SpaFinder: Through the Years
SpaFinder: Through the Years
Twenty-five years ago, at the dawn of the spa boom, SpaFinder was started as a travel agency dedicated solely to spa. Now it's the go-to company for the spa industry and includes the most visited web portal for spa and wellness information. See how its grown through the years.
Spa Finder Ltd. debuts as spa travel company
Upon learning that some five million Americans of all ages, genders and income levels visit spas every year, Jeffrey Joseph decides to turn his then-40-year-old travel agency into a niche agency that specializes in booking spa vacations. He also publishes the first comprehensive spa guide.
SpaFinder Magazine launches
After nine years immersed in the spa market, Jeffrey Joseph creates The Spa Finder, a spa and resort magazine, filled with descriptive articles and spa listings from around the globe.
Gift certificate program begins
SpaFinder becomes the largest retailer and wholesaler of gift cards for the spa/wellness industry. Today SpaFinder cards/certificates are accepted in 79 countries and sold at nearly 100,000 retail locations, including American Greetings, Safeway, Duane Reade, Staples and Walmart as well as on SpaFinder.com.
SpaFinder.com goes live
The successful launch sets the tone for what the site is today: the world’s most visited website for spa and wellness information, trumping Google.* (*Coyle Research Report, May 2011.) Highlights of the website include a directory of thousands of worldwide spas, fitness, yoga and Pilates studios, wellness businesses and salons, the Club Spa blog, and a dedicated travel agent portal. The site also becomes available in six different local domains: U.K., Germany, France, Japan, Italy and Spain.
The Ellis Family Trust becomes majority shareholder
The following year, Peter Ellis takes the helm as company chairman CEO. He and President Susie Ellis reinvigorate the brand and begin the transition to a Web-based business model.
Readers' Choice Awards debut
SpaFinder announces its first annual Readers' Choice Awards, the only awards to honor spas in unique categories, from cuisine to hiking to accommodations. Each year readers vote for the spas they feel deserve to be christened the crème de la crème of the spa industry, resulting in the most comprehensive consumer assessment of the global spa industry. Today the awards recognize favorite spas on six continents, in 35-plus countries/regions and in 31categories.
SpaFinder presents its first Visionary Award
To recognize pioneering vision in the spa/wellness fields, SpaFinder presents its first Visionary Award to Bruce E. Katz, M.D., for his trailblazing work in developing the concept of medical spas and for encouraging the spa industry to meet consumer demand for medical spa services.
SpaFinder compiles its first Spa Trends Report.
Fully acknowledging spa and wellness as a growth industry that is continuously evolving, SpaFinder creates a report that anticipates upcoming developments in the spa world based on its ears-to-the-ground research. The report still remains the go-to resource for the spa industry and is published every January.
SpaFinder's software division, SpaBooker, creates an online, 24-7 booking system used to book treatments and spa services, manage contacts and appointments, and streamline business. Participating international properties include Spa Chakra and Hilton Hotels Corporation. In three years SpaBooker becomes a separate company named GramercyOne.
The Global Spa Summit holds its first meeting
Spearheaded by SpaFinder CEO Pete Ellis and SpaFinder President Susie Ellis, the Global Spa Summit (GSS) becomes an historic event at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York, New York. The annual international gathering brings together leaders and visionaries to positively impact and shape the future of the global spa and wellness industries. The 2011 Summit, held in Bali, Indonesia, attracts a record 275 executives from 35 nations; the 2012 GSS will take place in Aspen, Colorado.
Melanoma Awareness, a cause near and dear to our hearts
After our spa industry colleague and friend Alex Szekely, former president of the Golden Door and Rancho La Puerta, died of melanoma at just 44, SpaFinder launched its Melanoma Initiative to educate others about melanoma awareness and prevention.
SpaFinder acquires SpaWish Gift Card business
The purchase expands its spa gifting program to include the immense salon market, estimated to be a $40-billion industry. SpaFinder renames, brands and operates this new division as “Spa & Salon Wish” and grows the network of thousands of day spas and salons that accept SpaWish gift cards and certificates.
SpaFinder Instant Gift Certificates become available
SpaFinder Instant Gift Certificates commence, allowing spa enthusiasts the ability to email or print for immediate delivery.
SpaFinder enters into agreement with Sandow Media
Joining with the leader in high-end online and print-media properties, SpaFinder and Sandow publish NewBeauty SpaFinder Guide to Global Spa, Wellness & Beauty, found on more than 20,000 newsstands and 12,000 leading spas and hotels worldwide. The SpaFinder Supplement appears in every issue of NewBeauty magazine, beginning in fall/winter 2010.
Wellness Week™ debuts
Originally known as SpaFinder Deal Days, the weeklong event provides customers with spa treatments and wellness offerings for $50 prices or 50 percent discounts. Now branded as Wellness Week™, the event brings together spas; health, yoga and Pilates studios; and other wellness businesses to inspire millions of Americans to lead healthier and happier lives. Academy Award nominee and wellness advocate Mariel Hemingway is the face of 2012 Wellness Week as the event's national spokesperson.
SpaWish gets a makeover
SpaFinder's spa-beauty gift division, SpaWish.com, is relaunched to target the new spa/beauty demographic—young, diverse style-setters—with thousands of spa and salon listings, reviews, and the latest and savviest news, trends, and treatments on its SpaWish blog.
SpaFinder's social commerce initiative, SpaRahRah!, offers exclusive discounts on custom-crafted spa, wellness and travel deals, handpicked by the experts at SpaFinder. Clients include the likes of Caudalie Vinotherapie Spa, Clarins, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spas and Golden Door Spa.
SpaBooker becomes a separate company named Gramercy One.
SpaFinder goes mobile
SpaFinder launches the first iPhone app for the spa industry that allows customers to easily find spas and book appointments on their smartphones. The phrase "search, book, spa!" has never been so easy.
MINDBODY and SpaFinder sign an exclusive agreement
MINDBODY and SpaFinder sign an exclusive agreement, bringing 12,000 spas, yoga and Pilates studios, health clubs, private trainers, fitness clubs and salons to SpaFinder.com. MINDBODY's software gives wellness aficionados seamless connectivity to its booking platform so they can book services online anywhere, at their convenience.
SpaEvidence makes its mark
SpaFinder's 25th Anniversary
As SpaFinder celebrates its 25th anniversary, it also celebrates the thousands of businesses and professionals, and the millions of wellness-enthusiasts, who have helped the company grow to become the world's largest spa and wellness resource. SpaFinder would like to thank you for your continued support and inspiration!