GSS Wrap-up

At the end of formal presentations, the GSS delegation came together one last time for a democratic wrap-up.  Edie Weiner and Philippe Bourguignon once again urged us to rise above the day-to-day and enable our future visions.  Next year,the Summit will be held at an Asian location, and the delegation was asked to vote on 10 locales within that region.  Somewhat surprisingly, the location with the highest percentage of votes was Bali, Indonesia.  While that does not make the location a certainty, the Global Spa Summit Board of Directors immediately set to work determining the feasibility of that option.

The delegation then broke into groups of 8-10, and each group was charged with coming up with “bridge-building” activities for the coming year. After compiling our lists, we then prioritized the lists and each group submitted one over-arching goal, which were gathered into a master list.  Volunteers were identified to assist with moving these goals along so that, when we gather next year, progress will have been made.  Susie Ellis urged us to continue to work together to further our industry.

Finally, we exited the meeting room to be greeted by rows of waiters holding trays of champagne, and we toasted one another and the organizers of the Global Spa Summit for a truly fantastic event.

When reflecting, on the way home, about my main takeaways from the Summit, I think the number one impression was that of the further globalization of our industry.  One of the great things about having attendees from 40 different countries is that it forces the dialogue to be high-level and global in nature, rather than focused on needs or capabilities of a particular country or region.  Once we return home, we will no doubt resume our more localized strategies, but hopefully we’ll have a better worldview in the not-so-distant corners of our minds.

Another theme that I found to be consistent throughout the conference was the continued need for education on all fronts:

  • Spa leaders needing to develop an ongoing plan to integrate the wellness message into the spa experience

  • Spa staff continuing to develop language, presentation and communication skills to provide our clients with truly memorable experiences that deliver value beyond the initial spa visit

  • Spa consumers continuing to learn that the habits and tips learned at spas concerning nutrition, relaxation, stress-reduction and healthy choices can lead to living longer, more vital, lives

Attending the Global Spa Summit was great both for re-connecting with old friends and making some new ones.  The combination of formal gatherings, informal get-togethers, and a social networking site dedicated to the delegation will encourage ongoing collaboration and networking, beyond the few days we were together, much as we hope that spa visits will have continued benefits for our guests.  If you are interested in more information that was reported during the event, please read the official Global Spa Summit blog, and my colleague Julie Keller’s American Spa Magazine blog.  I hope you enjoyed taking this amazing journey with me!