As part of the organizing committee for the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS), I have been able to observe first-hand the scale and the size of our industry and the incredible job Susie Ellis, the board of directors and the Summit team are doing to produce such a tremendous event. The number of suggestions, enquiries and offers to take part in the Summit can be overwhelming and, at times, bring new definitions to the very concept of wellness and spa.
“A Defining Moment” was selected as the theme of the 2013 GSWS because our industry is at a crucial stage of development. Creativity and revenue for the typical spa may have plateaued. Media attention has turned to the word wellness, and this has become a buzzword without significant thought about regulation of those services or the potential for financial success. The rhetoric surrounding wellness reminds me of the wonderfully vague and emotional terms used 10 years ago in the spa industry. Then, speakers extolled the virtues of escaping to nirvana during a massage or embracing the spa love. Today, we focus on the business of spas and returns per square metre/foot. Wellness is undergoing a similar evolution, and I sense that discussions of the pros and cons of this topic at the Summit will create a shift in thought by many.
Attitudes, thoughts and ideas for spa services in hotels are already changing. Cosmetic treatments, beauty and quasi-medical programmes present powerful business reasons for hotels to think carefully about the services they could and/or should provide to guests. Economic returns and public demand will ultimately steer which facilities and services hotels and spas offer. Understanding wellness and looking at the opportunities it provides will also help to shape the services the industry offers—so long as there is logical financial justification and clear legal regulation to mitigate any risks from services provided to guests.
|The spa industry has prided itself on being low tech/high touch, but I am convinced that we should be moving to high tech and high touch and embracing the advances in the performance of treatment products and equipment and the technological improvement in safe treatments that make people look and feel good. Technology can help retain brand loyalty, and spas can use this to reinforce a philosophy and focus on healthy living.|
My vision for the future is resorts that provide sensible and sustainable vacation/living options revolving around both a high-tech and high-touch community designed to prolong healthy and active living through sensible and informed choices in life. Just one example is how hotels are using technology to enhance loyalty and membership programmes based on healthy living and brand identity. This new high-tech/high-touch way of doing business will spread to day spas as branding and wellness unify, and we define our healthy choices through brand association.
I look forward to seeing some of you in New Delhi in October, and I hope that the rest of you will be with us virtually. Another healthy use of technology.
Question of the week:
Do you think spas can embrace both high tech and high touch programs and services? Why or why not? You can submit your answer by leaving a comment below.
The GSWS Team
Last call for research sponsorships
One of the most important objectives of the GSWS is to conduct quality research. There are still opportunities to demonstrate your commitment to the industry by becoming a 2013 Research Sponsor. Email Sallie Fraenkel for more information.
2012 Spa Management Workforce & Education: Addressing Market GapsSRI International
2011 Wellness Tourism and Medical Tourism: Where Do Spas Fit?Johnston, Puczkó,
Smith & Ellis
2010 Spas & the Global Wellness Market: Synergies & Opportunities