Global Spa Summit “Money Experts” See Medical and Spa Merging for Profit


The second day of the Global Spa summit opened with the panel, “Where Has All the Money Gone? Prof. Mary Tabacchi moderated the panel featuring James Kaplan, SVP of Fairmont Raffles, David Browning, CEO of Somasigns, Philips Consumer Lifestyle, and David Stoup, Chairman of Trilogy Ventures. David Stoup cited a Bain study of the luxury goods market showing that in 2010 that market eclipsed peak spending from 2007, and projecting 6% growth for 2014. North America is still the largest luxury goods market. New spa consumers are rationalizing spending because of health and prevention angles. He sees more high value treatments and retail purchases in our future.

Audience question – Is there luxury consumer in China or India? Kaplan says in China yes, they are VERY brand conscious, all the big brands are there. India more of a Bollywood, cricket, sports-oriented market, less about luxury goods because they haven’t had a distribution channel. Both Stoup and Kaplan think there is still a big luxury market; Tabacchi asked what percentage they represent of the population. India and China, with a billion people in each place, even 2-3% is enough. Stoup says the aspirational customer can have significant impact on the market as well.

When asked, “What is newest, hottest thing?” medical and wellness related trends ruled the day.  David Browning of Philips responds; “People will increasingly take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, and we’ll see more movement from medical diagnostics to medical healthcare. In terms of spa participation, what we do and medical are converging industries. Market uses hospital-based measurement systems, but now we have blood pressure and heart monitors on IPhones…We need personal intuitive feedback that consumers and caregivers can access and use, taking products and services to heart of consumer.

Stoup has partnered with Andrew Weill, and they feel that the spa and hospital of tomorrow won’t look all that different. We’re going to see more meshing between the two communities. Kaplan also speaks to blending of spa and medical; hospitals and hospitality not that far apart now. Examples such as Cleveland Clinic in Dubai create an economic opportunity to combine hospitality and hospital. If programmed, designed and managed correctly, they can integrate for preventive care and wellness as well as surgical and post-surgical

Kaplan sees an opportunity to set up one-stop shop tests for cardiac health and lifestyle prevention. Stoup remarks that luxury good consumers will continue to spend on products and services related to health, wellness and lifestyle. Smart investors will look for those high-value and high-growth opportunities in quasi-medical spa environments.

What does this mean for the US Day Spa market? The opportunities for growth will come from creating value, and often times that will mean solving health and wellness issues for your clients. 

Are you adding medical services to your spa? Providing spa services within the medical system? Let us know how it is working!