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International Spa Trends: Thailand

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: June 11, 2008, from the October 2006 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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There is a lot that American spas can learn by looking to their Asian counterparts for guidance. “Western spa models can learn from Thailand and Asia in respect to service and guest experience. It truly is an art to understand the ‘act of service’: the selfless place where one gives unconditionally and, from a therapist’s viewpoint, the treatment is conducted with pleasure or with care,” states Williams. “Certainly this type of service can be found in the United States, but with the global saturation of spas and spa services, it is what makes a good spa a great one with not only a loyal client base, but also a successful public relations machine that helps to generate word of mouth. Everyone remembers a great therapist and a great treatment.”

He suggests that industry leaders look to the multitude of indigenous treatments, as well as herbal and medicinal products that might seem commonplace but, if redeveloped, could become unique spa experiences for jaded spa-goers looking to reach beyond Swedish massage. “I think that the Asian spa industry now is widely recognized—particularly in the hotel, resort and destination spa environment—and that guests will be looking for a cultural experience that embraces the local culture, and services and products will be developed to reflect this,” Williams concludes.

By looking East, the American spa industry can gain new insights into up-and-coming trends, as well as a fresh perspective on standard treatments. This is a profession in which the human touch will never go out of style.