Recently, I attended an all-day symposium for the spa industry. Being a yearly event, each year a different theme is chosen. This year health and wellness was the topic since that is an area that is really trending.
Many of the names associated with high-end luxury in the spa industry were in attendance; Four Seasons, Canyon Ranch, and other well recognized names. The discussions revolved around the public's desire to achieve health and wellness and how the spa industry is changing to accommodate those desires. The public is increasingly concerned in not just exterior wellness and beauty but the wellness and beauty that lies within; having a spiritual mind and a healthy body. The spas are changing to cater to what the public wants. Many larger "destination" spas are bringing exterior and interior health and beauty together. These larger destination spas have amazing facilities that boast staff well-trained in the areas of nutrition, exercise, yoga, meditation, as well as treatments on their menus that would knock your socks off! Their grounds are well-maintained, creating serene, lush spaces that incorporate nature into every aspect of the experience.
"This is all consumer driven", says one of the speakers, "Our clients are asking for it". Yes, it is consumer driven indeed, and the spas are delivering. One by one the speakers talked about the wonderful changes that are occurring in their facilities so as to create a more 'natural' environment. One by one they spoke about the dramatic shift in philosophy within the entire spa industry. Slides were flashed onto a screen of beautiful grounds with incredible pools, amazing structures with equally impressive treatment rooms. It was all so beautiful, so one with nature … or was it?
As the day wrapped up and we said our good byes, the topics discussed throughout the day filled my mind. I continued to think about the topic of health and wellness, the speakers, the push to incorporate nature into the entire spa experience, the desire to make it a more natural experience because this is what the consumers want. But something just didn’t feel right, something was off, something was missing. The more I thought, the more it bothered me until it suddenly occurred to me what it was. All of the presentations that were so informatively and thoughtfully delivered, all of the beautiful slides that showed amazing facilities costing large dollars to build with the goal being to give the consumer an experience that incorporates health and wellness, every aspect of the spa experience was addressed to achieve that end, except one.
Perhaps the one most important component of the entire spa experience was missing. This one component, no one talked about. What about the actual products that are being used on the client’s skin during the treatments? No one had even mentioned the products that come directly in contact with their clients. Most of these products that they are massaging into the skin of their clients are far from natural and do not promote health and wellness. Today, 75 percent of people are more conscious of the products that they use than five years ago. Consumers are educated, they are checking labels. They want products, in all areas of their lives, that are pure and natural. Just what are they putting onto your skin at some of these spas?
This idea of health and wellness is truly consumer driven and nothing changes until the consumer demands that it change. In this case water flows up in that I have noticed this change happening in the smaller spas because their clients are asking for it and the smaller spas are listening. Perhaps it is because the smaller spas form close relationships with their clients because of repeat business. These smaller boutique spas are concerned about what they are using on their client’s skin, because they feel a personal responsibility to care for their clients. I am hoping, as the consumers ask, that the larger spas and resorts will listen and the idea of full health and wellness in all areas of the spa experience will be commonplace.