Hotel Spa: Baby Boomers Turn 60! The Perfect Storm

By Peter Anderson Founder, Anderson & Associates | January 12, 2010

The spa industry is sitting in the vortex of a perfect storm...

The first front in this storm system is an aging population who have the desire and means (and as they retire, the time) to do what it takes to "stay forever young", as evidenced by the fact that of that 60 is the new 40...

The second front of the system is that many are defining youth with matrices that only start with external looks and extend well into more complex issues of quality of life, disease prevention and psychological well-being. This expansion of awareness directly expands opportunities for spa services.

The third front of the perfect storm is related to the American medical system. Our health care system is stretched to its limits and in some cases failing; in response to the medical system's short comings (and their own aging bodies) many individuals are investigating alternative self care options. To that end, spa regimes, meditation, nutritional supplements, and lifestyle classes are some of the ways that consumers are supplanting their allopathic care.

The last component to complete the storm is the fact that boomers are savvy, result-driven consumers who collect experiences the way their parents collected possessions. They are not constrained by the pack-mentality of previous generations and are willing to try new and adventurous things... especially in the name of vanity, health and wellness.

Issues germane to the health, well being and vanity of an older population have saturated our media, and it is reasonable that spa treatments, services and even the facility configurations continue to address and acknowledge these trends. This is not to advocate that all spas be configured to reflect an amenity at an assisted living facility, but rather it is important to point out that if the front end of the boomers are 60 the tail-end of the boomers are 42. This means that there is an 18 year window of opportunity related to this middle aged (and beyond) demographic. When the youngest boomers are approaching their 60th birthdays the front end of the demographic will be just shy of 80! This kind of trend provides the ability to address immediate as well as long-term solutions. This article is designed to identify the dynamic dance of demographic trends and spa related opportunities. Some of these issues may require significant capital, while others may be addressed with a bit of sensitivity and creativity.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.