Overview of 2010 Spa Trends

By Elaine Fenard Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Europe and U.S., Spatality | February 08, 2010

Every year The International Spa Association releases the spa industry trends for the coming year. The report is valued by the spa industry and looked at as a tool for marketing individual spas for the coming year. While trends are perceived as new ideas from the forward thinking, many are actually a long time in the making or a new generation of old ideas. They are always valuable for strategizing the coming year. This year's trends are different in that several of them focus on the shift our industry is seeing and provide ideas for proactively working toward making our business more efficient. 2009 has been a challenging year with most spas seeing a consistent drop in revenue. A shift is necessary and while many of the trends have been evolving slowly for some time, they have come to the forefront by the need to re-evaluate business practices. This overview of the 2010 trends focuses on considering the way you do business,

A complete list of the International SPA Association's spa trends for 2010 follows with an overview on each trend containing observations and ideas on how they may benefit your spa operation.

1) Social Media – Twitter has helped to open the doors on a marketing revolution, and spas are leading the way. Now, it's easier than ever for spas to offer up-to-the-minute deals by tweeting or posting a Facebook message. Cancellations are no longer a problem when you can re-book an appointment instantly.

This medium has changed marketing strategy, encouraging keeping in touch with the client it gives the spa an opportunity to market specials in a convenient, less expensive way. If you are not doing it explore the idea immediately.

2) Customer Service – Consumers are more aware of every penny spent, and with that comes higher expectations on the level of service they receive. Spas are responding by providing exceptional service and making each visit a customized experience for the guest. In fact, 87 percent of ISPA member spas are utilizing customer feedback mechanisms to ensure they're exceeding consumers' needs. And 48 percent of ISPA member spas have implemented customer loyalty programs, allowing them to offer discounts or rewards while incentivizing frequent visits to the spa.

The key is utilizing customer feedback mechanisms, make sure they are in place and someone is accountable for analyzing feedback. Our findings are the customer is primarily looking for exclusive services at affordable prices, this does not mean large discounts, it means yield management. Consider ideas such as tiered pricing and or a membership program with add on services as rewards.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.