Here are a few of my favourites that are changing the way spas do business; I hope they’ll provide you with some food for thought as the year unfolds:
Aging baby boomers represent the fastest growing demographic – in the next decade the over 85s will take top billing - and spas are seeing the light. Spa and wellness menus will soon start to include disciplines such as physiotherapy, chiropractic and rehab services; there’ll be a renaissance of soothing bathing rituals; greater demand for hydrotherapy, and ever more ‘anti-aging’ and ‘corrective’ expressions to describe treatments.
Spa brands and franchises are taking hold. Hotel chains like Fairmont (Willowstream Spa), Sheraton (Shine Spa) and Shangrila (Chi Spa) set the pace; look for independent spa chains such as Woodhouse in Texas, Massage Envy (with 80-plus franchises in the US alone), and others which translate into streamlined services and standard consistency.
Spa Deals Galore
On line deals and group buying sites are sizzling hot, and they keep getting hotter – Groupon’s foray into China in 2011 is testament to that. With 25% of purchases connected to spa and wellness, there’s never been a better time to have your spa dollars go further. Hard economies aside, on line group buys means it’s no longer necessary to pay full whack for services such as pedicures, manicures and regular massages. Get with the program. Electronic coupons via mobiles and Facebook are just around the corner.
We’re all stressed to the max, 24x7, so look for more mini-treatments, express facials, on-line appointments, and spa opening hours that extend waaaay beyond the 10am to 6pm norm. Some spas are already selling appointments by time block rather than by the service. Multiple services is another time-saver with multiple therapists tackling hands, feet and face simultaneously.
Demand for science based spa treatments is on the rise, and wellness ‘beauty’ therapies are starting to push traditional boundaries, as in stem-cell facials, chryo-therapy, and fillers derived from your own blood ingredients. Restylane is so yesterday.
Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence no longer cuts the mustard. The benefits of ancient therapies such as salt inhalations and/or basking inside salt caves are being put under the scientific microscope, revealing bona fide benefits for conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, and skin conditions.
Intensely indigenous experiences go beyond simply using local products; now they must emphasize local cuisine, regional adventures, philanthropic activities, and sustainable sensibilities that have an immediate benefit to the surrounding community. It’s a feel good ethos that’s more than skin deep.
If you’ve seen, read about, or have some questions about what’s on the spa horizon, let me know and I’ll pursue it further.
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