Calling all spa girls! Want to know what’s on trend for 2011 when it comes to spas and their treatments? Susie Ellis, SpaFinder President, author of the SpaFinder blog and column and a contributing editor to NewBeauty magazine, has developed a global trend report that I’m going to republish below. Which of these trends do you think will take off the most? I personally like trend #5.
Additionally, check out the SpaFinder blog for “Hot and Getting Hotter Spa Trends 2011.”
2011 SPA TREND REPORTâ„¢
1. The Pain Relief Massage
Relaxation â€“ thatâ€™s been the number one reason people go to spas for over 25 years.Â With the oldest baby boomer reaching retirement age in 2011, look for relaxation to soon be replaced by pain relief.
Baby boomers are the fastest-growing demographic in the world. As millions of Boomers (which galvanized the spa/wellness revolution) are now turning 65 each year, spas will begin to incorporate exercise physiologists, chiropractors, orthopedics and naturopaths focusing on rejuvenation of joints, pain relief and mobility.Â Pain relief massages, â€œcorrective facials,â€ and â€œeverything anti-agingâ€ are increasingly found on spa menus.
2.Â Salt Rooms and Inhalation Salt Therapy
Healing traditions involving basking in salt caves are coming of age in some of the most modern spas.Â The benefits to skin, breathing, and rejuvenation are making inhalation salt therapy — or halotherapy — one of the hottest trends to watch in 2011.
Spas are finding stylish new ways to recreate the natural salt cave microclimate, infusing salt and negative ions into the air.Â Some examples have encrusted, stalactite-drenched grottoes (comprised of tons of imported Himalayan salt crystals). And with decreased need of a therapistâ€™s involvement, the treatments are attractive to spas from a cost side. Bottom line is that salty is sweet for spas and consumers in the coming year.
3.Â Sample, Express, Mini-sized, and Simultaneous Treatments
We inhabit a stressed-out, 24/7 world, and the spa industry is responding, helping people spa anytime and offering â€œsampleâ€ â€œexpressâ€ mini-sizedâ€ and simultaneous treatments.
While â€œIn a New York minuteâ€ is jargon for how things move faster in hectic New York City, itâ€™s also the name of a suite of mini (15- to 30-minute) spa treatments (performed simultaneously by multiple therapists) at the new Auriga Spa at The Setai Fifth Avenue NYC.
Equally a nod to the â€œNew York Minuteâ€ is the move toward simpler spa menus and a decline in elaborate rituals at many spas, to get right to the heart of the matter: the therapeutic treatment.
A 9 p.m. closing time is the new spa norm, and â€œopen lateâ€ means 2:00 am.Â The explosion of airport spas worldwide plays into the â€œexpressâ€ trend neatly.Â The quest for efficiencies is also reflected in new facility design directions, with locker rooms on the decline and even check-in counters being rethought, and 24/7 online appointment booking, and mobile apps helping people find and book spas on the fly.
4.Â Farm-to-Massage Table and Farm-to-Spa Cuisine
Spas have been moving away from the generic â€œcould be anywhereâ€ vibe for years, meeting spa-goersâ€™ intensifying desire for authenticity and immersion in treatments, food, design and experiences indigenous to the spaâ€™s unique place 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 going hyper-local, putting unique twists on the â€œfarm-to-tableâ€ movement, with farm-to-spa cuisine and farm-to-massage-table treatments. Hyper-local also means ramped-up community/philanthropic projects; 100% locally sourced building materials; mandating local hiring policies; and finding creative new ways to connect people more deeply with place and nature. Guests are gardening, farming, preparing their own food, and making expeditions to local artisans and schools.
5.Â Demand for Scientific Proof Behind Spa Treatments
Is there scientific proof that massage reduces stress? Are mineral-baths medically proven to alleviate pain? Is ear candling proven to remove earwax? The answers: yes, yes and no.Â Get ready for a new era where more questions about the effectiveness of spa therapies and products will be asked, and where questions will get answered more transparently, as the emphasis on evidence-based medicine and the â€œscience behind spaâ€ heats up.
A recent example: The New York Times reported on a major US medical study revealing that a 45-minute massage resulted in a significant decrease in stress hormones, while boosting immunity.
6.Â Extremeâ€¦and Painful Beauty Treatments
The common element in spa beauty these days is beauty-seekers taking it to the max.Â We are far beyond BotoxÂ®; stem-cell facials, plasma therapy (where blood is drawn and re-injected) and Ultherapy (no surgery, using ultrasound to regenerate collagen under the skin) are the new buzzwords.
There is also extreme pain, something people seem to be tolerating more and more, as long as it delivers the goods. Derma-rolling hurts, chemical peels can be uncomfortable and the zapping of lasers is no picnic. And facials arenâ€™t just for faces anymore; now they are being applied to every extremity, including â€œbootyâ€ and â€œvaginaâ€ facials.
Extremes like military-style boot camps, Rolfing and Bikram yoga, where pain meets pleasure are on the rise also.Â Even organic and natural productsâ€™ boundaries are being pushed, with raw food cuisine gaining popularity during intense detox retreats.
What everyone can agree upon?Â They want extreme results.
7.Â The Asia Spa Boom
Asiaâ€™s impact on the spa industry is profound: Yoga, Thai massage, Ayurvedic medicine and acupuncture are staples on global spa menus, and the â€œZenâ€ nature of Asian design is felt in spas worldwide.
But if, historically, itâ€™s been a tale of the mass exportation of Asian spa influences, 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, where extraordinary new class mobility is being unleashed. Asia-Pacific has the largest number of spas and hotels under development of any region in the world, and by 2015, China will have 100 million outbound travelers, many seeking a luxury lifestyle, including the â€œwesternâ€ spa experience.
8.Â Unique Group and Learning Experiences
Increasingly, spas are developing distinctive specialty programs to draw patrons seeking something more – a unique group or learning experience. While destination spas have been doing yoga and healthy cooking weeks for years, retreats now span everything from a high-flying â€œTrapeze Experienceâ€ to creative jewelry-making to the more sober and grounded gathering for survivors of loss.
Celebrity authors and artists now headline these programmed stays, like the recent â€œDine and Dive Weekâ€ in the Maldives headed up by Jacque Cousteauâ€™s son Fabien. 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 chic for the savvy consumer.
9.Â Spa Brands Go Global
Traditionally the province of standalone spas, the industry is moving rapidly in the direction of branded experiences.Â 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.
A stratified market offers choice: From the cool, urban Bliss or Exhale to the eco-luxury of Six Senses; from, the lavish opulence of Mandarin Oriental to Mandaraâ€™s more affordable Chevana brand, or the low cost options such as Massage Envy, look to see a brand new world of spa lines going global.
10.Â Spas Embrace Deals and Coupons
Gone are the days when coupons were unfashionable things people snipped out of newspapers and spas wouldnâ€™t think of using the term â€œdeal.â€Â Put an â€œe-â€ or â€œgroupâ€ in front of â€œcoupon,â€ and you suddenly have the hottest 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 â€œdealâ€ has morphed into a hip online industry. And with spa/wellness deals a mainstay of generic deal sites like GroupOn or LivingSocial, itâ€™s a sure sign that spa-going has achieved mainstream traction.
With so many spa deals being blasted into inboxes, millions of people are now expanding their spa horizons, trying new spa experiences they wouldnâ€™t have without the â€œ50%-75% off.â€
About SpaFinder, Inc.
The worldâ€™s largest spa media, marketing, and gifting company, SpaFinder, Inc., connects millions of wellness-focused consumers with thousands of spas worldwide. SpaFinderâ€™s media properties include the award-winning SpaFinder.com, the Club Spa e-newsletter and blog, and the annual NewBeauty SpaFinder Guide to Global Spa, Wellness & Beauty. SpaFinder and its spa-beauty gift division, SpaWish, offer gift certificates and cards that are redeemable at a combined network of over 9,000 spas and salons, and are available at more than 90,000 unique retail outlets in 79 countries. SpaFinder Europe and SpaFinder Japan offer regional spa marketing and gifting programs, including localized, native-language websites. Founded in 1986, the privately held company is headquartered in Manhattan.