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Moving Forward

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: November 29, 2010, from the December 2010 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

It’s hard to believe that we have another year under our belts and, fortunately, the industry is starting to see a faint glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel in 2011.

The spa industry definitely has taken a few hits, but has weathered the economic downturn by changing the way business is conducted. The International SPA Association (ISPA) recently released the ISPA 2010 U.S. Spa Industry Study, conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, which gives some solid insight into the state of the industry. According to the ISPA study, the spa industry has adapted to the economy by:

  • Maintaining the attractiveness of the spa offering—helping the consumer cope with the increased stress levels that have resulted from the recession;
  • Marketing and discounting to stimulate demand; and
  • Focusing on efficiency and costs to limit the impact of the downturn on the revenue side.

Spas are beginning to see an upturn in the numbers of visits from clients. According to the ISPA study, “When asked whether their spa had experienced an increase or decrease in visits by clients in the six months from September 2009 to March 2010, almost one in two spas (48%) reported an increase. This was nine percentage points in excess of the proportion saying they had seen a decrease (39%). The remaining 13% of spas said the number of visits had remained unchanged. ”

10 key challenges

Looking to the future, the ISPA study highlights the 10 key challenges facing the spa industry that you should be aware of, and that Skin Inc. magazine will help you address as we move forward in 2011.

  1. The economy—The recession has impacted disposable income, and the demand is down for luxury items.
  2. Educating clients—The industry needs to educate clients about wider health and well-being benefits.
  3. Attracting new clients and maintaining loyalty among existing clients—Clients are making fewer visits and spending less per visit.
  4. Attracting, paying, motivating and retaining qualified staff members—It’s hard to maintain qualified management and staff members.
  5. Training and resources for the industry—Better business training and knowledge is needed.
  6. Costs, pricing and profitability—Spas have to rethink pricing and staff pay, and be creative in cutting costs while representing good value and ensuring high standards.
  7. Competition—Many products are available for home use, and franchises are also heightening price competition in local markets.
  8. Government taxes and regulations—These are putting a strain on the industry.
  9. Ensuring quality and consistency—Maintaining consistency of quality in a competitive marketplace will help avoid damaging the reputation of the industry.
  10. Discounting—This has become a feature of the market, especially by chains.

Education

Tapping into the No. 5 challenge, Face & Body® Midwest’s product-neutral Advanced Education Conference Program is an ideal way to continue your industry education, and for Illinois residents to obtain the valuable continuing education units (CEUs) needed to renew their licenses. This year’s program takes place on Saturday, March 12, and features four key tracks and a total of 20 exclusive sessions covering Business-building, Esthetic Science, Trends and Wellness.