Posts Tagged ‘SpaFinder’

UC Irvine Extension Webinar to
Focus on 2011’s Top Spa Trends

In the ever-growing spa world, it is vital for professionals to have their finger on the pulse of the industry. With that in mind, UC Irvine Extension’s Spa & Hospitality Management program will present the eighth-annual “Top 10 Spa Trends To Watch” webinar. The free one-hour online event is being presented by Susie Ellis, an advisory board member of the program and president of SpaFinder. In the webinar, Ellis will discuss what is ahead in the spa industry for 2011 and will address topics including:

  • The spa trends to watch for in 2011
  • How spas are fairing in tough economic times
  • The benefits of continuing education in the spa industry

The webinar takes place on Wednesday, Jan.12 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (PST). For registration information, visit

SpaFinder Names Top 10 Global Spa Trends for 2011

The Salt Room at the Spa at Aria (Las Vegas).

SpaFinder, Inc., the global spa and wellness resource, today announced its annual spa trend forecast, now in its eighth year. SpaFinder’s Spa Trend Report™ identifies global spa trends that will influence spa experiences for both consumers and the industry in the coming year and for decades to come. Here’s a recap:


Baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic in the world. In the U.S. alone, 39 million consumers account for nearly $2 trillion in annual spending. This is not lost on spas, which are showing ever-more awareness of the needs of older spa-goers. As such, many spas are now beginning to incorporate  exercise physiologists, chiropractors, orthopedics and naturopaths who focus on rejuvenation of joints, pain relief and mobility. Thermal bathing is seeing a renaissance, particularly with this growing group, as the benefits of soaking are rediscovered.

But woe is the spa that attempts to label this active, and often affluent, demographic. The days of “over 65” as a catchall category will soon become ancient history. After all, there’s a huge difference between a 70-year-old who plays tennis three times a week and an 85-year-old seeking pain relief.


Asia has had a profound impact on the spa industry: Yoga, Thai massage, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture are staples on many spa menus, and the “Zen” nature of Asian design can be seen in spas worldwide. But historically, it’s been a tale of the mass exportation of Asian spa influences. Now a powerful new story is unfolding: The explosive growth of hotel/spa development within Asia (a market of 4.1 billion people), especially within the two fastest-growing world economies, China and India. These markets and others are developing at a breakneck pace, unleashing extraordinary new class mobility and massive opportunities for hotel/spa development. Stay tuned as the new “Spa Road” runs from China to India and beyond, and hotel/spa developers look to please both tourists seeking authentic ambiance and indigenous treatments and local spa-goers looking for Western-style spa-going.


Healing traditions that involve basking in salt caves or water may be centuries old, but they are truly coming of age in some of the most modern spas. The benefits to skin, breathing and rejuvenation are making salt therapy – or halotherapy – one of the hottest trends to watch in 2011. More than folk tradition is behind the spa-salt resurgence: Clinical trials reveal it’s beneficial for respiratory illnesses like asthma, considered a global epedemic, and skin conditions such as acne and psoriasis. Bottom line is that salty is sweet for spas and consumers in the coming year.


Traditionally the province of standalone spas, the industry is moving rapidly in the direction of branded experiences. The year of 2011 will be a watershed year for franchised/branded spas, as consumers seek the consistency of treatments they know and love, and major players expand into new markets.


Gone are the days when coupons were unfashionable things people snipped out of the newspaper and spas wouldn’t think of using the term “deal.” Well, put an “e-” or “group” in front of “coupon,” and you suddenly have the Internet mania of 2010, poised to accelerate at an even more dizzying pace in 2011. Online group-buying deals have burst onto the global scene, and the old-fashioned “deal” has morphed into a hip online industry. Also, with so many spa deals being blasted into inboxes, an extraordinary effect has been that millions of people are now expanding their spa horizons, trying new spas and experiences they wouldn’t have without the “50%-75% off.” With savvy marketers backed by hundreds of millions in venture capital, deals will certainly remain a huge deal in 2011, but SpaFinder forecasts change is on the horizon.


Is there scientific proof that massage reduces stress?  Are mudpacks and mineral-baths medically proven to alleviate pain?  The answer, in many cases, is increasingly “yes.”  Get ready for a new era where more questions about the effectiveness of spa therapies will be asked, as the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the “science behind spa” heats up.


A current trend that complements – rather than countervails – the move toward branded spas is the desire for authenticity and immersion in the traditions and elements of a spa’s local environs and culture. A maple scrub in Canada, organic food from the spa garden, or facilities built of local stone, while not new, were, until relatively recently, novelties. But spas are now trending with the “farm-to-table” movement, offering farm-to-massage-table treatments. Locally sourced fruits, herbs and honey are grown on site, and then dished up in both meals and in spa treatments. Even the well-known branded spas are sure to reserve a portion of their services for locally infused treatments, as consumers look to take advantage of the diversity of their surroundings.


The common element in spa beauty these days is that beauty-seekers are taking it to the max. We are far beyond Botox®; stem-cell facials and plasma therapy are new buzzwords. But let’s also look at extreme pain, which people are tolerating more and more as long as it delivers results. Derma-rolling hurts, chemical peels can be uncomfortable and the zapping of lasers is no picnic. And facials aren’t just for faces anymore; now they are being applied to every extremity, including “booty” and “vagina” facials. Then there are boot camps, Rolfing and Bikram yoga, where pain meets pleasure. Even organic and natural products are being taken to the extreme, with raw food cuisine gaining popularity during intense detox retreats. Finally, what might be considered the most interesting extreme: People seem to be able to partake in both the “yin” of the natural and the “yang” of science and invasive cosmetic procedures at the same time. In the end, what people demand are extreme results, and they’re happy to pay the price for it: A staggering $679 billion annually, by far the largest share of the estimated $1.9 trillion wellness market*.


“In a New York minute” is jargon for how things move faster in hectic New York City. It’s also the name of a suite of mini (15- to 30-minute) spa treatments. In our stressed-out, 24/7 world, we seem to be morphing into New Yorkers. The spa industry is responding, helping people spa anytime and offering “sample” and simultaneous treatments. Suddenly, a 9 p.m. closing time is the new spa norm, and “open late” now means midnight, 2 a.m. or all night. The trend is also towards earlier. And the trend toward “express,” “sampler” or “mini-sized” treatments will continue to rise in 2011, pleasing time- and budget-crunched consumers. The quest for efficiencies is also reflected in new directions in facility design, with locker rooms on the decline and even check-in counters being rethought. Finally, the pursuit of stress-free spa efficiencies will mean more spa-goers embracing 24/7 online appointment booking, and mobile apps helping them find and book spas on the fly. It’s all about letting spa-goers have it their way.


Increasingly, spas are developing distinctive specialty programs to draw patrons seeking a unique group experience. While destination spas have been offering yoga and healthy cooking weeks for years, retreats now span everything from a high-flying “Trapeze Experience” to a creative jewelry-making class to the more sober and grounded gathering for survivors of loss. Celebrity authors and artists may headline these programmed stays. We expect this trend to flourish in the coming year, as spas and resort destinations find creative new ways to prove that unique is indeed spa chic for the savvy consumer.

The report is based on analyses from a large team of experts who visit hundreds of day and stay spas each year; interviews with top industry analysts; ongoing research across the spa, travel and beauty sectors; and data derived from SpaFinder’s relationships with over 9,000 spas and salons across the globe.

The Spa Trend Report™ is developed under the direction of SpaFinder President Susie Ellis.  “As someone who’s watched the modern spa industry from its infancy, I have never seen the aggregate level of creativity and talent in the field, as wellness, fitness, beauty, design and cuisine are blended in unique new ways, just as the economy begins its upswing,” she says.

Click here for the full report.

SpaFinder Releases State of Spa Travel Survey Findings

If you’re like me, you’ve been crossing your fingers and toes over the past year in hopes of seeing our economy—and our spa-related businesses—finally come out of its dismal state. I just received the results of SpaFinder’s fourth annual State of Spa Travel survey, and I feel tentatively hopeful. This query of 250-plus global travel agents conducted last month revealed that spa travel performed surprisingly well across a depressed economy in 2009 and is clocking modest, yet measurable, gains for the first half of 2010. Here are a few of the highlights:

A Resilient 2009—Modest Gains in 2010
Despite a historically abysmal 2009 economy, roughly two in three agents (64%) reported no declines in spa travel bookings last year (over 2008), with 26% reporting spa travel actually increased. And for first-half 2010, the modest economic recovery underway is reflected in the measurable (if similarly modest) gains in spa travel: 36% report spa travel has increased in the first six months of 2010; 39% claim it’s remained about the same; while 25% cite year-over-year declines.). The majority (albeit slim, at 52%) report the economic recovery is now having a direct, positive impact on spa travel bookings – and the optimism for full-year 2010 is higher: 61% predict overall growth this year, with only 7% expecting year-over-year declines.

A New Season of “Let’s Make a Deal”
Hotel, resort and destination spas are not hitting the brakes on special pricing/deals in the somewhat improved 2010 economy. In fact, a surprising 44% of agents report even more aggressive spa travel deals in 2010 over 2009, while 48% report the bargains are holding firm. This industry “deal” strategy matches what consumers have been conditioned to expect: Agents report that the #1 change in spa travelers’ behavior in 2010 is “seeking significant deals.”

Price-Per-Night Mirrors 2009
In 2009, agents reported that the most frequently booked price-per-night at spa destinations had trended down considerably, and in 2010 the numbers are near identical: 74% of spa travel booked now falls under $299 a night (identical with ’09), while 41% falls under $200.

Health & Wellness Travel Continues Surge
Sixty-six percent of agents (up from 52% last year) report their clients are showing a markedly increased interest in vacations with a dedicated health/wellness focus. Additionally, 88% of agents report that health/wellness offerings are now important to their clients (up from 83% in ’09).

Top Trends: “Social Spa-ing” Parties On
Agents weighed in on which trends are exhibiting the most momentum in 2010, and “social spa-ing” (friends/families/groups traveling to spas for special occasions/celebrations) ranked #1, just edging out “spa travel for wellness/health.” Traveling solo ranked third, spa travel by younger people (under 40) ranked fourth, and increased international spa travel ranked fifth.

What do you think of these results? Are they matching up to what you are experiencing in your spa? Be sure to add your comments here. And to get the entire results of the survey, visit

SpaFinder Tweets Moms to Mother’s Day Gifts

Want to help your clients—or yourself, for that matter—find the perfect gift for Mom? Introduce them to SpaFinder’s Twitter Mother’s Day Contest. Through Thursday May 6th, tweet @SpaFinder, and share one thing your mom did for you that you will never forget. Five winners will score a $100 gift certificate. Just follow these steps and be entered to win:

Mom’s the word, so pass along news of a contest to a friend and share the Mother’s Day love!

Spafinder Names Decade’s Top Ten Trends

Cactus massage at Apuane Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita (Mexico) is an example of indigenous inspiration.

Cactus massage at Apuane Spa at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita (Mexico) is an example of indigenous inspiration.

SpaFinder’s Susie Ellis is one busy lady. Fresh off her release of the top spa trends for 2010, she’s come up with a list of the 10 top spa trends of the decade. Here’s a look at her picks for the most influence spa movements over the past 10 years:

1. Indigenous Treatments. Culturally-grounded ingredients, treatments, and customs deliver  healthy native flavor, and they also represent the unearthing of special, often centuries-old experiences that could not be easily replicated.

2. Medicine and Spa. More doctors have ‘discovered’ that spa approaches contribute to health and wellness, specifically by targeting stress. When Botox arrived in 2002, a new type of aesthetic/medical spa was born. Spas also got their act together, becoming more transparently health- oriented.

3. Organic. This was the headline story in spa products for the decade. The organic product trend also helped open the door for a more far-reaching eco-friendly, environmentally conscious zeitgeist throughout the spa arena—from spa building and design—to cuisine.

4. Men. While the decade saw a range of new demographics rush into the spa arena (from teens to pre-teens to babies and seniors), it was the steady stream of men making spa-going a regular part of their lives that’s had the most profound impact.

5. Wellness.  Because the word ‘wellness’ is such an apt word to describe places that offered fitness, massage, alternative medicine, and healthy nutrition, the terms, understandably, have become tightly interwoven.

6. Spa Comes Home. The influence of spas on the home has blossomed into a booming industry of spa products, design, furniture, home amenities, and even clothing and cuisine. The trend reached its most bold expression with the birth of ‘spa living real estate,’ where consumers could actually ‘live at the spa,’ purchasing residences with spectacular spa/wellness offerings in new luxury high-rises or special communities.

7. Yin of Luxury, Yang of Discount. 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. 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.

9. Social Spa-ing. Social spa-ing 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, Cards. Research shows that approximately one-third of all spa visits are generated by the redemption of certificates and vouchers.

Want more information about the decade’s top trends? Visit

SpaFinder Reveals 2010 Spa Trends Forecast

The hammam at Drift Spa at Palm Place Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas.

The hammam at Drift Spa at Palm Place Hotel & Spa in Las Vegas.

Each year, I always look forward to the release of SpaFinder President Susie Ellis’s picks for top spa trends. She’s a wonderful and important part of our industry, and her insights are always spot-on. This year is no exception. Here are her thoughts:

1. The New “P” Word
Against the backdrop of a global healthcare crisis, prevention is poised to be the new “it” word of the spa industry in 2010 and beyond.

2. Year of the Hammam
With spa-goers increasingly seeking authenticity, tradition, and that magical spa experience that also offers true results, the Middle Eastern hammam represents one of the hottest trends for 2010, albeit with a distinctly modern expression.

3. Not “Going to,” But “Belonging to” a Spa
Spas are being creatively re-imagined as places of “belonging”—not only through the big rise in membership programs, but also in the diverse ways spas are being recast as social or communal hubs.

4. The Online Spa
2010 will be a watershed year for the spa industry’s virtual presence.

5. The Hybrid Spa
The era of the spa/fitness/integrated-health-center/hospital/spiritual-retreat/wellness-center/beauty-clinic is on a serious upswing.

6. The Price Is (Still) Right
While there’s (cautious) consensus that the economy is in recovery mode, there’s great news for consumers in 2010: The spa bargains will continue apace, not only straight discounting, but also more innovative incentives smartly designed by spas to drive incremental revenue and retain loyal customers.

7. Wellness Tourism Wows
Make room for “wellness tourism,” a new term describing travel across borders for preventive services, diagnostics, spa and well-being vacations, and even stem cell banking.

8. Scary and Silly Spa Stories Drive Evidence, Science, and Standards
The fallout from heavily publicized spa horror stories—and the recession-driven consumer insistence on no-gimmick treatments with real, measurable benefits—will quicken a rising industry trend: the demand for evidence-based therapies, stricter industry standards, and greater transparency/resources.

9. Diversity at a Tipping Point
Spa-going has become so mainstream that the face of the spa-goer will now continue to reflect the wider global population. Every spa region has its unique “diversity story,” and around the globe far more men, younger and older generations, and ethnic groups are hitting the spa. Spas are taking note, with offerings that cater to these diverse groups’ needs and wants.

10. Stillness
With the spa as one of the last remaining sanctuaries of silence and serenity, look for the industry to put a new emphasis on stillness, on slowness, on silence.

As spa experts, what do you think of these trends? And what do you see on the horizon for 2010? Share your thoughts here, and look for an upcoming issue of American Spa for more details on Susie’s selections.

SpaFinder Gives Spas the Opportunity to Promote
Their Own Instant Online Gift Certificates

CertificateIdea1BMODSpaFinder, a leading spa and wellness marketing and media company, recently introduced a new feature to its SpaBooker management software that allows spas using it to sell their own instant gift certificates on their websites and on The new revenue-generating program gives consumers a chance to personalize their gift certificates by choosing from more than 10 templates and adding a personalized message. “SpaFinder’s new Instant Online Gift Certificate program can help any spa increase revenue and strengthen their relationship with valued customers,” says Peter Ellis, chairman and CEO of SpaFinder. “Now it’s easy for spas to offer their own personalized, attractive gift certificates and make them available where millions of spa customers are searching online.”

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