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According to SpaFinder’s recently released fourth annual State of Spa Travel survey, travel agents report spa travel performed surprisingly well across a depressed economy in 2009, and is clocking measurable, if modest, growth for the first half of 2010.
A key finding: Despite the recovering economy, more than nine in 10 travel agents report that global hotel, resort and destination spas are actually offering more, or holding firm on, special deals and low pricing in 2010 compared with 2009. Additionally, the two most powerful consumer trends this year are an increased interest in vacations/travel with a specific health/wellness focus; and more “social spa-ing,” i.e., friends, groups and families traveling together to spas for special occasions or celebrations.
“Our survey provides further evidence that spa travel proved relatively resilient compared with other travel and hospitality sectors last year, and that the slowly recovering economy is having some positive impact in 2010,” noted Susie Ellis, president of SpaFinder. “It also confirms that spas’ ongoing attractive pricing, combined with their stronger focus on health and wellness offerings, are essentially the twin drivers of the industry’s strength.”
The SpaFinder survey was conducted with 250-plus global travel agents in July 2010. It’s designed to shed light on unfolding developments in the spa travel sector, including the health of the market, pricing, consumer adoption and demographics, and popular locations and amenities.
Despite a historically abysmal 2009 economy, roughly two in three agents (64%) reported no declines in spa travel bookings last year over 2008, with 26% reporting spa travel actually increased. (Only 11% cited “significant” decreases in 2009).