- Written by Hannah Briggs - University of Derby
When you hear the word ‘spa’, what do you think of? I asked a friend, who is not in the industry but is a keen spa goer this question, they answered ‘relaxation, luxury’. When I asked them the same question about wellness, they answered ‘looking after and maintaining my mental and physical state’. Now, thisis just one person’s perception. One consumer of the spa and wellness industry. However, just because it is one person in this instance, doesn’t mean a lot of other consumers aren’t thinking the same thing.
Spas Vs Wellness Centres: Who Dares Wins
For a long time now in the UK, Spas have been something of a luxury, a treat, perhaps even an elitist activity. Sometimes linked with the glamorous ‘ladies who lunch’ stereotype, or the footballers and celebrities. However, as spas have started to become more and more accessible, we see a diverse array of guests coming in and out of our doors every day. Granted, for a lot of people, a spa day or break is still very much a luxury or a treat, but why is this? We don’t hesitate to go to our GP when we feel under the weather, we don’t hesitate to go to our dentist when we have toothache, so why is it that when we have back pains or leg tension, we deem it an unnecessary expenditure to have a massage? Perhaps it’s because we cannot see it? Perhaps it’s because of the stigma surrounding spa goers and how expensive it is? But if we were told we needed fillings or other dental work, we’d pay for it, right?
Wellness seems to resonate with people in a different, more meaningful way than spa does. There could be a number of different reasons for this, including trends, social influencers, or just generally different perceptions of the words. For this reason, Spas, as we know them,are rapidly changing in a bid to keep up with consumer needs and desires. More and more, we are seeing wellness centres pop up in the UK, gradually breaking down the barrier of the “luxury vs necessary” and therefore encouraging people to buy into them more. Wellness centres cover everything a spa offers and more, such as:
- Professional counselling and life coaching services throughout your visit.
- Professional nutritionist to guide you along a healthy diet plan tailored to you individually.
- Yoga and Pilates studios/classes
- Guided meditation
- Swimming facilities
- Sauna and steam facilities
- Fitness studios
- Personal Training sessions
- Remedial bodywork, e.g. physiotherapy, chiropractor, reflexologists.
All these facilities cover your basic desires and expectations when booking into a spa and beyond. Providing access to professional counselling and life coaching helps to combat the ever-growing mental health crisis. Similarly, providing access to a professional nutritionist could help to combat the obesity epidemic. Wellness centres are tapping into the contemporary issues affecting people from far and wide and giving them exactly what they want and need. They are covering virtually every aspect of a person’s life and the desire to stay on trend in a world filled with social influencers promoting health and wellbeing is exactly what wellness centres are fulfilling. These centres really are proving to hesitant people that actually they are getting extremely good value for their money.
With all of this said, for a long time, the term wellness has not sat well with business owners and they have been reluctant to invest into a wellness marketing plan. However, as the wellness consumer market is very large and has high potential to continue growing, it is important that the spa industry takes notice of this opportunity to pursue new wellness-oriented business investments in order to keep up with the shift towards providing proactive ways of taking care of ourselves.
What are the benefits of investing in wellness?
The benefit of merging the lines between spa and wellness allows for diversification in the facilities offered and therefore attracts a wider audience, thus increasing your profit. As spas are now seen as a part of the wellness industry, it has come to a time where we must stop thinking of spas as part of a different group and instead embrace that it is a good thing for spa and wellness to be so connected. Not only does adapting your business help you, but it helps all the consumers of our industry and even people that do not currently invest into the industry. Attracting people suffering from mental health problems, obesity or other conditions that wellness centres have the equipment to help, aids in the battle against these crisis’ and could even be accredited to saving lives.
In 2018, it was announced that the wellness economy as a whole is worth $4.2 Trillion, with $119 Billion of that being made up by the spa industry. Both of these industries have a high potential for growth and merging the lines is a great way to ensure this. By incorporating spa, fitness, healthy eating and nutrition, mental wellbeing and all the other aspects of the wellness industry, we can really reach out to a vast range of consumers who may have knowledge of one wellness segment at the moment and connect them with knowledge of others. A lot of people no longer want just a work out in a gym or a back massage in a spa. They want total mind, body and soul wellness and business owners must listen to this and implement wellness marketing plans for their consumers to notice and buy into.
“Wellness is a connection of paths: knowledge and action.” – Joshua Welch