Perspectives: Spa Industry Repositioning

By Web Editor | 05/25/2010 1:44:00 PM


The recession caused many luxury businesses to refocus themselves, and no where is that more true than the spa market where the days of strictly pampering are gone. We invited three industry notables to offer their perspectives on: “How should the spa industry reposition itself for future growth?”

Owners Melissa Brockelbank (left) and Angie Schirripa

Shelley Bawiec

Lynne McNees
Angie Schirripa
owner of HQ Salon and Spa in Portage, MI
WITH CURRENT TRENDS in the economy, the spa industry has to have the power to stay current, fresh and accessible. The key to this concept is strategic marketing through social media outlets and branding our services as a “need” instead of a luxury. We are moving our marketing efforts forward and we are incorporating responsible e-mail campaigns with savvy social networking. We have our clients and prospects sign up to take advantage of our e-mail promotions. This provides them a first-look, VIP invitation to our seasonal promotions and also gives us a clear indicator for marketing effectiveness.

Facebook “notifications” are providing us with the ability to quickly update our fans with any last minute deals, promotions, and education on the benefi ts of spa services. Overall, we have found that our ability to communicate with our guests via social media and online campaigns has resulted in an increase in the total number of services performed despite a sluggish economy.

Shelley Bawiec
director, spa sales and education for Aveda
GOING TO THE SPA is an extravagance and an indulgence—and fewer and fewer can afford it or have time for it these days. According to the Associated Body Workers and Massage Professional Survey in 2008, only 14 percent of respondents said they’d received a massage in 2008, and only 7 percent received a facial. The International Spa Association’s Global Consumer Study stated the top reasons that people give for not visiting a spa are that it is perceived as too expensive and time consuming. The numbers show a progressive decline in spa participation since 2006—proof that current spa pricing does not reflect consumer ability to pay and/or desire for convenience.

The future of spa depends on the industry’s ability to shift from the archetype of opulence to a paradigm of spa as integral to stress management and wellbeing maintenance. In order to remain relevant, the spa industry must adapt to offer affordable, convenient and results-driven treatments.

For example, à la carte services allow guests to customize their spa visit according to price and time. Series offerings have proved to be attractive in addressing the expectation of maximum benefit. Aveda has launched a program called “Beauty on Demand,” that teaches spas to use these strategies to rebuild their business and reconnect with guests. A change in the industry paradigm will result in a change in consumer perception of spa. If we offer affordable, results-driven treatments that guests may incorporate into their personal wellness regimes, we will become an essential part of their lives.

Lynne McNees
president of the International SPA Association
THIS INDUSTRY IS RESILIENT and it adapts quickly to what consumers demand. We’ve seen a real desire for spas to get back to the basics in these uncertain times. Spa menus have been simplified with treatments that have proven results. You won’t see treatment menus with 10 different facials or massages to choose from anymore. It’s all about a customizable experience tailormade to meet the customer’s needs.

The future growth of the industry will continue to be dependent on meeting the demands of spa-goers. Right now, the industry is responding by offering more 30-minute treatments. Spa sampling menus allow guests to try out several treatments, so they can find the right fit. Millennials are adopting the spa lifestyle and spas are realizing they have to change their marketing strategies to get them in the door. Social media is a great example of how many spas have crossed over into a new frontier by offering deals on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube.

We know the effects of stress can kill, and as long as there’s stress, there will be spas. In fact, according to ISPA’s research we know the number one reason people go to a spa worldwide is to reduce stress and relax. The spa industry’s proven message— going to a spa helps to learn how to manage stress—will continue to help move the industry forward.

Do you have a hot topic on which you’d love to see a cross-section of perspectives from the industry? Send it to Stacey Soble at and we’ll get the dialogue started.






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