2012 Top 10 Global Spa and Wellness Trends
TOP 10 GLOBAL SPA AND WELLNESS TRENDS FOR 2012
INSIDE THE 2012 REPORT
As we look into our crystal ball for 2012, two distinct, overarching themes emerge. One is an industry innovating diverse, new sensory experiences and treatments. The second is how spas are re-imagining and extending their connection to customers, moving beyond the sporadic visit, to new programs and concepts aimed at forging long-term relationships, such as coaching and online gaming. Please also enjoy our bonus trend, “Employee Wellness”, which represents a serious, “next wave” opportunity for spas everywhere.
1. Feet Focus: Healthy Feet Treatments
Spas and wellness centers are now putting a big focus on feet: from “foot fitness” classes to new 100-percent foot-focused med-spas to podiatrist-overseen “medi-pedis” to treatments specifically targeting high-heel pain. And while the ancient Chinese practice of reflexology revolves around using foot acupressure to impact the organs of the body, the fact that reflexology centers are becoming as common as nail salons may have more to do with people simply seeking pain relief via foot massages, rather than some sudden conversion to Traditional Chinese Medicine.
2. Cold and Ice Are Hot
Spas have traditionally been all about hot: saunas, steam rooms, Jacuzzis, hot rock massages, etc. “Hot” is the spa world’s age-old weapon to help people relax, sweat, detoxify and draw blood to the surface. But now spas are bravely stepping out into the cold. We’ll see more icy therapies and cold design experiences in 2012, along with more hot/cold contrast treatments. Perhaps no trend better exemplifies the spa industry’s trajectory away from “mere pampering” than this one!
3. Wellness and Beauty Coaching
“Health coaching,” “wellness coaching,” even “eyebrow coaching” — coaching is a concept gathering steam at spas, with new approaches ranging from the very serious…to the simply engaging and fun.
4. Online Wellness Gaming
The sheer number of people, of every age, all over the globe, that spend vast amounts of time playing online games is staggering. Half a billion people worldwide play online games at least an hour a day. The average young person spends 10,000 hours gaming by age 21, as much time as they spend in school from age 12 on.⁴
5. Pairing Fine Dining and Spa-ing
Many hotels and resorts do very fine food AND very fine spa, but historically their star offerings have been dissociated, both in terms of marketing and as a consideration by guests. That is changing dramatically. Fine dining and spa-ing are being aggressively paired — packaged — curated — marketed — and savored together as never before. Creative culinary-plus-spa experiences and packages are a trend because they’re massively appealing: a logical, sensory, “lifestyle” combo for romantics, pleasure- seekers and true connoisseurs (as well as that growing crossover demographic of people that are both rabid “foodies” and spa/wellness devotees).
6. Vibration, Sound, Music, Light and Color
Spas have used sound, music, color and light in the past, but typically as ambient, afterthought accessories. now they’re often becoming the main event, and this new wave of approaches, each essentially rooted in vibrations and frequencies, is being unleashed to help us relax far more quickly, “clear energy blocks” and relieve pain, etc. new sound, music, color, light (and physically vibrating/rhythmic) experiences are either being deployed individually — or in heady, immersive combinations engaging multiple senses — often in startling new ways.
7. The Glam Factor: Glambition
The headlines in the spa industry these last few years have been all about wellness. But now beauty and grooming is seriously booming…being driven by a new trend we call “glambition.” The intensity, frequency (and often sheer whimsicality) with which people are getting “glammed up,” groomed, bedizened and beautified is exploding worldwide.
8. Spa Evidence
Spafinder named “The Science of Spa” a top trend, forecasting a new era where more questions about the proven, medical effectiveness of spa therapies would get asked, leading to new visibility for the growing archive of clinical evidence that exists for approaches like massage, meditation or acupuncture.
9. Spas Become a Family Affair
Spas have traditionally been retreats for grownups to relax and revitalize…far away from children. But there is a rapidly growing traveler demand to be able to bring teens, tweens and even tots along for the spa ride. now that spas are broadly associated with wellness (rather than fussy “grown-up” pampering), far more families, and many concerned about the growing childhood obesity epidemic, want to get their spa-on together. Spafinder identified the trend of more children at spas way back in 2004, but this is no longer about the occasional kid. It’s totally mainstream: Whole families are spa-ing together, and more spas are finding creative ways to welcome the entire clan.
10. Spas Go for the “Wow”
For many years, most people probably thought that one hotel or day spa sure seems a whole lot like any other: the same beige, Zen look, the same menu of treatments and homogenized experiences. But now spas are really piling on the “wow” factors, serving up both big and small wows (and true surprises) in a quest for individuation.