As the competition within the spa market steps up a notch, it remains even more vital to ensure your business is agile and adaptable to unlock your USP. Whether you choose to follow trends, seek advice from the experts or go with your gut, keeping an eye on the latest innovations will undoubtedly pay dividends.
Words by: Josefin Roth, brand manager, LivNordic by Raison d’Etre (global spa consultancy and Think Tank for Wellness)
For most of the hospitality industry the benefits of incorporating spa and wellness services into their business models are now well recognised. The global wellness economy is valued at £3.3 trillion and continues to grow at a rate of 6.4%, offering up increased opportunities for those who understand that this is an industry that can’t be ignored. But as wellness becomes more mainstream, it becomes more important for hoteliers to adapt and differentiate their products and services in this sector in order to attract and retain customers.
- Green beyond plastic
The Nordic countries have long been seen as a role model with regards to the environment and climate but more recently this positioning has been raised higher with Swedish schoolgirl, Greta Thunberg taking global headlines as she protested about the need for immediate action. Greta has become a symbol for the young all over Europe particularly for Millennials and Gen Z. For hoteliers wanting to attract this market, going plastic free is only just the start. It’s time to look at your sustainability as a whole and see how you can minimise your impact. This extends to being a caring brand, one that is generous to customers, employees, social causes as well as the environment. This opens up opportunities to the more eco-conscious spa suppliers who share similar values and extends beyond spa products to technology, food and services.
- Social hangouts
From a design point of view, we are seeing the influence of the experience generation. There is a rise in more niche, creative spa concepts which dual as social hangouts. This includes spas which invite guests to ’write a new life story’ by offering a mix of music, aromas, food, warm baths, cold drinks and hot steam. Similarly, others are twisting notions like enjoyment and relaxation to create new kicks. Whether this is an invitation to see a great movie in the pool, mix their own scrubs in a Spa lab or rethink spa music as it becomes music you can not only hear but feel.
- Smart beauty
According to a 2018 survey by GlobalData, 38% of consumers say they are often or always influenced by” how digitally advanced or ’smart’ a product is when making their beauty and grooming purchases.” In May 2019, L’Oreal revealed a host of beauty tech concepts using augmented reality (AI) at the Viva Technology trade show in Paris. This included the Virtual Hair Advisor which allows users to try on hair colours via a screen and listen to professional hair advice from L’Oreal experts; and the Effaclar Spotscan by La Roche Posay, an app that uses AI and data to analyse acne-prone skin, then offer advice and product recommendations.
Another innovation was SK-II brand’s Future X Smart Store, conceptualised around a “phygital” retail environment that blends physical and digital elements. It employs AI technology to power innovations such as an interactive skincare wall that analyses the skin remotely and offers personalised product recommendations.
Not only do these concepts help develop direct to consumer relationships with a brand but they also build a detailed picture of consumer data and glean insights from that information. Could this be the future of spa retailing leaving the sales process to technology rather than therapists?
- Neuro design
Explored by Swedish authors, Isabelle and Katarina in the big black book of Neurodesign, this practice is a concept that merges neuroscience and design and is increasingly being used by interior designers. This is about how our brain responds to our surroundings and how it makes us feel, ultimately affecting our health. When spending time in a space, it’s important that it works for us for what we want to feel and achieve. While most of us don’t think about this process, we tend to choose to return to those spaces that make us feel good and this hasa lot to do with our perception of beauty. When we find something beautiful this triggers the PNS (parasympathetic neural system) in our brains, which controls homeostasis and the body’s state of rest. The PNS is synonymous with feeling relaxed and in balance, which is beneficial to health.
- Streaming workouts
As the consumer looks for more flexibility in their life, professionally coached classes through streaming technology is growing, minimising the dependency on hotel gym and studio staff. These effective and convenient workout platforms bring the intensity of an in-person class to the convenience of a hotel gym, studio or bedroom. The technology enables stationary bikes or treadmills to be synched to monitors that stream interactive, high energy classes that mix circuit training on and off the equipment. Workouts can be live or on demand and some healthy competition amongst users encourages repeat play. Although virtual workouts are increasing, this doesn’t necessarily mean that virtual will replace in-person training and live-classes which are also both a part of the growing fitness market. Virtual will instead continue to bring flexibility and professionalism into spaces that lack staff. A great example of a virtual product is the QAIO Flex which allows consumers to access the latest fitness classes and personal coaching sessions through an interactive display within a sleek decorative mirror.
About the author
The LivNordic brand was created by Global Spa Consultancy Raison d’Etre in 2010, and has worked on over 120 spas in 60 countries to date, winning more than 50 awards for its innovations and facilities that champion design, wellness, nutrition and beauty.