5 Consumer-Driven Spa Trends that Impact YOUR Business

1.  Health & Medicine
Spas are getting back to their roots--natural health. 97% of respondents in the SpaTrade membership survey view preventive medicine and alternative medicine as important to the future of the spa industry. "The opportunity of spas to provide relief to individuals with chronic and degenerative disease is enormous, says Andrew Weil. "Consumers have an enormous desire for greater empowerment. They want to be equal partners in their health."

2.  Personal Transformation
The spas of the future will fulfill the needs of a new generation of spa-goers, individuals who seek personal growth as well as a healthy body.
People are more willing than ever to spend money to rediscover and redevelop their lives. In response, spas are offering life-changing experiences and plenty of support tools to take home. Canyon Ranch provides "a direct, emotional connection between what people know they should do and what they actually do every day. "Gone are the days when consumers will drop $1,000 and be happy with "just 'nice" experience," says spa owner and educator Anne Bramham.  "I have done my job when I hear: "I feel great. I learned so much, and now I can do XY and Z to take care of myself at home."

3. Concern for the Environment
Personal health depends on the health of the earth. Sustainable spas cater to socially-conscious consumers by focusing on resource conservation and environmentally products and services. Spas will emphasize the importance of the whole and the interdependence of its parts. "Sustainable spas can teach their clients how to exist in mutual benefit with all living systems," says spa historian Professor Jonathon Paul de Vierville.

4.   Affordable Value
Consumers may be trading up, but they are discriminating and value conscious. Spa entrepreneurs are looking for ways to attract the mass market.  "We want to democratize the spa industry," says Peggy Wynne Borgman, CEO of Preston Wynne, Inc. "There is so much interest and so much need and so much desire and we're only serving a tiny portion of the population." Scaled down spa concepts will be developed, such as the "Spateria," a cafeteria-like retail outlet catering to the budget conscious or time-starved spa enthusiast.

5.  In-Spa Education
In-house education will be a significant source of competitive advantage in the years to come. Improved training enhances productivity and ultimately its overall financial position. The multi-disciplinary nature of spa operations make it especially difficult to find and maintain qualified staff.  Spa managers and technicians must be educated in both technical skills and customer service. There will soon be teaching spas to bring therapists through the ranks while providing an affordable solution for the mid-level spa-goer.