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The Male Perspective

By: Annette Delagrange
Posted: July 22, 2008, from the March 2007 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

With this issue we conclude a three-part series exploring the differences between men and women an dhow that translates to the spa. According to the International SPA Association (ISPA), a surprising 31% of all spa-goers are men. This segment may be a growth area for you, an expansion for others, and for some it may not be a segment that fits into the current business plan at all.

I took an informal look at some male consumers to see if there were any hints to be learned from their comments, views and experiences. Two Allured employees described recent spa experiences. Their motivations were different, however reflective of the various male consumers.

Matt Gronlund is the publisher of two of Skin Inc. magazine’s sister publications, Cosmetics & Toiletries (C&T) and Perfumer & Flavorist magazines. Matt’s responsibilities include domestic travel as well as European and Asian trips. He is not a consistent spa-goer, but does tout the benefits of a massage to speed recovery from jet lag. He views spas as a source of relief from business stress, as well as relaxation and pampering. His goal is unabashed hedonism rather than wellness. Many spas market specifically to this attitude—Seasons Spa at the Conrad in Bangkok, for example. However, like so many male consumers, I can see I need to work on increasing Matt’s knowledge of wellness as a reason to partake in spa treatments a bit more frequently.

C&T magazine’s national sales manager Don Hurtikant expressed a different motivation for his frequent spa treatments. Massages initially became part of his therapeutic routine as a result of an accident. He now states that the mental and spiritual break is the reason he continues with this mode of therapy. He appreciates spa employees who are cognizant to a man’s sensitivity to his body. He cited not liking to have a pedicure while sitting with women, and instead prefers having separate facilities. A separate waiting area, even a separate entrance, would make it more comfortable for men to frequent a spa. In his view, part of the protocol is being treated personally and individually, especially by employees who know his name and his preferences.

You might want to consider your own “man on the street” interviews to help you focus on male clients. It’s fascinating to me, and a challenge, to realize that women and men have the same varied perceptions of spas. We’re going to continue to provide information to help you in the education process of your current and future clients.