SpaTrade's January webinar series kicked off with Nancy Griffin and Susie Ellis's webinar on Spa Finder's 2006 Trends. The webinar focused on the implications of the trends for day spas. Here's an overview of the trends and implications. Click here to view the whole webinar on demand!

In 2006 many large spa companies will continue their evolution from physical places to precisely defined corporate brands - e.g., Bliss Spas = 'hip,' Six Senses = 'barefoot luxury,' Golden Door = 'prestige' - to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Also watch for the rise of the retail spa as product companies like La Prairie, Sothys, Jurlique, Avon, etc. introduce spa settings to market their wares.

Implications for Day Spas

? Become a known expert in a specific area
? Invest in PR efforts
? Develop a Guerilla Marketing plan
? Advertise in the most inexpensive ways (hint: think internet and gift certificates)
? Recognize McSpa's big ad budget

"Spa IQ" on the Rise
Spa-smart consumers will become even savvier in 2006. More people will go to the spa with a clear idea of what they want to experience, and many will even request off-menu treatments of their own design. (In fact, some will know more than many industry pros when it comes to product ingredients, cutting-edge spa treatments, and the latest medical spa modalities.)

Implications for Day Spas

? Communicate or display credentials of staff
? Educate to increase skill and knowledge of therapists — even just verbal knowledge
? Skill trumps ambiance in day spas who covet repeat business

"Home Sweet Spa"
The home spa phenomenon has not crested and will continue to gain momentum in the year ahead as more empty nesters re-cast those unused bedrooms as spa-inspired spaces for fitness, meditation and massage while transforming traditional bathrooms into spa bathrooms.

Implications for Day Spas

? Sell home spa amenities
? Think about ways to get people out of their homes (and hotel rooms) and into your spa
? Consider adding a mobile spa service component

Water, Water Everywhere (Again)
2006 spas will return to their source by rediscovering traditional water therapies and re-imagining them in new ways, such as color hydrotherapy baths, vapor caves, liquidsound, watsu, deluge showers, and spa water parks.

Implications for Day Spas

? Embrace and trumpet Solus per Aqua in some way: water you serve, water used in facials, conversation, etc.
? Learn the history and value of water therapies
? Communicate water therapy information to guests...i.e. opening of the Bath Spa Project in England, revival of Desert Hot Springs, CA and Saratoga, NY
? Plan or encourage spa vacations where water therapies are prominent — get your clients immersed in Solus per Aqua

Medical and Sanctuary Tourism — New Reasons to Travel
Spas worldwide will continue to sharpen their focus on wellness and renewal, providing stressed-out travelers with a chance to go on spa getaways and soak in local wellness and relaxation traditions. More Americans, in turn, will travel out of the country for alternative (or lower priced) medical and aesthetic treatments.

Implications for Day Spas

? Use terms such as wellness, prevention, etc.
? If you have a medical program, market outside your local area
? Bring in wellness, aesthetic or CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine)practitioners as speakers or special guests
? Create a sanctuary setting somewhere in your spa

The Yin of Luxury and Yang of Discount
The spa industry will continue to expand at both ends of the market, with luxury vacations and experiences becoming even more opulent and expensive, and a new breed of discount spas and spa chains offering high-quality beauty and body work at extremely low prices.

Implications for Day Spas

? Decide where you are going to play and stick with it. There is room for both.
? If you are luxury, think "value-add"
? Market specials, emails, PR, advertising, gift certificates, etc.
? Resorts are getting a reputation for high prices and so-so body work, day spas can gain a competitive edge here

Macho, Macho Spa
In 2006 that wish will finally come true, as more men-only spas and grooming products are introduced and more co-ed spas cater aggressively to men with old-school amenities like traditional barber services, boxing robes, bars, sports viewing, cigar rooms, pool tables and hardcore gyms.

Implications for Day Spas

? Gender neutral décor and ambiance
? Address specific male needs such as shaving, body hair, etc.
? Couples treatments will help bring in more men
? Don't spend a lot of marketing dollars on this as it is a harder sell

The Pendulum Swings Back to a Pure Spa Experience
Resort/hotel spa properties will continue to move beyond beauty and pampering to offer more rigorous programs with an emphasis on fitness, health, diet and wellness.
Organize trips to a destination spa

Implications for Day Spas

? Reduce temptations in your spa
? Incorporate fitness, nutrition, mind/spirit components
? Simplify spa menus

"Ohmmm" Online
More and more spa websites will complement traditional property/marketing information with real age medical tools, nutrition advice, spa recipes, etc. while also hosting spa lounges and blogs that enable former and future guests to share experiences and insight (while helping spas maintain a valuable connection with their guests).

Implications for Day Spas

? Make sure the look of your website reflects your spa's brand

? Update transaction functionality of your website
? Link to as many aggregators as possible (SpaTrade, SpaWish, SpaFinder, Spa Addicts, etc.)
? Spend your marketing dollars online

Fun on the Spa Menu
Look for more spas - for better or worse - to become social scenes, with some going so far as to offer group-friendly activities/programs like Tango-Zen lessons, Texas Hold'em, group mud experiences, party packages and day spa singles' nights.

Implications for Day Spas

? Don't underestimate the value of interaction — client and staff
? Don't underestimate the value of interaction — client with other clients
? Facilitate community through physical space and programming
? Make sure YOU AND YOUR STAFF are having fun!

Click here for a complete overview of Spa Finder's 2006 Trends.