SpaFinder Announces Top UK Spa Trends to Watch in 2008

Expect to see “High Street Spas with Big Brands,” “Ageing Gracefully (with a Bit of Help!),” “Spa Gifting” and “Living at the Spa” on the rise in 2008.

London, United Kingdom - December 3, 2007

As the point of connection between thousands of spas and millions of spa consumers, SpaFinder has a unique perspective of the spa industry. The company uses this vantage point to provide industry enthusiasts with a "sneak peek" at the big spa stories in the year ahead. This year, SpaFinder takes its trend tracking to another level by looking at global trends, along with local spa trends in the United Kingdom and Japan.

“Though there are many spa trends that exist on a truly global level – such as Luxury Detox and Sleep Health – we thought it was time to celebrate each country’s unique relationship to the tradition and ritual of spa going,” said Cassandra Cavanah, Executive Director at SpaFinder Europe.

Following are SpaFinder’s "Top 10 UK Spa Trends to Watch in 2008," compiled with research from www.spafinder.co.uk, consumer input, extensive travel by the company’s editorial staff, and a close working relationships with day and stay spas.

High Street Spas with Big Brand Names
The UK consumers’ perception of what “spa” means has changed considerably over the past couple of years. When SpaFinder launched in the UK in 2006, the term “spa” was used mostly when discussing destination spas or spas at hotels and resorts. Now, more and more people want the health, beauty and wellness benefits that spa treatments give them on a regular basis and they want it on their doorsteps. Though we all love trundling away for the weekend or even a full week at a destination spa, it’s not something that can be done on a monthly basis! Brands like Champneys (Champneys Town and City Spas) and Seaham Hall’s Serenity Spa (Serenity in the City) are bringing their unique spa experiences to a high street near you.

Ageing Gracefully (With a Bit of Help)
There’s talk of “scalpel and Botox backlash” among beauty and spa aficionados. It’s true; you don’t have to look hard to find examples of scary, frozen faces that will have you running far from your local plastic surgeon. The misuse of these procedures is in full evidence but it’s the subtle results of these contemporary anti-aging tools that more and more women and men will aspire to achieve (think Sharon Stone versus Janice Dickinson). Ageing gracefully will mean not seeking the scalpel but invoking alternative measures for looking great at any age. Whether it’s through a qualified practitioner (no Botox parties, please!) who can administer both Botox and fillers in a way that achieves “artistic” and natural results or through some of the new-tech facials and creams that can ease the appearance of ageing. Medical spas are also high on the list of places to turn to when looking to gently recede the sands of time.

Men at Spas
Though most men will admit to liking a good massage, they don’t really want to be forced to contend with the usual female-friendly atmosphere you find in most day and salon spas. Instead, they want a spa where a man can be a man. It’s already happening in a few men-only grooming salons, such as Nickel Spa, Wholeman and Gentlemen’s Tonic, but 2008 should bring the male spa experience more into the mainstream. Expect co-ed spas to begin catering to men with old-school amenities, like traditional barber services, bars, sports rooms, pool tables and hardcore gyms.

Back to Basics – It’s the Therapist that Matters!
Day and salon spas, which have been broadening their menus of services and treatments, will re-focus on offering quality massage, facials, and other maintenance/therapeutic mainstays. Spa consumers don’t necessarily want a huge, diversified menu from their day spa – what they want is a place they can visit on a regular basis to achieve consistent results from a therapist that they know and trust. Perhaps most importantly, spas have started putting much more effort into getting ‘star therapists’ with that special “touch” that makes their customers come back month after month. Resort and destination spas have the luxury of time and space to pamper spa-goers with indulgent and exotic multi-hour treatment experiences, but we see savvy spa consumers seeking proven results when tackling their day-to-day needs.

Express Treatments for an Express Lifestyle
Our busy lifestyles mean that we can’t always spend all the time we’d like at the local day or salon spa. The last thing you want is to stress about spending time to take care of yourself – spas will be looking to ease the tension by creating express treatments for general maintenance like facials, manicure and pedicures, helping you free up your time for luxury treatments and full days at the spa! The most extreme example of this is Cucumba in London, dubbed “The Urban Pit Stop,” they offer 10, 20, 30 and 45 minute walk-in treatments. These are treatments that won’t require changing your clothes or showering and are perfect to do during lunch or just to relax before the next big thing your day brings you.

Healthy Holidays - Communal Retreats with Like-minded Travellers
More and more people are seeking holidays that incorporate some form of mind, body and soul experience that they love (yoga, biking, climbing, self-exploration, life coaching) with spa. These are retreats first – the property and location are chosen based on the needs of the retreat. Experts travel with the group, often offering one-to-one attention for each member of the group.

Business at the Spa
More and more business retreats and conventions will take place at the spa. Why play golf when you can spa? Or do both! This is a trend that serves a multi-purpose by giving the businesses a way to promote a healthy lifestyle amongst their staff and associates and sending the message that they really care about them. It also offers a great opportunity for companies to incorporate health education or stress reduction programmes into their conference programming.

Living at the Spa…Literally
Emerging "spa communities" are providing today’s ageing baby boomers with their most important lifestyle requirements — namely health and fitness, centred around spa-going. This trend, pioneered by Canyon Ranch Living in Florida, is flourishing in the US and we have already started seeing premier spas throughout Europe such as Grayshott Spa in Surrey, Park Kenmare in Ireland, and Fonteverde Living in Italy offering residential properties built around healthy-living activities and amenities like hiking/biking trails, workout rooms, fitness classes, healthy cuisine, spa treatments, and health education.

Organic If You Can – And If It Works!
Consumers are becoming far savvier when it comes to the products we put on our skin. Though organic is still a huge catchphrase, many consumers have begun realising that just because it says “organic” on the tin, it isn’t necessarily 100% pure. The flipside to this is that if products are truly organic, results still speak volumes so, unless it actually works, investing in an expensive organic face cream will be deemed pointless. Knowing that 100% organic is not always achievable or affordable, spa-goers will become more concerned with whether or not manufacturers are focussed on “sustainability” or creating “locally sourced” products. We may become more willing to compromise on “green” when it comes to “preen,” but the consequences of our purchases will remain top of mind.

Spa Gifting Propelling Guiltless Spa-going
As the gift card and voucher market explodes in the UK, expect a rise in the purchase of spa gift vouchers and a corresponding rise in spa visits as many first-time spa-goers are initiated into the rite of passage that is health, wellness and beauty. Christmas 2007 marks the first time that the gift of spa is readily available on the high street – whether it’s at a high street spa or on a gift card rack in a retailer like WH Smiths, Sainsbury’s or Woolworths. Research shows that many first-time spa-goers arrive at a spa with a gift voucher or card in hand – these are often consumers who have the feeling that they “don’t deserve” to treat themselves to a spa experience. In a word, they have “guilt” - guilt about treating themselves, guilt about relaxing, guilt about taking time away from their family. But once they grasp the full benefits of spa going – that it’s not only about pampering themselves on the outside but also about feeling great on the inside - many of them begin making spa-going part of their lives.

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About SpaFinder, Inc.

The world’s largest spa marketing and media company, SpaFinder reaches millions of wellness-focused consumers via its global media network, including the award-winning SpaFinder.com, Spafinder.co.uk, Luxury SpaFinder magazine and the annual Worldwide Guide to Spas. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing programmes, including localised, native-language websites showcasing day spas, salon spas, and onsens. Redeemable at 4,000+ spas worldwide and available at thousands of retail outlets across North America and the United Kingdom, SpaFinder Gift Certificates and Gift Cards represent the world’s largest spa gifting programme. Through its investment partnership with SpaBoom, the company also provides an array of technology and online marketing services for spas. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.

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