Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The (Re)Evolution of the Modern Spa


by Kim Loe
Just over a decade ago a trip to the spa was commonly seen as a rare treat, an expensive luxury, or moreover, better associate with the rich and the famous. Today it seems like spas are everywhere, with a day at a health spa almost as common as a day at the gym, and spa holidays found amongst the affordable offers of travel agents and hotel promotions. 

At the beginning of 2001 it is estimated that there were less than 2000 spas in the United States, but then came the boom. Affordable day spas and spa treatment centres began emerging in more urban areas, well populated suburbs and in shopping malls, mid-priced hotels, gyms, even airport lounges, by mid 2004 the United states alone was home to almost 10,000 spas, and by the end of 2010 this figured had doubled again, with in excess of 20,000 spas in the United States. 

In the last research published by SRI International, regarding Spas and the Global Wellness Market, we get to see a much clearer picture of the customers who are driving this huge industry, with clues as to where spas and spa managers need to go from here.

SRI estimated that there were 289 million wellness consumers in the world’s 30 most industrialised and wealthy countries by the first quarter of 2010.

Despite a deep recession consuming most of the western world, the spa industry has not suffered in that same way many other industries have. People are now more stressed than ever before and affordable spas offer the peace, serenity and escape that many are longing for. During a period in which people are looking to reinvent themselves, redefine their life and ambitions, or simply act positively, the spa offers treatment and support to do just that, calming the mind, body and soul, and helping one to take control of their body and lifestyle.

81% of consumers are “extremely” or “very interested” in improving their personal wellness and will seek to do this via 1) exercise, 2) eat better, and 3) visit a spa.

These consumers who are more determined than ever to better themselves and improve their wellness are seeing spas as an important part of that process, but how large of a part a spa will play in their new lifestyle is up to the spas themselves. Relaxation and stress relief is only one part of this improvement, but many successful modern spas are now encompassing so much more, offering treatments and lifestyle packages that go far beyond pampering, including preventative treatments, age-management, nutrition, even psychology and mental health care. Spas are appearing in gyms and salons, marrying these services together under one roof, allowing consumers to integrate spa treatments into their regular routines. 

71% of consumer respondents said they would be “much more likely” or “somewhat more likely” to visit a spa if they learned that their spa treatments deliver measurable health benefits.



This finding is perhaps most interesting of all, it suggests that the vast majority of spa goers are open to innovation and new and alternative therapies and treatments, as long as the passion, commitment and expertise is there by the spa. Bringing new concepts into your spa is not only a way of staying ahead of your customers needs, but the chance to increase your identity and stand out from the mass of competition. Furthermore, many new spa innovations give the chance to offer more unique and personal services, some of which can cater for the individual, helping to better connect with clients, their needs, and their desire to enter a healthier, more positive lifestyle.

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