first class hospital care to Swiss and foreign patients. GSMN manages six private establishments in Switzerland, including Clinique de Genolier, Clinique de Montchoisi, Clinique Valmont, Clinique Generale, Centre medico-chirurgical des Eaux-Vives and Privatklinik Bethanien, with 501 available beds. Medical tourists account for 5% of revenue, and this will rise as international promotion increases. The distinctive features of GSMN include its high quality services, its brand value, a pleasant working environment and an experienced management team with an entrepreneurial approach. GSMN ‘s managing director, Antoine Hubert, is about to launch a public offer to the shareholders of the company, together with another unnamed investor.
GSMN’s clinics are among those used by Switzerland Clinic
, an agency that only offers leading Swiss clinics and Swiss spas for international clients. The network takes a close look at each clinic in Switzerland and reviews it from a medical and clinical point of view before deciding whether or not it qualifies to be part of the network. It is also linked to VIP tourism agency Rayan Partners
that offers a range of services including treatment for stress, and a network of other services that are chosen purely on highest quality, not price;Russians are a primary market.
Some regions in Switzerland are active in promoting and developing medical tourism while others are not. Switzerland is not competing with medical tourism destinations like India, Thailand, or Costa Rica. The clinics in those countries have a different business model and target cost-conscious medical tourists. Switzerland does not see those countries as competitors as it targets the top end of the price spectrum; it competes with Germany, UK, and USA and to a lesser extent, Singapore. In a recent survey of luxury travel who cater for upmarket travellers, the most important determining factors for clients when choosing a destination are:
1. The right destination
2. Value for money paid
3. Once-in-a-lifetime experiences
4. The services and activities available
Although the top end of the market is not attracted by price, several recent travel market surveys on this sector all come to the same conclusion; the biggest change in the last two years is that customers are no longer prepared to pay top figures just for a destination, it has to be combined with value for money inclusive packages where they are not continually faced with demands for more cash for extras. Value for money is completely different from lowest cost.