Five Major Changes in the Spa Industry

By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | September 06, 2011

If there is one thing that has been constant over the last twenty months, it is change. Changes are all over the map in the hospitality industry and, in the spa industry, most changes are categorically the same as hospitality and other businesses driven by world economy.

Using the understanding of these changes as springboards for repositioning and renovating current spas or developing new spas; we can pay attention to the changes and be prepared for the return swing of the pendulum and placement in the compelling forefront. Change has certainly brought about the ‘tipsters’, there is a tip-a-minute to be offered. However, big picture assessment is the precursor to successful strategic planning. Therefore, revealing overall major changes assists in appropriate positioning for future increased market share.

The five major changes listed may not be big surprises, however, they are notable. These changes are not passing trends or fads that will soon be past tense. These are changes that are indicative of the future.

After checking in with several esteemed professions including industry watch dogs, hospitality human resources and spa product and equipment vendors; the consensus seems to be the same for the Big Five. Below is the synopsis of change along with related strategies and planning.

NUMBER ONE: The Spa’s Core Message Arises

The stress management, relaxation, preventive care message is being made clear. Stress has been identified (once again) as one of the major causes of the most common diseases. All over the world, the search for stress reduction is prolific. Spas encompass the best antidote to stress with programs of massage, acupuncture, exercise and meditation to name a few; along with quiet places to enjoy solitude or uninterrupted re-connection with family and friends.

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Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.