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19 Jan 2018 Spa Business Handbook
 

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Spa Business Handbook - Group Effort

Industry insights

Group Effort


Susie Ellis reports on a series of key spa and wellness subsector initiatives, born out of a collaboration of leaders at the Global Wellness Summit

Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Inc
Forum facilitators wrap up the 2014 sessions
Hot Springs Forum – new research shows that the sector is worth US$50bn
Spread the word about wellness tourism said delegates in the Wellness Tourism Forum
Delegates said ‘yes’ to Global Wellness Day – a campaign to encourage healthier lifestyles

Each year the Global Wellness Summit (GWS) holds a number of forums dedicated to spa/wellness industry subsectors, covering areas from education to hydrothermal standards. These forums bring together colleagues and competitors alike to discover what they can accomplish as one.

In this article, I give a snapshot of the forums from the most recent Summit (2014) and explain how the action items identified are being addressed. I also summarise how some forums have blossomed into all-year wellness initiatives, thanks to the launch of the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), an umbrella organisation formed to underwrite research for, and promote, the wider wellness industry. In addition, I spotlight other exciting GWI initiatives.

Spa Education Forum evolves into GWI Career Development Initiative
At the 2014 Global Spa Education Forum, three initiatives to develop the industry’s workforce were unveiled.

A Global Mentorship Pilot Program launched, pairing spa managers with experienced industry professionals for three months of one-on-one education. Progress has been strong and the first two pilots (January-March and April-June 2015) matched 17 mentors across 12 nations to 35 mentees. Applications for the 2016 programme are now open and the goal is to match 150 mentees with 50 mentors. Those interested should email jean-guy@tiptouch.com.

A Global Internship Program was also revealed, given that our industry woefully lags behind others on this front. Many campaigns are planned to get more interns into wellness businesses, including a Global Spa & Wellness Job Shadow Day.

The third initiative includes the creation of website and PR/social media campaigns which promote spa/wellness careers. This will be in place by the 2015 summit in November in Mexico City.

Since then, the Spa Education Forum has evolved into the all-year-long GWI Career Development Initiative. The goal is for it to reach far beyond spa management, addressing career development for the whole wellness pipeline, including therapists and fitness and wellness tourism professionals.

Hot Springs Forum plans a user guide
GWI research released at the 2014 Global Hot Springs Forum revealed that thermal/mineral springs represent a US$50bn industry, with 27,000 establishments across 100 nations (see p66). Presentations on the growing hot springs markets of Chile, Mexico, France, Morocco, Japan, New Zealand and Peru followed.

In a debate delegates agreed that broadcasting the medical evidence for water cure programmes is key for sector development – especially focusing on the wide-ranging €9.5m worth of studies from the French Association of Thermal Research. Increasing the database on, and outreach to, global geothermal facilities will also continue.

This year, the Hot Springs Forum became a GWI initiative and a User’s Guide To The World’s Geothermal Mineral Waters to educate consumers about real mineral/hot springs is planned. The publication will also form the bedrock for broadcasting the health benefits of natural therapeutic waters from nations worldwide.

Wellness Tourism Forum: component of a successful GWI focus
The first Global Wellness Tourism Forum was held in 2014, where the GWI released data on this buzzed-about travel segment: now a US$494bn global market, growing 12.7 per cent annually.

Public and private stakeholders acknowledged a need for country- and destination-specific definitions of wellness tourism, more campaigns on the affordability of wellness travel and more data quantifying its economic benefit to governments. Ongoing year-round educational events, including the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC) which launched in 2013, has led to hundreds of articles promoting the value of wellness tourism in major media worldwide, firmly placing this travel segment on the map.

In November the GWI signed an agreement with the UNWTO to jointly implement projects to bring wellness tourism increased recognition. It also organised the first wellness tourism programme at the World Travel Market and is planning something similar at other international travel conferences. In addition, there will be six regional GWTC events in 2016.

Workplace Wellness Forum: springboard for major research
GWI research in 2014 revealed that workplace wellness is a US$40.7bn global market, but one largely unexploited by the spa industry. So the first Workplace Wellness Forum was held.

Participants received a crash course in how forward-thinking companies are building cultures where wellness is an integral part of business growth strategy and everyday practices. Those involved in the forum identified five action items that would most help make the spa/wellness industries more credible to employee wellness partners: from intensely promoting the medical evidence of modalities like massage, and meditation, to partnering with other organisations such as the World Economic Forum’s Workplace Wellness Alliance.

Corporate Wellness will be the focus of GWI’s research initiative this year: a much-needed analysis of what makes a truly ‘well’ workplace culture. Findings will be presented at the summit in November.

Inaugural Wellness Communities & Real Estate Forum
At the 2014 summit, the GWI also released research sizing the wellness living market: a US$100bn real estate niche roaring back post-recession. A new panel on Wellness Real Estate explored how profound and comprehensive the new wellness cities and homes are compared with the old spa real estate: tackling many passive wellness building features, like optimised air, water and lighting.

The panel, comprising Paul Scialla (Delos Well Building® Standard), Steve Nygren (Serenbe wellness community, USA) and Susan Harmsworth (ESPA International), identified some key future trends, including: satellite wellness cities/developments on the outskirts of towns serving as refuge from urban stress/pollution; vertical communities/micro-communities within cities; and virtual communities that connect as much digitally and physically.

The GWI is now launching a Wellness Living Initiative, to gather global leaders in the wellness real estate space to explore how this new sector can improve community health. The initiative, and another forum, is set for the 2015 summit.

Destination Spa Forum embraces Global Wellness Day
Last year, marked the third Destination Spa Forum gathering. Participants identified diverse steps to educate the world on the unique value of lifestyle-change-focused wellness retreats, including creating satellite and online community education centres to reach a mass audience.

But most energy was focused around Global Wellness Day, led by Belgin Aksoy, the creative director of resort management company Richmond International. Held on the second Saturday every June, the day encourages people to make healthy lifestyle changes and the GWI has now made it an official initiative.

Hydrotherapy Standards Forum prompts first GWI publication
The focus of the Hydrothermal Spa Forum was the launch of the Guide To Hydrothermal Spa Development Standards which outlines health, safety and development guidelines for hydrothermal areas: one of the most technically complex elements of any spa.

The publication, first proposed at the 2009 summit, was jointly written by top equipment suppliers in the industry.

Forward Progress – and more initiatives – for the GWI
The first GWS in 2007 was a rather intimate affair. But in seven short years it’s become a premier gathering of global industry leaders and helped spur the formation of the GWI.

The growth of the spa industry remains front-and-centre for the GWS and GWI, but both are now attracting interest from many other sectors, like the medical, scientific, technology, workplace wellness and architecture/design worlds. Collectively, they all want to Build a Well World and it’s this topic that is the theme for the 2015 summit.

While summit-born forums focused on education, hot/mineral springs and wellness living have blossomed into GWI initiatives, others are in the works. One will advocate for ‘ministers of wellness’ at a governmental level. Also in its first year, is an African Initiative focused on developing the continent’s spa sector. Under development is a Philanthropy Initiative which will champion the global health of water, as well as initiatives dedicated to medical tourism, wellness technology, mindfulness and the science of wellness. Most of these initiatives will have launched by the November summit, where agenda programming will address each one of them.

The original ‘spirit of the summit’ – which sees spa/wellness leaders selflessly strategise for the good of our greater industry and the people we serve – is alive and well. But that mission, and the industries and people it touches, will expand in 2015 and beyond.

2015 Summit & White Papers

• The 2015 Global Wellness Summit (see p352) will be held in Mexico City on 13-15 November.

• To view the 2014 GWS forum white papers or for information about new GWI initiatives visit: www.globalwellnesssummit.com

 



The 2015 Global Wellness Summit will be held in Mexico City

About the author
Susie Ellis is chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute, and heads up the organisation’s annual Global Wellness Summit. She’s also president of Spafinder Wellness 365, where she directs the company’s annual Spa and Wellness Trends Forecast.

Email: susie.ellis@globalwellnessinstitute.com

Twitter: @susieellis

Tel: +1 212 716 1212


Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2015 issue 1

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