SpaFinder® Wellness has recently revealed a preview of its 10th annual Trends Report, which forecasts top trends that will impact the spa and wellness industry and shape consumer experiences around the globe. We find this trend report very spot on and it’s a valuable analysis and reflection on the global spa industry, therefore we of course want to share Susie Ellis’ report.
Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder Wellness and industry expert, noted that when the company’s first trend report was issued a decade ago, the industry was in a different era. “A lot has happened in the world of spa and wellness these past 10 years,” said Ellis. “We think this forecast will make it startlingly obvious just how far the industry – and consumer expectations – have evolved from pampered indulgence to personalized, functional health and wellness.”
Each year the SpaFinder Wellness Trend Report is developed by company research analysts, led by Ellis who is also the Chairman and CEO of the Global Spa & Wellness Summit. The forecast is based on ongoing surveys with spa and wellness businesses and stakeholders around the globe, thousands of travel agents and hundreds of thousands of consumers.
In 2013 and beyond, what constitutes a true “vacation” will be redefined and “hospitality” will be rewritten. We’ll see an explosion of new “wellness everywhere” hotel chains and environments becoming more mainstream. In the past, gyms and spas have been positioned as mere amenities, but now these walls are being conceptually (and literally) broken down. Established hotel chains are re-branding around wellness and it’s not just about fitness. Customized food and beverage offerings (gluten-free and vegan menus) are becoming standard fare, and hotels are jumping into the juice-themed vacation frenzy.
The Mindfulness Massage
A creative blend of two effective approaches, mindfulness and bodywork, the “Mindfulness Massage” is a more profound experience that can help people relax more deeply and quickly. Rather than lying on the massage table with a mind full of chatter from the stresses of the day, the Mindfulness Massage uses breath work and techniques such as “body scans,” where attention is brought to every part of the body and the action of the therapists’ hands. This two-way symphony directed by a therapist who understands mindfulness offers guidance on how to take the massage to a new “mindful” level.
As modern-day humans become more cut off from nature, “earthing” specifically refers to the movement promoting direct contact with the earth’s electron-rich surface (walking barefoot, etc.). The premise is that “grounding” the body to the earth’s surface stabilizes natural electrical rhythms and reduces disease-causing inflammation. While we expect to see more of this formal “earthing” at spas, we expect to see far more “nature grounding” in a wider sense. Think less background music with nature sounds and more real nature to help combat “Nature Deficit Disorder.”
Spa-Genomics…Telomeres and Beyond
Humans have 30,000 genes and a three billion-letter DNA code. The future of medicine is mining this information to identify breakthrough approaches to support a new age of predictive, personalized medicine grounded in each person’s unique genetic profile. The power of direct-to-consumer genomic testing lies in the potential to pinpoint which diseases/issues could be forestalled by specific lifestyle changes. It’s easy to see how the spa industry is a natural benefactor of this development, but perhaps no genomic breakthrough holds such profound implications for the spa industry than telomeres: the only malleable part of DNA, which some studies are showing can be repaired by stress-reduction, exercise, sleep, healthier food and meditation.
Authentic Ayurveda and Other Ancient Revivals
Expect more aggressively-authentic and comprehensively-executed global wellness experiences at spas with a distinctly ancient look, feel and language – and a far more expansive, exotic menu of wellness traditions. Best known is the 3,500-year-old, Indian-born Ayurveda, a complex medical system identifying imbalances in a person’s “doshas,” and prescribing a personalized, detoxifying regime of diet change, exercise, meditation, massage and herbal medicine. But, we’ll also see more accent on the traditional Turkish and Roman baths, more traditional Russian banyas (with their birch-twig-thwacking venik experiences) and novel healing traditions – some in spaces with unique “ancient-hip” designs, others built on ancient spa sites or within reclaimed historic buildings.
In 2013 “self-expression” will be most intensely played out around COLOR. Because color is easily applied and relatively inexpensive, self-transformation will be painted on. Expect more in-your-face shades on hair and face from reverse ombre to neon lashes; more body art hitting bodies of every gender and age, performed at new, haute “tattoo spas”; and nail art will continue to ascend with less bling and more nuanced textures and designs from 3D art to freehand mini-paintings.
The future bodies welcomed at spas will look more like bodies in the real world. With more than one billion people who are formally “disabled” and a massively graying global population, the industry will shift focus from luxe-pampering to delivering wellness to persons of all age and ability levels. More people will look to spas to heal and keep bodies functional, whether through pain-relieving and mobility enhancing therapies, nutrition advice, or the right forms of “functional fitness” for those with physical limitations or special needs.
Label Conscious Fitness
The “name-brand” fitness wave has been around for decades. But today, as the fitness market expands as quickly as the world’s waistlines, an explosion of “fitness labels” distinguishes products and programs – and serves as a shortcut for instant recognition in an oversaturated market full of similar choices. From Yogalates and Piloxing to CrossFit and The Skinny Jeans Workout™, health and wellness have become the new luxury. Millions chase the “insider elite,” giving the fitness world a distinct fashion world vibe where consumers shop for the latest fitness craze just as they search for the newest designer purse.
Men: From Barbers to “Brotox”
Dramatically more men – from Beverly Hills, to Berlin, to Beijing – are having more serious “work” done at medspas and plastic surgery offices, as injectables, love handle remedies and advanced new surgery technologies make for little downtime and telltale scars. Men have different needs than women when it comes to face/body enhancements, desiring subtle, not overdone results. So look for far more spas to build out comprehensive, for-men “beauty” menus – male waxing and threading services and man-geared cosmetic procedures.
Where the Jobs Are
“High-tech” is a much-discussed job creation savior, but there has been little talk about the growing talent-needy, job-rich spa and wellness industry. With the $2 trillion-plus pan-wellness market (spanning fitness, alternative medicine, spa, etc.) continuing to grow, spas simply cannot find enough people (with the right skills) to fill spa management/director or therapist jobs. This need promises to expand in years ahead as the world continues its shift from a manufacturing to a service economy – and people, health care institutions and governments recognize the effectiveness of spa/wellness programs and experiences.
The full 60+-page report, including an analysis of factors influencing each trend and examples of early trend adopters, will be released on January 15, 2013. For more information: www.SpaFinder.com.