Would you get rid of the word “spa”?
Yes, you heard us right. Think about it. Getting rid of the word spa. Good idea? Bad idea?
This simple yet disruptive idea came straight from the mouth of 2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) keynote speaker, Peter Rummell, former head of Disney Imagineering.
Peter was part of a Tuesday afternoon panel, along with GSWS board member, Philippe Bourguignon, and fellow keynote speaker, John Kao, titled “Imagining the Healthy Town of the Future.” And the conversation went a bit like this (taken directly from the session transcription)
MR. RUMMELL: If I were the king of your world, the first thing I would do would be get rid of the word “spa.”
I had this conversation with some people who were more worldly and smarter than I am yesterday, and they reminded me that my reaction was an American reaction and that may well be true, but the word “spa,” at least here in the United States, has a connotation to it which is just deadly, compared to the openness and the broader thinking that I have heard in these rooms for the last two days. So I think there is some fundamental redefinition that needs to happen, and it is as simple as branding.
FEMALE VOICE: What is the deadly definition, in your opinion?
MR. RUMMELL: The deadly definition of, “spa”? Is that it is for rich, white women. Well, you asked me.
Well, there you have it. And while Rummell may be right in saying that the reaction is that of an American, it is a reaction nonetheless.
One of the things that didn’t go on the record, which we learned later, was that some of the 2013 GSWS keynote speakers—Peter Rummell, Jose Maria (former president of Costa Rica) and innovation expert John Kao—all agreed that, before attending the Summit, they had no idea the spa and wellness industry was truly this important and significant.
Serving up a good ol’ dose of controversy might be exactly what we need to get innovative and move our industry forward. And that first step might be to take a good hard look at S-P-A.
So, do you think our industry should get rid of the word “spa”? Let us know. And feel free to elaborate, expand or go off on a tangent. Get controversial if you will. You’ve gotta admit, it’s kinda fun.
The GSWS Team