Medical Tourism Trends and Expectations in 2013Due to the continued uncertaintiesof global economies, it is naturalto expect heightened competitionbetween medical tourismproviders, because they are allseeking to either maintain orincrease their client base as wellas to get new clients.Technology leads the way inoffering consumers the best thatmedical providers have to offer.
Increased CompetitionConsidering the growing competitiveenvironment, medical providers need tostay on the top of their game when itcomes to branding, marketing, andservices.Increasing domestic and globalpresence today relies heavily on thevirtual environment. Social media andvisibility, accessibility, and not the leastimportant - reputation are key.Availability of online information for consumers to do their research andunderstand their choices is important when selecting the provider. With increasedtransparency of available information online, the competition will be heighted in2013 and beyond.
Lack of Product DifferentiatorsThe large numbers of medical providers in the medical tourism industry makes itincreasingly difficult to establish a clear product differentiator. Each and everymedical provider is competing on cost, quality, and location “attractiveness”.In 2013 medical providers will invest more in anattempt to stand-out with their products andservices.A blurring product differentiation and increasedprice pressure may result in declining revenue andlower profits.
Growth in Emerging MarketsAlthough the demand of medical tourism services in established marketsappears to remain unchanged, it is precisely this demand that will have an impactwith government regulations.Governments are attempting to curtail themoney spent on people traveling abroad formedical care.Similarly, increasing numbers of localmedical providers will develop products andservices that can compete economically withmedical tourism organizations.This would require medical tourism providers toseek new opportunities in emerging markets.This will in turn, favor medical travel for citizensdue to the ever-changing healthcare system.
Branding and RecognitionBranding and recognition will be essential for success in 2013.Clear brand messages and differentiatorwill be the key in attracting mainstreamconsumers in the medical tourism industry.In a highly competitive industry, the consumerwill seek a well-established brand to reducethe risk and gain confidence on healthcareoutcomes.
Consumer Experience The medical tourist will seek opinion from peers to understand and focus on their experience and will buy products and services that embrace and create superior consumer experience to build customer loyalty.
Sustainable InfrastructureMedical tourism companies will gain a competitive advantage in 2013 byestablishing and focusing on creating a sustainable infrastructure thatincludes the integration of people, process and systems.By leveraging cost-effective measuresand optimization of the end-to-endprocesses, they will address thecomplexities of medical tourism businessand offer a business advantage.
Sustainable InfrastructureA medical provider with a solid infrastructure that offers transparency,information, research, and a database of accumulated knowledge regardingdoctors, surgeons, healthcare facilities, treatments, surgeries and procedures isessential for success.They go through a large amount of information on theInternet before approaching, let alone makingdecisions, regarding medical travel.
Growing Medical Tourism in 2013 The performance of a medical tourism organization will depend on how fast an organization adapts to changing business environments and innovations in this highly competitive environment. Companies that are able to perform in-depth analysis of their consumer behavior, preferences, and overall trends of the industry will outperform others in the industry.
About the Author Mr. Pramod Goel is president and founder of PlacidWay, an internationally recognized industry leader in medical tourism. Mr. Goel is the author of recently released book Evolution of Medical Tourism: from Cottage Industry to Corporate World, available online at Amazon. is a U.S.-based medical tourism company withpresence in over 30 countries worldwide, offering mostcomprehensive solution to over 300 medical providersglobally, from Asia to Europe to Africa to South America.