On July 22nd, the International Spa Association held its 10th annual media event at historic The Pierre (A Four Seasons Hotel) in New York City. The late-afternoon event began with a presentation from ISPA President Jeff Kohl, releasing preliminary research from two new studies. Journalists moved on to the grand ballroom to be treated to a combination of gourmet hors d'oeuvres, mini spa treatments, and of course, products galore!

The show floor featured interactive booths from twenty top resort and destination spas from around the US: Aquae Sulis Spa at the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort, Spa and Golf (Las Vegas, NV), Canyon Ranch (AZ, MA, NV, FL, QM2 Ocean Liner), Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (Sonoma, CA), Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts (CA, NV, HI, Mexico), Golden Door Spas by Wyndham International (CA, AZ, PR, CO), The Greenhouse (TX and NY), Kohler Waters Spa at the American Club (Kohler, WI), Lake Austin Spa Resort (Austin, TX), Loews Hotels (AZ, CA), Mandarin Oriental (New York, NY) Mii amo at Enchantment (Sedona, AZ), Ojai Valley Inn & Spa (Ojai, CA), ONE at Shutters on the Beach (Santa Monica, CA), Red Mountain Spa (Ivins, UT), The Spa at Camelback Inn, A JW Marriott Resort & Spa (Scottsdale, AZ), The Spa at Sanibel Harbour (Ft. Meyers, FL), The Spa at the St. Regis Aspen (Aspen, CO), Spa Montage (Laguna Beach, CA), Sundara Inn & Spa (Wisconsin Dells, WI), Willow Stream the Spas at Fairmont (AZ, FL, CAN, MEX)

Kohl's cited industry statistics and consumer trends from the two studies, emphasizing that the findings are only in the preliminary stages. The studies will be released in November during the 14th annual ISPA Conference & Expo. The industry study, conducted by Toronto-based Association Resource Centre, is a follow-up to PriceWaterHouse Cooper's 2002 Industry study, which first quantified key revenue and growth numbers. The research for the first ever ISPA Consumer Trends Report, which is qualitative in nature, is being performed by Wellness and Lifestyle market research firm The Hartman Group of Seattle.

The Hartman's Group's findings support the 1999 ISPA research performed by Yesawich, Pepperdine, and Brown, that found consumer perceptions of spas vary wildly. Hartman Group found "significant uneasiness as to what is expected of them (spa-goers). During interviews with spa neophytes, many said that they were confused and anxious about how to behave in a spa. "They are essentially untrained in the etiquette of spa-going," said Kohl.