The spa industry has come a long way in recent years, gaining market share and respectability along the way and yet, it is still in itself considered a trend by many. To those of us in the industry it is in fact, a profitable business that is sustainable and more to the point, adds incremental revenue to the bottom line. Add to this the fact that spa is also rooted in ancient philosophy, and you have a business that will increase the value of your asset, and is sexy enough to appeal to the consumer on a level they understand, be it relaxation, instant gratification or lifestyle change.
Spa, now a billion dollar industry in the US, still has a way to go before it stabilizes. Consequently, there are many opportunities for hotel operators to position them selves at the forefront of the industry as it begins to settle and even out. It is no longer a competitive advantage to simply be in the spa business. Both operators and investors now have many decisions to make about the segment they wish to compete in and the guest they wish to target.
Spas and spa- related services are generating mass-market appeal while at the same time developing a sophisticated consumer who frequents spas and seeks a particular experience. This experienced spa consumer, frequently found in the luxury segment, makes travel and wellness decisions based on larger lifestyle and individual needs. While this segment is growing more and more aware of lifestyle wellness spas, the broader population is being introduced to spa services through the resort industry, the cruise ship industry and the local day spa. Because guests' spa needs shift and develop as they begin to become more comfortable in a spa environment, it is evident that each segment of the spa industry feeds the others leading to the conclusion that hotel companies can be in all of the spa markets in the same way they operate in various hotel markets.
This move towards a more segmented spa industry can be helpful in defining and adding to the brand positioning of the hotel. Mainstream spa goers can easily identify the difference between destination spas, resort spas and day spas. Establishing the hotel alliance to one or the other clearly defines who you are and what your spa objectives are. Today's trends diversify the spa world creating a clear connection to the hotel property. As spas manifest into hybrid spas created for niche markets, a thread of continuity emerges that links each of the properties within the portfolio.