Our Journey: Past, Present and Future of the Spa Industry


If there is one thing we can all count on, it’s change, and the spa industry has changed tremendously in the last 25 years, according to Bryan Durocher, who kicked off day one of IECSC Las Vegas.

Durocher, the president of Essential Spa Consulting/Durocher Enterprises, shared during the opening session the big changes that have happened in the spa industry as well as what trends will be shaping it moving forward.

Our Roots

“The Greeks, we really owe it to them,” said Durocher. “They had the first concept of spa, although the Romans built the big ones.”

Bringing the industry up to a more current timeline, he pointed out key happenings, such as: 

  • 1980s: First Gold Door Spa opens on the Queen Elizabeth II
  • 1990s: Explosion of the day spa
  • 1992: Anew launched the first mass market Alpha Hydroxy
  • 2000: Rise of the medical spa

Durocher also paid homage to the spa industry pioneers: Helena Rubenstein, Georgette Klinger and Elizabeth Arden. “It was Rubenstein who said, ‘There is no such thing as ugly women, only lazy ones,’” he added.

Wellness Today

Wellness is $438.6 billion globally, and the United States is number one with $167 billion. About 70% of women in U.S. haven’t been to a spa because of price (seen as luxury) and fear of unknown. According to Durocher, clients need to be given permission to take care of themselves.

Durocher added that you have to supply a serene environment for clients, and they are not interested in a sterile environment.“Even if you are going to give your clients a very aggresive treatment, they want to be in a relaxing environment."

Upcoming Spa Industry Trends

Durocher shared these nine trends during the conference to watch for in the near future.

  1. Rise of the men in spa: This is largely due to Millennial men, whoc according to Durocher, "Don't mind getting things done. "Men in the spa is going to triple in the next decade," noted Durocher.
  2. Transumers: These are consumers driven by experience.
  3. Ingredient awareness: Consumers are more ingredient savvy. “Millennials are more opt to buy from a company with a good social conscious,” added Durocher.
  4. Treatments: On the rise will be body (anti-cellulite), medical spa and wellness, personal devices and indigenous treatments.
  5. Business: Selling spa hours based on capacity and customization—from pricing (range based) to esthetician experience.
  6. Imaging devices: It’s an objective way to show clients what they look like and sell services.
  7. Tryvertising: This is a social interaction that involves learning and hands-on experiences. It lets the clients test products.
  8. Premium personal care: Medical spas have driven luxury skin care.
  9. More and more social media: “It’s the way to market ourselves and our businesses for free,” added Durocher.

One trend that can really hit home with spa managers and owners is changing your team’s mindset. “What we do really matters,” said Durocher. “It can benefit the client’s lifestyle.”

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