Spa Trends Now and In the Future
By Gary Henkin President & Founder, WTS International | May 2012
The world's challenging economic climate has meant that hotel, resort and destination spas must remain ahead of the curve if they expect to deliver quality customer service and produce a positive bottom line.
This starts with paying attention to trends within the industry, creative design, spa menus that speak to consumer desires and pragmatic marketing and management. With the exception of certain geographic pockets throughout the world, it has been increasingly more difficult to maintain or grow revenue streams while capturing enough guest and local traffic to support a profitable business enterprise.
In the current environment, spas that don't have (or stick to) a well thought out game plan to consistently drive revenue through effective promotion of treatments and retail sales will likely suffer the consequence of economic downturn. With luxury hotel occupancy dropping by double digits and spa treatment per customer revenue at hotels in decline, it is important to ask the right questions if you are planning to add or expand a spa. These include an awareness of overall trends that will have consumer appeal which then impact design decisions; how to construct a viable business model to maximize the opportunity for profit; what is the best and most creative way to pay and incentivize staff; and how can I attract the local element outside the property which is becoming more important for financial success.
Existing and future trends are outlined below:
There is a significant shift on the part of consumers toward wellness and preventive health (as opposed to pampering) which has driven consumer needs heretofore. This includes an increased comfort level with med-spa procedures and incorporating this into prevention treatments and services. This will ultimately drive a more collaborative approach with the health and medical industries. Delegates at the recent Global Spa Summit reported that the preventive health segment has the largest upside for potential growth which was significantly greater than the focus on day spas, luxury spas and cosmetic medical spas. Further, attendees indicated their desire to collaborate with healthcare by a more than 2-1 margin when compared with their interest in doing so with other sectors. Delegates also indicated that the most crucial factors impacting the profitability of the industry are marketing, healthcare, insurance regulatories and emerging consumer markets. Consumers are becoming far more health conscious and price sensitive which will drive a closer collaboration between spas and healthcare. It is likely that spas will continue to increase their role in wellness, and hospitals will be more prone to have spa offerings in the future.
Consumers are now expecting a more proactive approach from spas in addressing environmental concerns. The eco-spa trend isn't likely to disappear. Use of recycled wood, geothermal energy, wind-powered electricity, recycling bins in common areas, foods from organic gardens grown on site, solar lighting, recycled water, etc. are now on the radar screen for spa owners who want environmental sensitivity without drumming "green initiatives" down the throats of the spa goer. A Green Spa Network is now in existence and consumers will come to demand attentiveness to this expanding industry trend. The majority of the delegates at the last Global Spa Summit reported that environmental responsibility will have a significant influence on their future business.