SPA RITUALS: Here to stay?
More and more spas – especially resort spas – are using the term "ritual" for one of their signature services. I like this. A ritual is something outside the everyday, a ceremonial procedure performed with dignity, care, and attention to detail. Spa rituals often include a combination of services and are usually inspired by indigenous cultures. So a ritual might include a foot-washing ceremony followed by body exfoliation and then a massage or bathing, etc. At some spas and in some rituals, additional elements such as chimes, drumming, incense, or even inspirational words may be incorporated.
I applaud those who have introduced the notion of ritual and all that it implies to our industry: Kim Collier and Tammy Pahel, for example, come to mind. Kim introduced me to the Javanese Lulur Ritual, an interpretation of the royal Indonesian rites that prepare a bride for her wedding day. I noticed that Kim has been inspired by these ceremonies to create her Asian Spa Rituals product line. Tammy at Turnberry Isle Resort and Spa has boldly placed Indian Ayruvedic rituals, Balinese spa rituals, Thai spa rituals and Australian Aboriginal rituals on her spa menu.
a word of caution, however, as I've had "ritual" experiences in which too-complex combinations were clumsily executed, and that tended to steer me toward a single spa service in the future. But I think we should work to preserve the trend toward rituals as a positive one for our industry. To that end, here are my hopes:
1) That a ritual's cultural heritage is accurately incorporated and communicated;
2) That rituals stay distinct from other spa treatments so as to preserve their uniqueness;
3) That therapists are well trained to perform rituals expertly so that they will be well-received by consumers
MEDICAL SPAS: Where the consumer stands
At SpaFinder, we recently completed a medical spa survey. To find out what consumers know about medical spas, we asked questions such as these:
Are you familiar with the term medical spa?
What is your definition of the term medical spa?
Give us your reaction to the following words: anti-aging, wellness, medical, spa, medi-spa, medical spa, hydrotherapy, and healing retreat.
Here is a sneak peek at the results: 46% of the respondents were familiar with the term medical spa and 54% were not. Interestingly, 52% of people in the northeast were familiar with the term medical spa but only 38% of Californians were. And though 95% of all respondents like the term "spa" and 88% like the term "wellness," only 27% like the term "medi-spa." Reaction was split down the middle to the term "anti-aging."
BOOKING TIME VS. BOOKING TREATMENTS: Another new trend?
a few spas are testing the concept of having spa-goers book segments of time rather than individual spa treatments. The SÁMAS Spa at Park Hotel Kenmare in Ireland offers customers a choice of a two-hour, a four-hour, or a six-hour treatment block rather than have them choose specific services. Spa Montage in Laguna Beach just introduced "Surrender." The guest books an appointment with a therapist who then determines the optimal treatment combination.
I think this is an interesting direction, although it will necessitate some very well-trained therapists who are good diagnosticians. I congratulate any spa that makes this work well.
GIVING MEN THE TREATMENTS: Custom care
The recent 2003 ISPA survey revealed that 29% of spa goers are men. It seems that spas are now also doing more than just giving traditional spa programs and services more macho names. Check out "Fitness Matters for Men," which Canyon Ranch is introducing this month. It's a for-men-only four-day program with workshops on topics like "Everything You Wanted to Know About Men's Health," "Stress and Work," and "Magnificent Sex." What a great contribution to opening our industry up to more men participants.
NEW SPa TERMS: Have you heard them?
Mama SpaTM — a unique concept with a great name, this "mobile spa" started here in New York. a therapist specializing in pregnancy treatments travels to people's homes, offices, and hotels, and also arranges spa-themed baby showers. Check out her cute website at www.mamaspa.com.
Globesity — Coined by the World Health Organization, the term refers to the worldwide epidemic of obesity. The problem isn't indigenous to the U.S. There are 1.1 billion overweight or obese people around the globe.
Boyzilian — I can't end this SpaFinder Insider without acknowledging all of the fun feedback I received from the last Insider where we talked about new words and terms such as "meterosexual" and "eyebrow intervention." Both Tru Spa and Bella Pelle introduced me to the term "Boyzilian". Yes, just as you might have guessed, it is a Brazilian bikini wax for men. Ouch.
Till the next Insider...