The Coaching Trend was one we predicted for our top 10 spa trend list for 2012 and indeed it turned out to be a big one. In fact, I just received an email from my colleague Kathryn Stolle referencing that trend and I thought you might enjoy some of what she said. Here is her introduction (you can read the rest in the comment after this blog post): “Ideas can be life changing – we all know that. But sometimes an idea or concept can have a profound impact on not just a single life, but in a chain reaction, on a number of lives. A year ago, Susie Ellis’ 2012 Spa Trends introduced a concept/trend that would change my life forever: wellness coaching.” So if I was to grade us on how we did on this trend prediction….I will take a modest A.“Health coaching,” “wellness coaching,” even “eyebrow coaching” — coaching is a concept gathering steam at spas, with new approaches ranging from the very serious…to the simply engaging and fun. Continue reading
Top Spa Awards
by Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Insider
Last night was a big night for us….we hosted our 2008 SpaFinder Readers’ Choice Award event at the new Guerlain Spa at the Waldorf=Astoria. It was thrilling to be able to present our awards to top spas from all over the world in this beautiful setting. It was truly exciting to welcome people who had flown in from Thailand, Malaysia, Germany, the UK, Singapore, Canada, Caribbean, Mexico, and Australia to receive the plaques and Crystal Globes we give to the winners. (You can see the names of all winning spas on the Spafinder website.)
A highlight of the evening was recognizing Deborah Szekely as the recipient of our 2008 Visionary Award. (Photo on the right.) A string of “firsts” was read and I think everyone who attended was quite taken by just how many aspects of the spa industry she has pioneered. Deborah is the founder of Rancho La Puerta in Mexico and the Golden Door in California and considered by many to be the “godmother” of the spa industry. She has just published a new cook book titled Cooking with the Seasons at Rancho La Puerta and is busy working on yet another book, Too Young to Get Old. One thing I regret from last evening – I forgot to mention her age – 86!
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Sooooo, instead we decided on a romantic weekend getaway (not on the motorcycle thank goodness). We chose the new Bedford Springs Resort which reopened in July after a two year refurbishment that cost around $125 million. They added a 30,000 square foot spa called Springs Eternal Spa.
It was a 5 hour drive from New York city and upon arrival we went straight to the spa for our Hydromassage appointments. Wow….I was really impressed. The facility, the tasteful decor, the treatments, the relaxation room, Veronique the spa manager (who paid attention to every detail), and especially the “baths” with fresh spring water.
And what a great idea to have a Walnut and Ginger Signature Scrub in the “experience showers” – stop1 in a 5-station bathing experience. You can use as much as you want and as you scrub your body with this great smelling product….your body becomes totally exfoliated before heading into the steam room. From there, the sequence follows with a cool rinse and a long soak in the spring water. This one brilliant idea makes the entire bathing circuit so much more valuable and makes the Bedford Springs Spa special, generous and unique. They are already sold out every weekend.
As a result of studying ISPA’s data for many years now and talking with some of their leaders recently, it is my understanding that their definition of spa changed in 2005 – a year after they released their 2004 Spa Industry Study. This is why ISPA went back and “re-weighted” the results from their 2004 Spa Industry report.
Remember, their 2004 Spa Industry Study showed spa industry revenues at $11.2 billion for the year 2003. When they decided on a narrower definition of spa in 2005 and actually executed a census (counting every establishment rather than taking a sample), they announced re-weighted updates on all of their numbers. This lowered the revenue figure considerably – by about $ 4.2 billion or 60%. In other words, what was initially reported as an $11.2 billion revenue figure for spas in 2003 was later changed to $7 billion for 2003. It would have helped (and would still help) to understand the first definition of spa and their revised, second definition which altered these results so dramatically. It is this narrower definition of spa which was used in the 2007 report, reflecting the notion that revenue figures are much more conservative than they once were.
Although this adjustment was announced briefly at one of their conferences and there is a one sentence footnote on the U.S. Spa Industry Figures stats sheet released on November 6, 2006 (and I believe it might have been provided with renewal of membership – though I did not notice it), I do think that it would have helped for this to be communicated more clearly and more often. Additionally, since their 2004 Spa Industry Study is still being sold on their website (and from what I understand it does not include the re-weighted numbers), it is understandable that this has caused some confusion in the marketplace.
The bottom line is that ISPA’s definition of what counts as a spa is narrower now than it used to be and narrower than how other people might define what counts as a spa. As a result we can expect some differences in industry statistics from various sources.
Tomorrow…let’s talk about the difference between spa revenue and spa industry figures.
*And just a reminder: these discussions are important and accuracy is important. Please chime in if you have additional information which will help us all understand our industry more clearly. Hit the “comment” button below.
News flash. The California WellBeing Institute – a brand new concept in medical wellness – is set to open November 29 in Westlake Village, California! USA Today called it “groundbreaking”. It includes a:
Diagnostic Medical Center
270-Room Luxury Hotel (Four Seasons)
It cost over $300 million and is the vision of health enthusiast David Murdock, chairman of the Dole Food Company, who is 83 years old.
It isn’t that we haven’t had bits and pieces of this idea before….Canyon Ranch, Pritikin, Cooper Wellness, Wellmax, Bumrungrad International in Bangkok, even Holistica (which had a similar concept when it opened but may have gotten a bit lost amid all the other offerings at the Hilton Hawaiian Village) have all offered various combinations of medical testing and spa. The California WellBeing Institute’s concept has some unique aspects that I think ensure its success.
1. It is paired with Four Seasons luxury accommodations
2. It is located near a very high-population area (L.A. County, home to almost ten million people), many of whom are affluent, aging, and in search of health and youthful longevity
3. It appears as if medical testing results can be almost immediate
I do not think the Institute’s concept will replace any of the medical/wellness combinations we already have, but it will add another option and hopefully help to spread the word that a medical spa vacation can be a very healthy choice. Some people will prefer to have their medical tests done in a destination spa environment (Canyon Ranch, Pritikin) where there isn’t as much temptation, costs will drive some to less luxurious facilities (Pritikin, Cooper Wellness, Bumrungrad), and some will want to have a golf option along with their testing (Wellmax, Holistica).
But there is one further assurance that this concept will work. After spending $300 million on a personal passion, there is no doubt in my mind that Murdock will make it work – even if it means spending a few million more.