Do Spas Need to Be Healthy?
By Mark Wuttke Principal, The Wuttke Group | June 29, 2014
The range of products, services and treatments that are part of the spa industry has proliferated from the early days of spa which focused on "taking the waters" - bathing in mineral baths, hot springs and other natural forms of hydrotherapy. The evolution has taken the connotation of spa to everything from "fat farm", to a place where the rich go to pamper themselves or recover from plastic surgery, to more spartan environments geared to the spa-goer's inner ascetic.
To complicate matters, many hair and nail salons have added or repurposed a room, installed a therapist, and rebranded themselves as "day spas". The amenity spa, attached to a hotel or resort, is today considered mainstream in terms of environment and spa menu. This category holds the greatest potential for future growth and, along with it, a responsibility to serve as steward of the spa ethos. So how will this segment define spa going forward?
In recent years, the great overlay to spas of all descriptions has been the notion of Wellness (with a capital W). Following on the heels of the green movement over the past decade, Wellness has become the buzzword in many spas, as well as fitness facilities, restaurants, and other businesses (including entire hotels) that position themselves as champions of healthy living and lifestyle.
The movement is so significant that prognosticators have dubbed Wellness the next trillion-dollar industry. But is every product and process on the Wellness bandwagon healthy? And to what extent can you determine or influence the Wellness movement through your spa operation? Let's take a conscious step back and reflect on the true meaning of the word so we can accurately evaluate the broad range of Wellness claims out in the marketplace and for you to determine where your spa sits on the Wellness spectrum.
Here are two definitions of Wellness:
- The quality or state of being healthy in body and mind, especially as the result of deliberate effort, and an approach to healthcare that emphasizes preventing illness and prolonging life, as opposed to emphasizing treating diseases. www.dictionary.com
- The condition of good physical and mental health, especially when actively maintained by proper diet, exercise, and avoidance of risky behavior. American Heritage Dictionary
Is it desirable for a spa to be healthy? That depends on who you ask. Some spa-goers say "Yes, definitely". Others say that it doesn't really matter as long as they look and feel good after the service. In short, the success of a wellness experience is defined by how the guests feel. So from an operator's perspective, does it matter?