What the Spa Experience Will Look like Moving Forward

spa industry post-covid
The spa experience is likely to look a bit different for at least a few months. Photo by andresr/iStock/Getty Images Plus

It's no secret that post-pandemic life will look much different than it did before. Most industries have taken hard hits, and as a result they've had to shift their business models to adapt to the new normal—the spa industry is no different. Here, Jessica Timberlake, Global Public Relations Manager of Eminence Organic Skin Care answers a few hot button questions about what the spa experience will look like moving forward. 

How has the shutdown impacted the spa industry? 

The spa industry has been dramatically impacted by the pandemic; 99 percent of spas were closed for quite some time. Not surprisingly, 93 percent of spas are reporting a “significant” or “detrimental” impact on their business. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Spa Association (ISPA) partnered with PricewaterhouseCoopers to monitor consumer insights, as well as conduct their own surveys of spa operators and spa brands, to understand the measurable impacts on the spa Industry. Using the data gained from this invaluable research, the industry is redefining what a safe spa experience looks like for consumers.     

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What adaptations are spas making to ensure client safety and comfort when reopening? 

Spas are making strategic plans to open safely. Spa directors and owners are considering the layout of their facility and the services they offer. Personal protective equipment will be part of the spa staff uniform and, in many spas, also available to guests. According an ISPA study, 60 percent of spas are offering gloves to staff and guests, and 67 percent are offering masks and temperature checks. The facilities, reception areas, locker rooms, and lounge areas are reducing occupancy and have been reorganized to accommodate social distancing protocols. Detailed sanitization protocols have been implemented between treatments and scheduling has added 20-30 minutes between each guest to allow for this. Saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools will likely remain closed until further notice. 

How will the client experience look different than pre-shutdown from arrival to departure? 

The guest experience will still focus on the essence of a spa and will adjust to keep everyone safe. Now, more than ever, people are seeking wellness and self-care, and spas provide just that, with a great responsibility to adhere to safe protocols. Some changes may include waiting outside of the spa prior to the appointment (instead of a waiting lounge), limited use of the locker area, relaxed/flexible cancellation policies and health commitment waiver at check-in. In addition, reception staff and treatment providers may wear masks, gloves and face shields in some cases.  

Have sanitation guidelines changed? How will they be monitored? 

Sanitation guidelines have changed state by state, and county by county in some. Spas are also taking care to conduct their own internal monitoring, and in some cases, secret shoppers are deployed to ensure the sanitation guidelines are being followed.    

Should guests expect to pay more for their spa treatments? 

Given the impact of COVID- 19 on the industry, spas and salons may have a COVID fee. In general, this fee is nominal and is merely designed to cover the increased cost of additional sanitation supplies and PPE.    

Any advice for clients returning? 

Look for ‘smiling eyes’ to greet you at the spa. Throughout your spa visit, communicate your needs and ask questions to ensure you are comfortable every step of the way. Your spa experience is all about you. The spa staff, estheticians and massage therapists all want to make you happy. 

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