THE Shape of Spa TO COME

Jon Flobrant

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, exciting advances were being made within the industry. Now, where standing out from the crowd is more important than ever, these trends have become more vital. We got the lowdown on the trends set to shape the spa market in 2021 during the World Spa & Wellness conference online in March, where leading spa experts from around the world gathered virtually to share their innovations, and how they have been adapting their businesses. This culminated in an in-depth white paper outlining the changes spa managers needs to make this year to thrive in an ever-changing market. Here are some highlights…

1 Touchless experiences

Self-guided treatments: Tina Seetaram, spa, wellness and boutique manager at Tamassa Resort in Mauritius, has introduced hour-long DIY treatments with pre-equipped amenities and a 15-minute pre-treatment initiation based on each client’s health questionnaire. The Accor group has similarly introduced Self-Guided Thermal Journeys. Both places noted the lower labour cost model as a benefit.

In-room innovations: Wellness is no longer confined to the spa and can now be seamlessly incorporated into a guest’s entire stay. In-room innovations include sleepaiding acupressure point cards (seen at Ritz Carlton, Vienna, Austria), Technogym bags and mindfulness videos available through guest televisions (at RoccoForte Spas, Italy).

Incorporate your surroundings: Entre Cielos Luxury Wine Hotel & Spa in Argentina now offers touchless guided walks, which incorporate QR codes that provide vital information on its award-winning gardens of native plants, as well as the “Vita Parcours” exercise circuit around the property.

Meanwhile, Farris Bad Spa in Norway uses the healing properties of its water springs (where the nation’s best-selling mineral water is sourced), as well as local art galleries, forests and beaches; and JW Venice Spa in Italy has capitalised on its private island status by moving many activities outdoors, rebranding the experience as “escape from the everyday”.

2 Marketing personalised experiences

Isolated treatments: At MYSPA and Espace Beaute in France, only eight guests are allowed in at a time and are treated in separate cabins. For Seaham Hall in County Durham, several relaxation areas have been refurbished, including individual water beds with floor-to-ceiling drapes, which spa manager Amanda Hardy says allow a “deep state of relaxation without fear”.

Customisation: Anna Coelho, director of spa, RoccoForte Spas Italy, noted the importance of matching the right guest with the right therapist, and allowing the guest to choose who they are seen by when booking. Meanwhile, JW Venice Spa has introduced complete freedom over music choice during treatments, massages or activities.

Mental wellbeing: Hardy is focusing on mental health at Seaham Hall as a means of enriching the spa visit, offering guests supplementary sessions from an in-house hypnosis expert. Additionally, two team members completed a Level 2 mental health course over lockdown, meaning a more professional ability to deal with clients’ and fellow team members’ personal issues if raised.

3 Recovery and immunity-based treatments

Injury recovery: Both Emlyn Brown, global vice president of wellbeing at Accor, and Seaham Hall’s Hardy predict a surge in movement and fitness recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic, and are planning to implement injury clinics and body assessments through in-house experts.

CBD oil: This is an international market that has been rapidly growing for years. Many spa managers, such as Madeleine Colling at Canvas Aesthetics in South Africa, are incorporating pure CBD Oil into their spa’s treatments and massages for its proven wellness benefits.

Preventative wellness: Tamassa Resort has increased its focus on preventative wellness, with initiatives including a “Grandma’s Garden”, consisting of more than 50 types of beneficial plant, having recently collaborated with a local entrepreneur who has added 24 varieties of local tisane.

4 Targeting local markets

Staycations – Among others, Coelho of RoccoForte Spas Italy is preparing for an increase of “staycations” and “daycations”, specifically offering discounted rates and dining offers for locals. For Tamassa Resort’s Feel Home, Feel Safe campaign, its new two-day staycation journey focuses on mental and physical wellness and runs from 10am–4pm.

Local partnerships: Ritz Carlton in Vienna has partnered with other non-competitive local businesses, such as high-end hair salons, to help build a more robust customer relationship management (CRM) strategy through an understanding of the local market. Meanwhile, Seaham Hall partnered with the local trust to target the entire East Durham community.

Office wellness: Tamassa Resort has introduced after-lunch breaks, where co-workers from local companies are offered a five-hour spa and wellness experience at affordable prices with a 10-person minimum, covering laughter therapy, aquafit and hydro jets. Meanwhile, Kempinski Hotel in Oman has also offered corporate gym and pool memberships by sharing newsletters to local HR offices, achieving a reach of more than 6,000.

These are just a few trend snippets from the World Spa & Wellness white paper on “The Future of Spa and Wellness: the Spa Manager’s Guide to Navigating Covid-19 with Best Practices from Around the World”. You can download the full, in-depth report, which covers key topics including how to care for and motivate spa teams; bringing guests back safely and happily; and driving engagement from online to onsite, at professionalbeauty.co.uk/wswwhitepaper