See the Future - Spa Trends Worth Noting

By Jane Segerberg Founder & President, Segerberg Spa Consulting, LLC | August 14, 2011

A trend is defined as "a current general direction" or "a gradual change or development that produces a particular result". Hmmm – do we want to follow or lead? Here is a hint – we've seen some financial trends lately that no one wanted to follow. We have also seen trends come and go in the hospitality industry and some have been very expensive and fleeting, others have had a great return and are enduring.

If you are looking for the latest and greatest trend to add to your spa to garner a media flash, stop here! With over 22 years in the very young, dynamic and constantly evolving Spa Industry, I have seen spa trends come and go. This article will examine enduring trends, evolving trends and fleeting trends and discuss how to identify trends that are enduring with a positive impact for years to come.

The thought, "Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends, fads and popular opinion", is very appropriate. My suggestion is to plan for plan for guest comfort and pleasure along with a doggedly consistent level of service and then depending on physical space, finances and programming capabilities, go as far out on a limb as you choose to go.

Trends – Enduring, Evolving and Fleeting

Sir Richard Branson continues to be successful not by running after the trends but by seeing a need, planning to meet the need in a "wow-ful" way and then continuing to make decisions on the micro level while keeping the big picture in mind. Using Branson's model, if we keep the promise of "spa" in mind, we can make great decisions on the both the macro and micro level. Consider these three types of trends:

Enduring trends are those that are based on our guest's needs and they just won't go away. They are proven to be true and might change slightly, but not much. One enduring trend is our need to be nurtured and cared fpr in competent, pleasing and surprising ways. The need for nurture has only heightened over the last decade and will continue due to our fast-paced society. The question to ask ourselves is, "how are spas building on that need?"

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Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.