Businesspeople often veer towards the brink of burnout when they travel. This was an all-too-common occurrence for Brian Chappon, an outdoorsy, upbeat and technically-savvy entrepreneur, who realised his experiences reflected the tiredness and exhaustion felt by many other travelling executives.
To lighten the burden of his schedule and reclaim his health, Chappon founded CENTRED Wellness, a brightly coloured, inviting, and luxurious lifestyle app.
CENTRED illuminates an array of elegant hotels, cherry-picked restaurants and boutique fitness studios, as well as awe-inspiring cultural experiences. But its central mission is to empower time-stretched travellers to maintain their health and wellness.
“Our app can give people the peace of mind to travel again”, Chappon says, by addressing some lingering anxieties HNWs have around travel as the pandemic enters a new phase globally. He says he’s noticed many executives, often in their forties and fifties, possess a newfound wariness around airports. “It’s a question of, do I feel comfortable travelling, and remembering all of the confusing requirements around PCR tests and health records?” says Chappon.
It’s something CENTRED addresses with an innovative, HIPAA-compliant digital wallet, providing a home for all necessary vaccination, health records and PCR test results, transforming the energy-sapping process of going through airport security into a breezy and stress-free experience. The app also features 800 handpicked wellness lounges in airports worldwide, where executives can rest in calming, spacious settings with healthy cuisine at their fingertips.
Once a member settles into their sunny destination, CENTRED’s health-focused functions continue to shine brightly. Within minutes, its all-encompassing telehealth service can connect users with experienced and personable health practitioners, who are trained to handle medical needs in a globally-minded way.
“They know how to deal with crisis and health management,” Chappon says, pointing to their speedy, pragmatic, and world-class guidance on the next steps to take for your healthcare on the go – which can include finding pharmacies to refill prescriptions, or even organising doctors to visit your hotel room if in need. “CENTRED is an authority on where you should travel, having the boots on the ground, and contacts across the global healthcare industry.”
Readers of the New Statesman can gain free and exclusive access to CENTRED and their travel wellness concierge using the invite code SPEARS at www.centred-wellness.com/app, and can download CENTRED’s iPhone app here.
Finding a salve to work stress
An opportunity to alleviate widespread fears around post-pandemic travel has dovetailed with Chappon’s long-held desire to beat the pervasive feeling of burnout experienced by international CEOs and entrepreneurs.
Across a two-decade career at the crossroads between economic development, international finance, and grassroots humanitarian aid, Chappon found himself needing to jet between meetings in different time zones. This came at a cost to his physical and mental health.
“I know myself and others like me would be more tired from our trips than before we left,” he laments, before detailing similar struggles that persisted for nearly a decade, where Chappon teetered on the edge of complete exhaustion.
Chappon eventually ‘threw in the towel,’ and began to take stock and rebuild his mental and physical health. He “taught spin classes and let [his] brain heal,” which led to an entrepreneurial experiment where he set up fitness studios in airport terminals, providing an outlet for others to destress while away on business – a venture which taught him a lot about the inner workings of the global travel industry, and eventually gave birth to CENTRED.
If airport terminal-based health studio could offer quickfire stress relief – a few rare moments of unadulterated relaxation – Chappon realised that making an array of wellness experiences available at the mere click of a button could be even more effective. As a result, this is something now offered by CENTRED’s signature “wellness concierge”.
From a smorgasbord of stress-busting activities, members can find exclusive access to exciting new fitness studios, a HIIT workout on a beach, or even a more-subdued mountain retreat, but it all depends on your personal choices. “What’s the best way to centre yourself?” Chappon asks. “Well, tell me – what does wellness mean to you? That’s how you tailor it.”
The app’s personalised wellness recommendations are curated from the collective wisdom of the CENTRED team – they’ve been to more than 180 countries between them, and have cultivated relationships with gyms, hotels and restaurants in over 900 cities globally. The selection feels like a love letter to the places the team has visited: a rich and intricate web of personal experiences and friendships forged with local people and businesses.
Building these connections has “been everything to me for 22 years,” Chappon says. “I have been a nomad for most of my career. It always made me remember my favourite places to go… I just remembered places and contacts, had relationships there.”
“Friends would ask: ‘Brian, I’m going to Shanghai – do you have any recommendations since you’ve been there?'” recounts Chappon. “I’d say eat here, that’s healthy, or that’s good. It was a natural, organic thing. I just started collecting in my journal places that I’ve stayed.”
This is one of CENTRED’s standout features: all the app’s adventures have been hiked, ran or swam, relaxed at and revelled in, and thoroughly enjoyed by CENTRED’s team.
‘In some ways, it’s a family business’
One unintended consequence of Covid has been a longing to travel to secluded destinations, where people can both feel safe and evoke the peaceful aspects of lockdown.
With longstanding relationships with independent hoteliers and retreats, CENTRED has this covered. Chappon points to a friend in France who owns a beach shack: ‘They trust us, and they know us – and that’s not going to be on any other platform.’
These personal connections also mean the app “is really a family business in some ways. We can tell that family business story, whether it’s a yoga studio in Hong Kong or a really boutique hotel that’s run by a family.”
A running theme underpinning CENTRED’s work is trust, and how to build it between the app’s members and its suppliers. One of the core priorities of the business has been to redefine relationships within the travel and health industries, and build a rapport with the companies spotlighted by the app.
This means fitness class times which are actually convenient for the app’s travellers, while businesses are given the opportunity to build meaningful connections with CENTRED members, who often fall in love with a brand’s ethos and story. “We want our customers to have the most memorable experience possible. And if we take care of our suppliers, they’ll take care of our customers,” says Chappon.
Chappon believes that while the CENTRED app and website can “give the gift of wellness”, its brands can “create an amazing loyalty programme that people actually know about and are engaging in”.
“Telling their story and their journey is what gets me most excited.”
Readers of the New Statesman can gain free and exclusive access to CENTRED and their travel wellness concierge using the invite code SPEARS at www.centred-wellness.com/app.