Residential Trends in Spas
By Peter Anderson Founder, Anderson & Associates | October 28, 2008
Spas can now be found in modest strip malls, serious medical complexes and indulgent luxury resorts, underscoring their ubiquitous presence in the life of the modern consumer.
As well, at the annual I-Spa conference in November 2006 it was reported that spa revenue at destination resorts had just eclipsed golf revenues. Reasons for this trend include spa visits are attractive to time-starved guests as they require much smaller commitment than a round of golf. Further, more men are using spa services, independent of the fear or privilege of being considered a meterosexual. This trend is fully supported as many spas now feature services specifically targeting men's needs.
But this is just the beginning; the spa/lifestyle trend lines are not so easily defined. Residential trends and spa environments lines of demarcation are blurring. Destination spas Such as Mirival, Canyon Ranch and Red Mountain Resorts, are creating residential components highlighting their consumers' desires to have easy, immediate and equity access to a spa lifestyle. Destination resorts with full-service wellness spas like the Montage, La Costa, and the Four Seasons are creating residential components for much the same reason. And to round out the picture private communities such as Big Horn, Laughlin Ranch, and Kiawah Island are developing wellness environments to enhance their residential communities.
Given these data points it should be no surprise that affluent, planned communities and destination spas and resorts that once saw golf as their social spine are now augment and supplanting spas for that very same purpose. Not only do spas require a much smaller foot print than golf course but they can better address issues of healthy life style choices while still providing tremendous opportunities for socialization and the creation of a vibrant community environment. Further, unlike golf, spas are year-round amenities in any climate.
Resorts that have pursued this approach have noticed higher ADRs, greater spend per guest and longer average lengths of stay. Residential properties, that have chosen to develop spa amenities, spa cuisine, and spa activities as an integral component of their community's offerings have also noticed faster unit absorption at premium price points ten to fifty percent over market. In softening real estate markets, a community-focused spa may be the factor that maintains sales velocity or hedges against price erosion.
So the question at hand is "Will spas provide the catalyst to continue to create points of differentiation in real estate projects or will they become ubiquitous "must haves". In order to effectively answer this question, let us first look at some factors in