The spa industry is a growing part of the global wellness economy. Convenience, affordability and accessibility are keys to success.
Recent research from the Global Wellness Institute indicates that the wellness economy is now valued at $4.5 trillion globally.
Encompassing 10 key market segments, the wellness economy is increasingly converging and expanding as collaboration accelerates. As such, each key segment (including the spa industry, currently valued by GWI at $110 billion) is experiencing rapid transformation, calling for many past practices and approaches to be re-examined to align with this movement and to prepare for future growth.
Risks and rewards
Cross-pollination across industries sometimes goes to extremes. Fundamental commitments to historic practices, ancient healing traditions, scientific research and even medical care is at the risk of being diluted and replaced by the latest trend. Investors and entrepreneurs with a keen eye for opportunity are looking to strike while the wellness iron is hot. In the absence of an expert partner or professional rooted in the wellness world, not all innovations being produced are valid and true. At the rapid pace of expansion, control measures and regulating bodies will only struggle to keep up.
Consumer interest and demand is inspiring wellness professionals and driving innovation worldwide. Experts across a number of fields are now in collaboration like never before. New relationships are resulting in advancements in the wellness space. With this increasingly collective mindset, the wellness consumer needs to be viewed differently than decades before. A ‘sold separately’ mentality is no longer the way forward. The wellness consumer is one customer, demanding 360-degree support, across all critical facets of their life. This shift is generating tremendous opportunity on many levels, yet it requires a massive reframing of perspective for hoteliers who offer wellness products and services.
As a hotelier, where should you start?
Wellness is a lifestyle
If you are committed to wellness, you must embed it into the DNA of your property.
Examine every department within your hotel, not just the spa and fitness center. And don’t forget about back of house—your team and your internal processes are as important, if not more, than the intended front-of-house delivery.
The devil is in the detail: Meaningful commitments, exquisitely executed, go a long way. It does not have to cost you a fortune.
Know your business and your guest: Do not abandon what is already working for you, but consider whether it’s time to stop what you’re doing now or take it to the next level.
Remember that people are drawn to places where they can make self-care a regular and meaningful part of their lives; wellness is now a daily practice, and spa services aren’t reserved just for special occasions.
As such, convenience, affordability and accessibility are key. We prioritize usage and engagement over ticket price. A few quick tips:
- Say goodbye to the standard 9 a.m.-6 p.m. hours of spa operation and fixed-pricing models. These practices are not based on guest needs nor do they optimize your operation.
- Innovate services and programming that surprise and delight guests and make them available when guests want it.
- If the guests don’t come to you then why not bring wellness to the guests? Limiting your wellness offering to the four walls of your dedicated spa space is a mistake.
Create space for social wellness to compliment individual wellness
Community experiences such as group fitness classes, mind-body programming, workshops, events, wellness demonstrations and more offer a powerful way to bring people together and drive loyalty attributed to the cultivation of memorable experiences.
On the other hand, personal one-on-one offerings are a very specialized business. If you don’t have the expertise on your team, don’t sell this experience. Relying less on a one-to-one, provider-to-guest ratio will have a major impact on your labor costs and your bottom line.
Group business eases the pressure on peak demand times and capacity issues in the spa environment if you’re reliant on treatment room revenue alone.
Develop your strategy, prioritize your team and engage with expert partners
Develop your strategy. Do not just keep doing what you have always done. For example, the traditional approach most hotel and resort spas and fitness centers take is body care, through services like massage and cardio fitness programming. What if your entry point was the mind instead of the body? What would your offering look like then?
Identify your internal resources, cross-train, coach and develop them. Look for partnerships—like the one Hyatt Hotels Corporation recently forged with Headspace—as ways to elevate your offerings, and remember that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites meditation as the fastest-growing health trend in America.
Jennifer Findlay is the founder of Core Essence, a Design and Consulting Firm specializing in Spa & Wellness. Core Essence works within and beyond the traditional spa environment with an approach that examines design, development and ongoing operations concurrently. A member of the Global Wellness Institute’s preferred consultants and the International Society of Hospitality Consultants, Jennifer can be contacted at Jennifer@coreessence.ca.
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