My favorite session at the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference here in New York was the one given by Eva Jensch, a spa consultant from California who has been in the industry almost as long as I have and has probably worked in more “emerging markets” than anyone I know. She presented a sort of “What’s Happening Around the World” for the spa industry. Because that is also one of my interests, I found her presentation fascinating. Here are some snippets from her presentation:
A new Chiva-Som will open in downtown Bangkok
Hyatt Pure will open 16 new spas in Asia in the next three years – 12 will be in China
Cambodia’s emerging spa industry incorporates healing traditions outlined on the walls of ancient temples
Buddha Bar in Paris is opening its first spa
There is a spa in London called “The Womb Room”
Spas are springing up in Croatia, Bulgaria, and Hungary
In Dubai’s project called “The World” (a group of 300 manmade islands that is shaped like the seven continents), the entire island representing Thailand will be a Thai-themed residential spa program called The Jasmine Spa Garden
There is talk of creating a Biosphere Spa with various biospheres in the desert in Dubai
Six Senses is opening a Souk-like spa in Doha
Banyan Tree is building the largest wave pool in the world in Bahrain
Banyan Tree is also opening a spa/hospital hybrid in Kuwait
Six Senses is building a spa where guests arrive on a paraglider
In Peru, a spa is being built out of a renovated convent built on a cemetery
Sofitel is expanding their Le Spa brand with an opening in Colombia
A new destination spa on the west coast of Africa will cater to people of color from all over the world
There are spas now planned for Uganda, Mozambique (will have an ice pool), and Ethiopia, where a 10,000-square-foot spa – the country’s first – will open soon
But her most memorable description was of a spa in Israel that will be using snakes in massage rituals. She was not talking snake oil – she was talking real-life (non-poisonous) snakes!
Yesterday I attended the International Esthetics, Cosmetics & Spa Conference in New York’s Jacob Javits Center. In the afternoon I spoke on the panel entitled “Residential Spa Market Update.” Andrea Foster, who is the director of corporate strategy for Miraval Holding, LLC/Miraval, Life In Balance, was the other speaker.I think Andrea and I both felt that the audience was truly interested in this trend so it was a delight to share information.
The education one can receive at this conference is probably the best part of it.I was less impressed with the trade-show aspect – at least when it comes to spa.There are plenty of booths to visit if you are interested in hair, nails, beauty products, cosmetics, etc., but the spa portion of the show seems a bit downmarket except for a few vendors.Maybe I am getting spoiled.
On the other hand, I do feel that those of us who truly understand the spa industry are aware when the ambiance isn’t right.If you go into almost any spa these days, the area for hair and nail care feels, looks, sounds, and smells very different from the spa portion.Although it looked as though the conference planners made some effort to separate the two worlds, I don’t believe they were successful enough to satisfy serious spa professionals.I can only imagine the reaction of the medical doctors who attended the Medical Spa Conference education sessions and then perused the showroom floor.
USA Today shared Gerald Celente’s (Trends Journal) predictions of the top trends for 2007 in yesterday’s issue. Interesting that one of those trends is the same as what Spa Finder predicted for 2007 – a rise in medical tourism.
“American consumers will be “globetrotting to find the best prices for the best medical care,” seeking out overseas doctors to perform procedures not readily available or not covered by insurance. Celente calls this “medical outsourcing.”
“In 2007, more and more people will travel to another city, state or country for medical spa experiences, creating a new trend: medical tourism. A range of new technologies will attract these medical tourists – DNA analysis, for example, and new generations of anti-aging medicines, injectables and lasers. But another big draw will be cost. Squeezed by domestic health care costs, many Americans are going online and discovering global destinations that offer cutting-edge medical procedures for a fraction of the cost … often in beautiful, culturally rich locales like Bangkok, South Africa and India, to name a few.”
I think that when a trend gets noticed both inside and outside the spa industry, we can be quite sure that this trend is gathering steam.