How forward thinking medical tourism suppliers can tap into the on-demand economy

Health tourism industry expert, Maria Todd believes medical tourism services such as executive health checkups, dialysis services on the road, spa services and massages, as well as second opinion consultations are among many services that could easily lend themselves to the on-demand economy that is emerging worldwide.

The on-demand economy is populated by an emerging set of businesses sharing similar models: Inventory and selection are available to the consumer on an anywhere-anytime basis with the process facilitated by digital devices — from desktops to smartphones. On-demand delivery also occurs in a short timeframe, from less than an hour to no longer than day-of-order.

It is a rising economy, but it is one still faced with the challenge of amplifying consumer awareness — only giant players such as Uber enjoy more than 50% awareness rate among mobile users. But investors are pouring billions into the companies that represent the on-demand model, and the market for on-demand services promises significant returns. Building an appointment app for busy travelers and sharing this with hotels, clinics, restaurants, dialysis centers, and spas may offer a way to tap this mobile, on-demand community of consumers.

Within the travel industry, airline apps and third-party apps are driving pre-departure on-demand options for passengers. In the airplane cabin, on-demand entertainment is becoming increasingly the norm, and the advent of on-board streaming content is providing on-demand hungry consumers with movies, music, and TV while opening much sought-after bandwidth to other Wi-Fi users. Why not certain services within healthcare and health tourism?

Hotels are exploring on-demand apps and functionality as a way to bring their guests better experiences. In-room services, food and amenities are available to travelers at a quickening pace, and third parties are giving guests within mobile-savvy, marketing-resistant demographics access to in-the-month local hotel bookings with deep discounts based on proximity and other factors. why not a checkup appointment while in town, or a personal trainer in the gym, or a massage therapist that comes to the hotel room?

Dining out while in-trip is becoming a more egalitarian landscape, thanks to on-demand. Apps allow for last-minute reservations at the most coveted spots, which food-delivery enters a newly sophisticated on-demand space in terms of options and potential partnerships with external on-demand delivery services.  Menu notations that indicate medical patient friendliness or condition-specific friendly meal preparation and ingredients would offer not only differentiation but also competitive advantage.

On the ground, Uber is the model that appears to be a locus for both on-demand as a growth industry, and also one that will be tested by stakeholders in legacy models of the travel business. Within that context, however, the future of on-demand is marked by new approaches, new technologies, and the emergent concept of a parallel partnership economy. The implications are vast across all travel verticals – including medical tourism and health and wellness travel adventures.

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