4 Ways the Wellness Industry can Seize the Opportunities Ahead
By Jean-Paul Blissett
Wellness in its broadest definition, one could argue, is about finding “space” in our lives to think and make those important health choices – physical, mental, and spiritual.
Thanks to digital transformation and new consumer demographics, this definition is rapidly evolving in a myriad of complex ways. Wellness is constantly expanding as it seeks to incorporate new treatments and ever more sophisticated technologies that offer greater personal choices and help people achieve a more rounded state of well-being.
This rapid rate of change not only presents some critical challenges for spa operators and suppliers, but also some fantastic opportunities. Underpinning this is how the benefits of wellness are disseminated to a broader market via the different spaces and places customers inhabit, so that it becomes woven into the fabric of life – wherever we live, shop, relax and eat, within our communities.
So, how can we navigate these challenges and capitalise on the opportunities to lead the way in wellness for the future? By way of illustration, here are four ways we can seize the opportunities ahead.
1. Resist Fads
As this global market evolves in new directions and the pressure mounts for operators to “get their share of the cake,” the industry is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success, slavishly following fads that deliver neither results nor meaning to its customers. Some notable examples include things such as “Bird Poo Facials” and “Beer Bathing.” They may well make a great headline – but do your customers really care?
The reality is, the customer base is becoming ever more informed and educated about their choices, demanding integrity, authenticity, and a results-driven approach. They will quickly see through gimmicks.
2. Remember Context is King
In a world of constant change, it’s more important than ever that we don’t innovate for the sake of innovation. All too often, design elements and services are incorporated due to “benchmarking” other facilities. What’s right for your spa won’t necessarily be appropriate for another. Any innovation must form part of an overall philosophy and vision that delivers a clear and easily communicable offer to the customer – not just another “bolt-on”.
A countryside hotel leisure spa might be the ideal place for relaxation, pampering massages and beauty aligned to the hotel offer and positioning; on the other hand, an urban day spa has the opportunity and flexibility to provide a broad range of integrated wellness services. Fundamentally, every service and product must be well-considered and relevant to the target audience, within a given context.
3. Ask yourself: are you a specialist or a generalist?
In this world of ever-increasing choice, delineating your identity as a wellness space has never been more important. Avoid the relentless industry debate about “tags” and accept that we all fall under the wellness umbrella. What we need to do now, is be more clear about what we’re offering – in the same way that fast food to fine dining spaces all coexist and promote their specialties under the “restaurant” banner.
Are you more of a lifestyle health club and spa with extensive thermal facilities like One Spa? Are you a true destination health resort with holistic/medical services like Chiva-Som – or a niche market player like Gazelli House? Maybe you’re a unique retail skincare and wellbeing concept – or like Cloud Twelve, a wellness and lifestyle facility extending over three floors with a holistic wellness clinic, nutritionally focused brasserie, an indulgent spa, interactive play and learn zone for families with children and luxury salon – all under one roof.
4. Above all, return to your roots
As important as it is to pivot to the needs of your customer, it’s as equally fundamental that you adhere to the key values that make your space successful.
Step away from the daily grind and take the time to question what you’re really good at, how you define wellness and how you can amplify this in a targeted way.
Hotel spas already provide “relaxation” and social interaction as part of their core offer. Given the rise in obesity, sleep disorders and mental health issues, services that address these could also be adopted easily, whether as a full service or through elements that can educate and lend encouragement for people to explore.
As more people jump on the Wellness bandwagon, we as an industry need not only to grasp those opportunities, but also to guard against it becoming a passing fad. As someone who has worked in the industry for many years, working on projects as diverse as destinations spa, hotels, resorts, cruise ships, later living, retail spas and restaurants, I have never been more excited about the opportunities opening up for operators, designers, suppliers and hoteliers alike.
To make the most of these opportunities “Know yourself, know your customer” – avoid gimmicks and maintain a clear sense of vision. If we can do that, I believe that together, we can lead the way in the success of the wellness industry for the future and strive to make a real difference to people’s lives.
Link to UK Spa Association: http://spa-uk.org/index.php/community/news-blog/4-ways-the-wellness-industry-can-seize-the-opportunities-aheadback to news