A lot is happening on the international spa scene! Last month, at the London International Spa Conference, I had the chance to
learn from and share ideas with professionals from Australia, India, Belize,
the United Kingdom, the United States, Ireland, Hong Kong, Cyprus, Bangkok, Thailand, Austria, Hungary, Germany, Korea, Italy, and
more. It was truly enlightening to see how the spa industry is developing worldwide.
Here are some of my impressions:
1. The word "spa" has won. There is no doubt that the word "spa" is now accepted as an acronym for solus per aqua and has reached universal acceptance. One of the SpaFinder polls we conducted last year showed that "spa" trumped every other word we tested with more than 90% of participants having an extremely favorable opinion of it. While terms such as wellness, well-being, health, retreat, clinic, kur, beauty center, fitness, terme, leisure and sport, onsun, mineral springs, bath, health farm, thalassotherapy, and others all describe important aspects of our industry in different parts of the world, "spa" seems to have emerged as an umbrella term with universal appeal.
2. I kept saying wow! I was really impressed with some of the spa bathing design from European manufacturers. The saunas, thermal bath design, steams, pools, relaxation rooms, fresh water whirlpools, showers, and ice grottos are truly another level. You can take three photo tours online: www.balnea.de, www.barrandwray.com and www.cheshire-spas-pools.co.uk.
3. Clearly every country, region, and culture has made a contribution to what is now a global industry. In preparation for my presentations at this international conference, I began jotting down a list of terms which honor those contributions. (Let me know which ones I've forgotten, and I'll share them with you in the next Insider—and give you credit!)
|Arab Rasul||German Kur||Japanese Shiatsu|
|Balinese Boreh||Hawaiian Lomi Lomi||Javanese Lulur|
|Brazilian Wax||Hungarian Mud||Mexican Temascal|
|Chinese Acupuncture||Indian Ayurveda||Russian Steam|
|Chinese Medicine||Indian Head Massage||Scotch Hose|
|Dead Sea Salt||Native American Sweat Lodge||Swiss Shower|
|Egyption Oils||Indonesian Lulur Ritual||Thai Massage|
|Finnish Sauna||Italian Fango||Turkish Bath|
|French Thalassotherapy||Japanese Enzyme Bath||Turkish Hammam|
4. According to Ingo Schweder, group director for Mandarin Oriental Spas, guests in the chain's hotels who use the spa spend more money and stay longer than the average hotel guest. They spend 35-60% more on their entire hotel bill, they are 30-55% more likely to stay longer, and they are two to four times more likely to book a suite. Take note: those are some powerful statistics in favor of hotels investing in spas and the marketing of those spas.
5. Director of Spas for Hyatt worldwide, Gordon Taretta's views on worldwide spa-trend leadership were also very interesting. See if you agree:
- Asia leads in service, treatments, and design
- The U.S. leads in marketing, functional design, and products
- Europe leads in treatments, products, technology, and research
7. And finally at the very last conference session, which was on future spa trends, I was asked by the moderator what I felt would be the next next big trend. My predictions? Spa Residential Living is one. Sanctuary Tourism is another. More about those in my next newsletter!
Till the next Insider,