20 Oct 2018 Spa Business Handbook
 

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Spa Business Handbook - Industry Predictions

Industry Insights

Industry Predictions


International spa and wellness professionals, working in various industry sectors, give their views on the industry and report back on major trends

Jane Kitchen, Spa Business


Industry insights Africa

 

Mike Wallace
 
Mike Wallace President Mike Wallace Consulting

My earliest memory is swinging from a rope into hot springs outside Lusaka, Zambia in a place called the Monkey Pools. The Great Rift Valley cuts down the spine of Africa, dividing itself into two branches. Countries in and on either side of this valley are regions of intense geothermal activity – Ethiopia and Kenya in particular.

The Kenyan Rift Valley lakes are abundant with thermal water; Lake Bogoria boasts more than 200 springs, Lobura is known for its geysers, and Magadi is known for its saline waters and famous flamingos.

In Ethiopia, many hot springs have been developed into pools and leisure facilities, while in other countries such as Mozambique, Tanzania and Zambia, these hot springs are still in their natural state.

Thermal tourism in Africa is an untouched resource; many hot springs have the added benefit of being situated near national parks and can be combined with safaris. Zambia is blessed with both springs and the world’s best game parks. I have a geological survey from 1974 lying on my desk with an analysis of 52 Zambian hot springs – the most famous, Kapishy, is situated on the grounds of Africa’s only stately home ‘Shiwa Ngandu’, from which the book The Africa House was written.

On my last visit to Zambia, we stopped at the side of the road at Chinyunyu Hot Springs. A woman was washing her clothes in the boiling hot water. I explained to her that in Europe, around such a spring there would be spa towns and hotels. She looked at me as if I was mad.

The potential for Africa’s hot springs is huge, not just for leisure, but also, with the world’s ageing population seeking sun and recuperation, adapting the traditional European concept to offer thermal-water-based physical rehabilitation for age-related mobility conditions.


“Thermal tourism in Africa is an untouched resource; many hot springs have the added benefit of being situated near national parks and can be combined with safaris”

 


shutterstock By Anton Ivanov

There is potential for Africa’s hot springs to offer thermal water rehabilitation therapies

Industry insights Africa

 

Andrew Gibson
 
Andrew Gibson Wellbeing expert

In the coming years, a combination of factors will come together to provide a pivotal shift in the way society behaves when it comes to wellness. These factors include: the continuing education and research into the benefits of healthy lifestyles; scientific and financial evidence of the cost benefits of prevention rather than cure; a failure of many healthcare systems; increased media coverage on wellness; an increased supply of healthy food, exercise programmes and environments to encourage positive lifestyle; increasing stress from disparity in wealth; the increasing role of technology; government support of wellness programmes; and personal choice factors by a growing segment of the public – which now exceeds the tipping point.

There is a certain trepidation about the value of wellness to hotels, but after 30 years working in the hospitality business, I’m optimistic that a fundamental change is about to happen.

The change is that wellness will influence design, movement and guest services within hotels. Hotels will think about all aspects of the guest experience; in addition to thoughtful design, we’ll also see an executive manager who is responsible for programmes and activities that unite guests, employees and the local community with services built around wellness.

We are at the experimental stage, and within the next five years, new wellness brands will emerge to provide places of lodging that replace the current homogeneous big chains.


“Wellness will influence design, movement and guest services within hotels”

 



In the coming years, hotels will think about wellness in all aspects of the guest experience

Industry insights latin america

 

Adriana Azuara
 
Adriana Azuara Founder and CEO ALL4SPAS

Latin America is an emerging region, and the wellness tourism industry there is growing fast. In 2017, Mexico had more than 39 million foreign tourists, and according to the Latin American Spas Association, the health tourism and wellness sectors grew at an economic rate of 12 per cent.

International tourists are looking for luxury adventures and unique experiences, while the younger generations are looking to connect with nature and their inner selves. For these reasons, spas in Latin America and Mexico are focusing on combining traditional medicine and treatments with high-tech luxury and innovation.

Traditional medicine incorporating botanical medicine, nutrition, physiotherapy, energetic rituals, harmonisation with the environment, and intuitive ceremonies to reconnect with nature can be successfully adapted to spa culture. Moreover, wellness centres in the region are embedding organic aspects of traditional medicine into their design and architecture by respecting and incorporating natural elements and the traditions of endemic cultures. Culinary experiences that reflect the traditions of the culture complete the experience.

In the public sector, institutions are implementing programmes and certificates incorporating traditional elements in an effort to boost physical and mental health. However, we must continue to strengthen education and formal training here; future generations will appreciate traditional wisdom only if we are willing to pass traditional knowledge on to new talent.

All of these factors will mean continuous growth for the region and more foreign investment in the wellness sector. International hotel brands are planning huge openings of luxury wellness centres in the coming years, and projects also are growing to bolster sustainable wellness communities that will combine traditional and modern medicine.


“Spas in Latin America are focusing on combining traditional medicine and treatments with high-tech luxury and innovation”

 



Traditional medicine incorporating botanics, nutrition, cermonies and energetic rituals will help guests connect to a sense of place

Industry insights India

 

Dr Abhishek Jain
 
Dr Abhishek Jain vice president of international operations WTS International

In recent years, well-designed children’s spas have opened worldwide in hospitality settings from New York to Bali. In India, New Delhi saw its first just-for-kids speciality salon open just a couple of years ago.

Urban Indian society is witnessing a sharp drift from ‘joint families’ to ‘nuclear’ families. Adolescent kids are in a situation where on the one hand, their growing bodies require adequate rest, and on the other hand, they face severe stress due to family tension, parental and peer pressure, social media and school curriculum, leading to multiple problems – including not getting enough sleep.

Spas can cater to this market, and help this generation deal with the pressures of modern-day life. Children have an unconscious response to stressful circumstances. Strengthening resilience – the ability to overcome serious hardship – is vital in dealing with stress in kids. It has been proven that regular exercise and relaxation practices help build self-regulation skills, thereby improving a child’s ability to handle stress. Further, studies have shown that aromatherapy can significantly reduce the pain score (post-operative) in hospitalised children.

Kids between the age of 12 and 17 are keen to experience spas that are specially designed with them in mind. These teens will soon be the new customers, and this presents a really exciting trend over the next three to five years.

These factors strongly indicate a future ‘need’ and an emerging opportunity for kids’ spas in India. There will be an obvious need for a bubbly and casual feel in these settings.

Programmed well, these spas can be a family wellness affair, and could include parent-child treatments, child psychologists, aquatics and yoga, healthy cooking lessons and kid-focused light spa treatments.


“Kids between the age of 12 and 17 are keen to experience spas that are specially designed with them in mind”

 



Spas in India can help the younger generations deal with stress

Industry insights family wellness

 

Christine Clinton
 
Christine Clinton Chair Wellness for Children

The opportunity for families and younger guests to spend time in our spas and wellness centres is increasing.

We know that our children and young adults are just as stressed as we are as parents, and families are expressing interest in connecting in a more meaningful and healthy way. Gone are the days that dad plays golf, mom goes to the spa and the kids go to the activities centre.

There is an increase in awareness of the many benefits associated with families who participate in wellness activities together. From cooking and eating together, to experiencing relaxing, restorative therapies such as sound healing, mindfulness, yoga, qigong, or Pilates – families today are enjoying the pure bliss of inducing the relaxation response, together.

We know these wellness activities support family bonding and allow for deeper connection – without technology. Studies have shown the release of oxytocin and the reduction of cortisone improves our sense of wellbeing immediately. Encouraging mindful eating, enhanced sleep rituals and tender togetherness will become menu options at spas that wish to welcome families for a true family wellness experience. In our busy, often over-scheduled life, a wellness family retreat is the perfect answer.


“There’s an increase in awareness of the many benefits associated with families who participate in wellness activities together”

 


SIX SENSES yoga for kids

Spas like Six Senses are creating programming specifically for children

Industry insights nutrition

 

Bianca Alexander
 
Bianca Alexander Plant-based nutritionist and Emmy-Award winning host Conscious Living TV

The science is in: adopting a plant-based diet is clinically proven to reduce inflammation, prevent and often reverse chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, arthritis and osteoporosis. Recently, the World Health Organization even classified meat as a potential cause of cancer. And don’t be fooled by the protein myth. Leading nutrition scientists like Dr. T. Colin Campbell, author of bestselling book The China Study – which documented the largest epidemiological study ever conducted on the health impact of meat and dairy-driven diets – report that a balanced whole food, plant-based diet provides 10-12 per cent protein, just the amount of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA). The real danger for humans is consuming too much animal protein – specifically meat.

As a result of growing consumer awareness and concern over climate change, over the past three years there’s been an increase of 600 per cent in the US alone in the number of people choosing to adopt a vegan diet. To meet consumer demand, more healing destinations are realising the necessity of enhancing their current wellness offerings to include robust plant-based menu options and vegan detox programmes for health-conscious guests.

Making the switch to a healthier menu doesn’t mean giving up great taste. In our experience consulting with many 5-star wellness properties around the world, countless chefs fail to realise the simplicity of creating healthy and delicious alternative menus. Replacing tofu for meat and offering flavourless steamed vegetables will no longer suffice. Many wellness spas (and Michelin Star Chefs) are now making vegetables the stars of their dishes. Others are offering signature nut butters, dairy-free milks and smoothies, and building entire tasting menus with faux meats and gluten-free pastas, breads and pastries that have meat eaters clamoring for seconds.

With the tide of vegan luxury wellness travellers reaching a tipping point, properties that invest in a comprehensive and dynamic plant-based menu are sure to reap the rewards.


“There’s an increase in awareness of the many benefits associated with families who participate in wellness activities together”

 


shutterstock

Many Michelin Star Chefs are making vegetables the stars of their dishes

Industry insights UK

 

Liz Holmes
 
Liz Holmes Founder Commercial Spa Strategies

A visit to the spa, once considered a self-indulgent treat for the few, is becoming a legitimate way to promote good health and prevent disease for the many. This is particularly important in the UK, where the 2017 Public Health England study reports that while life expectancy has increased, so have the number of years spent in poor health. This is not just about physical wellbeing; more people are also reporting higher levels of stress and anxiety. With the NHS being stretched to capacity, people are recognising the importance of taking positive steps to manage their own health and wellness.

The successful spa of the future will have accessible and appealing facilities, easy-to-follow treatment menus, and highly trained staff who can offer massage for a wide range of health conditions. Unattainable fitness and beauty goals will be replaced by health-promoting and life-affirming experiences.

New developments in the UK include the expansion of The Massage Company, a franchise model that offers reasonably priced massage through a monthly membership. While similar businesses have taken off in the US, this is a new model for the UK, and is helping promote the benefits of regular massage for all.

The marriage of new public/private-funded facilities with prevention at their heart is another area ripe for growth; the Great Sankey Neighbourhood Hub in Warrington is a neighbourhood health and wellness centre that serves as a testing ground for the future of wellbeing. As well as fitness facilities, The Hub will also provide primary-care health services, spa facilities, a pharmacy and library. The facility is designed to create community engagement with wellbeing services, and to encourage an integrated approach where medical professionals can recommend massage, hydrotherapy or mindfulness as part of a health programme.

By developing more solutions to lifestyle-related health conditions, we can attract new people to the spa. Making the whole experience memorable with lasting health benefits is not only good for business, it’s good for everyone.


“By developing more solutions to lifestyle-related health conditions, we can attract new people to the spa”

 


PHOTO: shutterstock.com

Doctors will be able to recommend massage as part of a healthy lifestyle programme

Industry insights the united states

 

Claire Way
 
Claire Way Managing director Spa Strategy

There is no denying that the global wellness industry is changing and the marketplace in which we work has evolved. North American spas have seen a gradual change in the competitor set, with single-service sites gaining a foothold in market share, and now the competitive landscape is evolving again.

Fitness brands such as Equinox have entered the hospitality arena, co-working spaces such as We Work are competing for market share with day spas, Fortune 500 companies such as Google are looking at how they define their workplace wellness, and influencers are taking your consumers on retreats. Whether you consider them friend or foe, the landscape is changing.

With all these new entries to the field, spas are feeling squeezed. How do we stand out and capture the consumer who has access to apps, influencers and a toolkit of wellness information close to home? A popular path to brand awareness has been creating innovative programmes. Yet when this is also coupled with an authentic story a more compelling message is told – one that resonates with the consumer and builds corporate identity.

A good example is our client, Aulani Disney Resort. A brand that is renowned for storytelling didn’t choose the obvious message; instead, they built a compelling story centred on Hawaiian culture. For the spa, the rainbow was used because it is revered in Hawaiian history and culture. The message of the rainbow is woven throughout the spa, from stories passed through the generations and native rituals, to physical manifestations that represent the Hawaiians’ duality with nature. To compete in this increasingly crowded space, spas have to be both authentic and innovative.


“How do we stand out and capture the consumer who has access to apps, influencers and a toolkit of wellness information close to home?”

 



Aerial yoga at the Fairmont Princess Scottsdale helps the spa stand out

Originally published in Spa Business Handbook 2018 issue 1

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