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SpaFinder Predicts 2009 Spa Trends

Posted: December 29, 2008

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3. The Medical and Spa Tourism Shuffle

Watch for the line between spas, medical spas and hospitals to become ever more creatively blurred as the phenomenon of medical or wellness travel evolves. Global consumers are increasingly journeying to access the services they want, need and can afford. This trend is fueled by rising costs in the traditional health care system; the emergence of a more consumer-centric model revolving around greater choice and price transparency; and fluctuations in international currencies opening up attractive new markets—even in the U.S. Hospitals are unleashing programs to attract not only the sick and old, but also the young and well: from integrative programs, prevention centers and executive physicals to aesthetic procedures. At the Henry Ford Hospital in Michigan, the patients have become guests, health care and hospitality are united, and spa elements—serene gardens, feng shui design, organic local cuisine, on-demand massage and alternative therapies— have invaded the once-drab hospital walls. At the same time wellness diagnostics are on the rise within the medical spa environment, with services such as imaging, genomics, stress tests, blood and urine analyses, and futuristic offerings that allow people to bank their own stem cells.

4. Eco-Embedded Spas: A Deeper Shade of Green

The eco-embedded spa embraces environmental processes that are quietly and meaningfully enmeshed throughout the entire spa, so there’s no demanding efforts required by the spa guest, who is, after all, there to relax. Consumers in general are suffering from green fatigue and sustainability stress, so say goodbye to showy, loud and superficial green gestures, and hello to initiatives that are both subtler and far bolder than ever before. Examples are endless: across European spas, hotel room key slots trigger time-delayed sensors to turn off lights and air-conditioning in rooms. RockResort Spa at Keystone Lodge in Colorado is built from the earth up with sustainability in mind, using wind-powered electricity and building from recycled wood. And one of the most innovative 21st-century eco-destination spas? Six Senses in Thailand, where guests can eat any and all of the resort landscaping.