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SpaFinder Seeks Out the Decade's Top Trends

Posted: January 7, 2010

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7. Yin of Luxury, Yang of Discount. While the last few tough economic years have put more industry emphasis on the ‘yang’ of discount, the wider spa decade definitely spent quite a bit of time on the ‘yin’ of luxury. The reality is, that with more than 80,000 spas across the world now, there’s plenty of yin and plenty of yang to go around. In almost every country across the globe consumers can find bargain-priced spas/treatments right alongside sky-high-priced options. As spa-going has become totally mainstream, there’s a spa now to suit every taste and budget.

8. Online Spa. At the turn of the millennium, there were many spas that didn’t even have Web sites. Today, almost every spa—and even therapists and practitioners—have their own URL. But that’s just the beginning of the revolution: today consumers can search spas, book spa appointments in real-time, buy spa products, review spas and fully engage in new forms of spa-related social networking, all online. And with the Internet so well matched for wellness coaching, and new technology enabling medical diagnosis and virtual health records, unprecedented aspects of the spa/wellness experience are becoming available through the Internet. Only the therapists’ hands haven’t been brought online—yet.

9. Social Spa-ing. Spas traditionally put their emphasis on the pillars of exercise, nutrition and body and beauty treatments, while the social aspects of spa-going, which existed all along, haven’t garnered much attention—until recently. Now we know that social spa-ing (just like spa programs for sleep or brain health) is a recognized contributor to health and natural de-stressing. From the isolation of the massage therapy room and the whisper-only relaxation lounges has come the recognition that spas are not only natural community hubs, but that mingling and socializing are an important part of getting healthy too.

10. Gift Certificates, Vouchers and Cards. Lastly, a development that evolved so gradually it never made any of SpaFinder’s annual trends lists. And yet it probably has had more to do with the explosion of spas and spa-goers around the world than any other trend. The emergence and popularity of the spa gift certificate, card and voucher has introduced so many new people to the spa experience. In fact, research shows that approximately one-third of all spa visits are generated by the redemption of certificates and vouchers. Spa gifting has been galvanized by their near-universal availability at almost every individual spa and via third-party programs, and they’ve not only given people permission to pamper themselves, they’ve ushered in a new era where gifting ‘spa’ represents an expression of true thoughtfulness and care.