Key Drivers of Hotel and Resort Spa Profitability

By Mia A. Mackman President & Owner, Mackman ES | July 16, 2017

Co-authored by Ryan Wall, Vice President, HVS

The global spa movement, which includes wellness tourism, amounts to upwards of $3 trillion dollars per year. What physical and strategic elements are key to driving bottom-line performance at traditional and wellness-focused spas?

Relaxation and a sense of wellbeing are at the heart of the spa and wellness market. Hence, it’s no wonder that hotels, resorts, and spas have begun to reorganize their operations around wellness. The benefits, in the form of a stronger bottom line and appeal to demand segments, extend not only to guests but to hoteliers and hospitality companies, as well.

Traditional resort spas cater to relaxation through a variety of services including aesthetics, facials, and massage. Some also offer salon services for hair and nails. Wellness-focused resort spas cater to diet and nutrition, spiritual counseling, and naturopathic health- and prevention-oriented services that extend beyond the scope of a traditional spa.
This article looks at the scope of growth for traditional and wellness-focused spas worldwide, as well as the physical and operational keys to building stronger bottom-line performance.

Asset Attributes

Both traditional and wellness-focused spas are considered effective operating models that can add value to a guest’s hotel or resort destination experience. Moreover, they add value to the hospitality operation itself. These models have begun to merge, presenting a new subdivision of resort and hotel wellness-driven spa environments.

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Hotel Spa: Oasis Unplugged

The driving force in current hotel spa trends is the effort to manage unprecedented levels of stress experienced by their clients. Feeling increasingly overwhelmed by demanding careers and technology overload, people are craving places where they can go to momentarily escape the rigors of their daily lives. As a result, spas are positioning themselves as oases of unplugged human connection, where mindfulness and contemplation activities are becoming increasingly important. One leading hotel spa offers their clients the option to experience their treatments in total silence - no music, no talking, and no advice from the therapist - just pure unadulterated silence. Another leading hotel spa is working with a reputable medical clinic to develop a “digital detox” initiative, in which clients will be encouraged to unplug from their devices and engage in mindfulness activities to alleviate the stresses of excessive technology use. Similarly, other spas are counseling clients to resist allowing technology to monopolize their lives, and to engage in meditation and gratitude exercises in its place. The goal is to provide clients with a warm, inviting and tranquil sanctuary from the outside world, in addition to also providing genuine solutions for better sleep, proper nutrition, stress management and natural self-care. To accomplish this, some spas are incorporating a variety of new approaches - cryotherapy, Himalayan salt therapy and ayurveda treatments are becoming increasingly popular. Other spas are growing their own herbs and performing their treatments in lush outdoor gardens. Some spa therapists are being trained to assess a client's individual movement patterns to determine the most beneficial treatment specifically for them. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these trends and developments and examine how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.